William Grant Still wrote Three Visions to represent three stages of spiritual life. The first part, called Dark Horsemen, represents “an image of death and divine judgment”. Summerland is the second part, and it was written to represent “Heaven of life-after-death.” The final part, Radiant Pinnacle, represents reincarnation. For some souls, this means reincarnation happens over and over, allowing the soul to slowly achieve godly perfection. 

I enjoyed learning and performing Summerland, the second part of this suite. It stands out to me because of its simple, expressive melody and harmony, as well as its astonishing originality. The piece has a sort of meditative motion, and for some people, Summerland is used as a kind of music therapy. According to Still’s daughter, he would play this piece as a way to calm down or relieve stress. 

Summerland is William Grant Still’s most famous piece. It is the only one of the Visions that he wrote in different instrumental combinations. He wrote nine other versions of Summerland including an ensemble of wind instruments and harp. An interesting fact about Summerland is that it was originally written in G flat major, but changed to G major to make it easier for pianists to play. The wind and harp version however was put back in the original key of G flat.

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    Dr. Jeriel Jorguenson
    Dr. Jeriel Jorguenson(@jeriel-jorguenson)
    6 months ago

    Picture: The image you chose to represent the piece is quite fitting! It shows the summer time, but it is also as contemplative as the spiritual aspect that Still wanted. Intro: Great intro description! I especially appreciated the personal connection you wrote about, telling how this piece is important to you. Performance: This was an excellent performance! I could see how much you care about this piece. It was played really sensitively,… Read more »

    Rula Mouawad
    Rula Mouawad(@rula-mouawad)
    7 months ago

    Our darling Raphael –

    It has been such a delight watching you live the Summerland experience, with impressive steady progress and beautiful expression. You really embodied Grant’s work – we are very proud of you.

    Much love and many wishes for upcoming happy piano ventures. Rula (mom)

    Hala Freiji Rosteck
    Hala Freiji Rosteck(@hala-freiji-rosteck)
    Reply to  Rula Mouawad
    6 months ago

    Amazing performance, full of feeling and expression. What a joy to hear you perform Raphael. Much love and lol the best. Hala

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    6 months ago

    Wow! It is very expressive performance. It is lovely performance. Great job, Raphael.

    Julie Harris
    Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
    6 months ago

    Raphi, thank you so much for choosing this particular piece for your presentation. Now this lovely performance can go into my personal playlist, as one of my favorites. Since you are a classical pianist and a jazz pianist, did this piece speak to you most from a classical point of view or a jazz point of view? Or both? You’re also a composer – did it inspire any compositions? I’d be interested… Read more »

    Lola Mestas
    Lola Mestas(@lola-mestas)
    6 months ago

    This piece is very beautiful and tranquil. Lovely performance!

    Julie Harris
    Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
    6 months ago

    Congratulations on your well-deserved win, Raphael!

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    6 months ago

    Hello, Raphael. Congratulations on a well deserved win. Keep playing.

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