Sunday, June 14, 2015

Flutist Laurel Zucker & Pianist John Cozza Release 'Lil Lite O’ Mine: Flute Music By Composers Of African Descent,' Including Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Born June 14, 1932

Laurel Zucker

John Cozza

Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (1932-2004)
(Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson Conducting the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble. Photo courtesy of the Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College, Chicago)

Adolphus C. Hailstork (b. 1941)
(Rose Grace)

Joseph de Bologne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799)
(Painted in London in 1787 by American artist Mather Brown)

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)

William Grant Still (1895-1978)

Julio Racine (b. 1945)

Hale Smith (1925-2009)

Leo Brouwer (b. 1939)

On March 4, 2013 AfriClassical posted: 

Flutist Laurel Zucker to Perform 'Prelude for Unaccompanied Flute' of Ulysses S. Kay, Jr. at AT&T Center in Los Angeles, 3 PM August 18, 2013

On February 18, 2014 AfriClassical posted:

We recently learned from flutist Laurel Zucker that she and pianist John Cozza have recorded: 
Lil Lite O’ Mine: Flute Music By Composers Of African Descent, © 2015 Cantilena Records (70:20).  Laurel Zucker's website is, where the Bio page is replete with critical praise of the highest order from many of the music world's most respected publications.  The "Buy CDs" page lists an incredible 50 recordings on the Cantilena label.  A few of the most recent titles are such enticing names as: A Night in Quito, Soundscapes of the Americas, Journeys, A Walk in the Rain, Coffeeland, and Brazilian Butterfly Circle.

For the website, this recording is a webmaster's dream.  All eight of the composers whose works are found on the disc are featured at our website.  The composers were born in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and three are alive today.  Their native tongues include English, French and Spanish. 

One composer, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (1932-2004) was born on June 14. He was an American whose mother named him after the Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) who had made triumphant tours of the United States and Canada in the early years of the 20th century. Perkinson's music opens the program with Lil Lite O’ Mine/Sparklin for flute and piano (4:18).  It reappears on Tracks 15-17 in the form of Sonata A la Baroque for solo flute.  Its three movements are Allegro (5:39), Allemande (1:56) and Rondo (3:33). 

The website on the composer employs research done by Dr. Dominique-Rene de Lerma, Professor Emeritus at Lawrence University Conservatory in Appleton, Wisconsin: "Prior to his entrance in New York’s High School of Music and Art in 1945, he exhibited an interest in dance, studying with Pearl Primus and Ismay Andrews. Mentored in high school by his teacher Hugh Ross, he came to meet Igor Stravinsky. By the time of his graduation in 1949, when he won the LaGuardia Prize for music, he had begun composing."  Perkinson's 1948 composition  And Behold  won the High School for Music and Art Choral Competition. 

Dr. De Lerma continues: "He majored in education for two years at New York University (1949-1951), then transferred to the Manhattan School of Music in 1951 (B.M., 1953; M.M., composition, 1954) where he was a composition major under Charles Mills and Vittorio Giannini, and conducting with Jonel Perlea."                                                                                                                           Tracks 2-4 of the CD feature a work of Adolphus C. Hailstork (b. 1941), Pied Piper of Harlem for solo flute.  Tracks 5-6 contain Sonata I for flute and piano of the Afro-French composer Joseph de Bologne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799).  Its movements are Allegro (3:58) and Tempo di Menuetto (3:39).  This is an outstanding contribution to the repertoire, because relatively few works of Saint-Georges are available on CD, even though he was a leading composer in France prior to the French Revolution.

Track 7 is an arrangement of the spiritual Deep River for flute and piano by the Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912).  The work has been arranged for flute and piano by Laurel Zucker (5:06).  Adolphus C. Hailstork returns on Tracks 8-11 with Flute set for solo flute.  The movements are Moderato con anima (1:32), Viva (:42), Lento teneramente (2:08) and Allegretto (1:06).

William Grant Still (1895-1978) is heard on Tracks 12-14 in Songs for flute and piano.  The pieces are Bayou Home (4:23), If You Should Go (1:20) and Song For The Lonely (3:32).  Adolphus C. Hailstork's third work on the recording, Sonatina for flute and piano is found on Tracks 18-20.  Its movements are Allegro non troppo (3:10), Siciliano (3:34) and Vivace (2:20).

The Haitian composer Julio Racine (b. 1945) is represented by Tangente au Yanvalou for flute and piano (5:34).   Belle Ayiti - Mizik Savant Ayisyen (Beautiful Haiti - Haitian Classical Music) (75:29) is a 2007 fundraising release by a group of four American musicians known as Z.A.M.A.  The liner notes say: "Racine's Tangente au Yanvalou utilizes traditional rhythmic elements derived from the ceremonial music of Haitian Vodou."

Tracks 22-24 are Three Brevities of Hale Smith (1925-2009).  The movements are Allegro -(1:07), Slowly (1:36) and Fast (2:10).  The program closes with Track 25, Preludio for solo flute by the Afro-Cuban composer Leo Brouwer (b. 1939). 

Flutist Laurel Zucker rises to the challenge of assembling about a dozen relatively brief pieces by eight composers into a coherent program.  She succeeds as few musicians have in our own experience.  Not only have we taken pleasure from frequent hearings, but we are planning to purchase copies for friends and relatives.  More importantly, we believe Laurel Zucker and John Cozza have set a precedent for surveying the rich trove of overlooked works by composers of African descent which are suitable for particular instruments or ensembles.  We urge other musicians to make their own explorations of neglected works which are suitable for their abilities and insights.  We understand the disc will soon be widely available.                                                                                                                                           
Disclosure: A review copy of this recording was 
provided by the record company.

Comments by email:

1) Congratulations Laurel. Your contribution is immeasurable and thanks for sharing your vision several years ago   Thanks,  John Malveaux

2) Thank you for your wonderful review! John Cozza and I thank you so much🎵
You are an excellent writer as well. I always enjoy reading great writing. I believe that the CD is now available in iTunes, Amazon and I hope to stay in touch.  Sincerely, Laurel  Zucker

3) Hi Bill,  You are right. Radio Is playing the recording but all the sell sites will take a few more weeks to catch up. In the meantime if people want to buy it they can contact me at $15 per cd.  [Laurel Zucker]

No comments: