Asked to describe his thoughts on Within our Gates and the film score he was composing, Hailstork says,
“The more I work on this project, the more I appreciate the skill of Michaux’s work. I find the cinematic language rich and compelling. I think WITHIN OUR GATES is masterful and filled with several themes and references which still echo in our own time.
The main subject of the film is the need and effort to educate the children of poor Blacks in the south. The heroine, Sylvia, is the character who moves from north to south and back carrying that message and those hopes. She does succeed in raising the funds for the school, while dealing with numerous amorous advances (one actually abusive), before finding the love of her life. My musical material is a “Sylvia theme” which serves as the primary binding ingredient.
The Micheaux “tableau- style” of film making provides a clear guide, musically, to mood and depiction of action. To avoid “cookie-cutter” stop- this, start- that solutions I, sometimes overlap the mood of the preceding section with the introduction of the new scene. At times, Micheaux juxtaposes various thoughts (for instance while Sylvia is receiving the good news from the philanthropist, she (Sylvia) is deep in her own thoughts about talks with Dr. Vivian, the man with whom she is falling in love). The music I am working on intersperses the love-interest theme with the Deep-South yearning spiritual so the music can represent the complexity of Micheaux’s structure.”
The performance is part of the 2015-16 F. Ludwig Diehn Concert Series. An Endowment established at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, made possible by a generous gift from F. Ludwig Diehn, funds this program.