The principal theme of this movement is an original 12-bar blues, first stated in the English horn. The melody is especially relevant as a symbol of the heritage of slavery and freedom. The blues is a distinctively original form developed in America around the turn of the twentieth century by the descendants of freed slaves. The Afro-American Symphony remains Still's most popular work. This first symphony by an African American composer provided an opportunity for stating the significance and meaning of being an African American in the United States of America.
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