Proclaimed an American national holiday a year ago, the Church of Satan celebrates independence, sovereignty, and emancipation from imposed servitude on this Juneteenth, 2022. Our unique banner design for this holiday includes 19 vertices between the two stars, to mark the date, while the central star is inverted to symbolize our carnal philosophy, which has always championed liberty and individualism.
To self-determination—Hail Liberty!
William Levi Dawson (1899-1990) was known for his arrangements and variations on spirituals—which Dawson saw as “Negro folk-music,” and he had a distinguished career as a music academic. In 1934, Leopold Stokowski premiered his Negro Folk Symphony in Carnegie Hall. It was a triumph, with the composer being recalled to the stage by thunderous applause for several, well-deserved bows. From his program notes for the premiere: “In this composition, the composer has employed three themes taken from typical melodies over which he has brooded since childhood, having learned them at his mother’s knee.” Dawson revised it in 1952 after a visit to West Africa, adding additional rhythms he heard on this journey. It was the sole symphony amongst his works. In its three movements, themes are fragmented and symphonically developed with dexterity and imagination.
Here’s a fine performance by The Orchestra Now from September 11th of 2021, conducted by Leon Botstein. This splendid symphony will surely add to your meditations on today’s holiday.
—Magus Peter H. Gilmore