Tuesday, September 2, 2008

MusicOMH.com: 'Samuel Coleridge-Taylor is someone we really should be proud of'

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor; Cedille 90000 055 (2000)]

Proms Chamber Music 7: The Nash Ensemble - Vaughan Williams, Coleridge-Taylor @ Cadogan Hall, London, 1 September 2008
Hot on the heels of a weekend that saw glorious Summer weather on one day give way to autumnal flooding the next, Proms Chamber Music recital No. 7 contrasted Coleridge-Taylor's sunny Clarinet Quintet with the darker side of nature in Vaughan Williams' On Wenlock Edge.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor is someone we really should be proud of in this country but instead we've allowed him to slip into near-oblivion. Like Vaughan Williams, he was a pupil of Charles Villiers Stanford at the RCM, and a favoured one, but his brand of late nineteenth century lyricism has sadly gone out of fashion now. The Nash Ensemble gave a spirited account of his lively Clarinet Quintet (1895), with a languidly lovely 2nd movement Larghetto affettusoso. Richard Hisford's nimble clarinet led a merry dance in the closing Allegro agitato, concluding a work notable for its melodic inventiveness.

There will be the chance to acknowledge Coleridge-Taylor's mix of exoticism and Britishness in his centenary year of 2012 and perhaps we'll see the Royal Albert Hall ringing once more with the impressive sounds of his large-scale choral work Hiawatha as tribute. Here's hoping. [The Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) is profiled at AfriClassical.com]

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