Alternative Southern Belle is the second movement of Robert W. Smith’s oboe concerto entitled Cosmic Harmonies. This particular movement was inspired by a painting of the same name by Fred “Nall” Hollis, a world renown artist and visionary. The artist sought to challenge the traditional image of the “Southern Belle” by depicting an African-American woman in full splendor. Her earring is actually a wasp nest based on the stinging words she endured throughout her lifetime. She is pictured in front of a small child with a silver spoon in its hand representing the children of her master’s family that she raised. The music is centered on a fractured ballroom waltz representing the macabre grandeur of the classic southern plantation. As we view the artistic details of Nall’s Alternative Southern Belle, we are transported to a different time and place. Combined with the musical composition, Nall and the composer challenge us to see and hear our world from all perspectives.
Robert W. Smith (b. 1958) is one of the most popular and prolific composers in America today. He has over 600 publications in print with the majority composed and arranged through his long association with Warner Bros. Publications and the Belwin catalog. Mr. Smith’s credits include many compositions and productions in all areas of the music field. His original works for winds and percussion have been programmed by countless military, university, high school, and middle school bands throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, South America and Asia. Mr. Smith is the President/CEO of RWS Music Company, exclusively distributed through C. L. Barnhouse. In addition, he is currently teaching in the Music Industry program at Troy University in Troy, Alabama.