Sunday, June 4, 2017

"A Celebration of African Composers for Piano" by Peter Henderson presents works of Akin Euba, J. H. Kwabena Nketia, Gamal Abdel Rahim & Fred Onovwerosuoke

A Celebration of African Composers for Piano
Peter Henderson, Piano 
African Music Publishers AGCD 2706 (2017)

The first composer on this recording is Akin Euba (b. 1935), to whom the disc is dedicated.  Tracks 1-3 are his Scenes from Traditional Life.  The liner notes tell us "the work was based on a 12-tone row" and "Euba was obviously cognizant of Schuman's Scenes from Childhood" but did not intend to "make a pictorial connection."  The work is more abstract than the other pieces on the recording.

The second composer is J.H. Kwabena Nketia (b. 1921).  Tracks 4-15 contain his Twelve Pedagogical Pieces.  They are Volta Fantasy, Owora, Builsa Work Song, At the Cross Roads, Dagarti Work Song, Meditation, Rays of Hope, Libation, Absent Friends, Dagomba, Play Time  and Akpalu.  The pieces are programmatic in character.

Gamal Abdel Rahim (1924-1988) is represented on Tracks 16-22 by Variations on an Egyptian Folksong.  A brief theme is followed by a series of variations.

Tracks 23-29 consist of seven Selections from 24 Studies in African Rhythm by Fred Onovwerosuoke, (b. 1960), the founder of African Musical Arts, a nonprofit subsidiary of the St. Louis African Chorus.  The works are especially lively and colorful.

The pianist is Peter Henderson, who earned a Doctorate of Music from Indiana University in Bloomington.  The approximate total length of the CD is 59 minutes.

The works on the program are relatively rare in the Classical piano repertoire, but deserve more attention.  This recording is a step in that direction. 

Comment by email: 
Blessings to you, Bill. Thank you so very much! Melanie tells me she's now posted a few selections from the CD on our newly created channel on Soundcloud, at:  Fredo  [Fred Onovwerosuoke]

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