Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pianist Richard C. Alston Performs 'Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody' of James P. Johnson on YouTube

[Top: Richard C. Alston, Pianist; Bottom: Victory Stride: The Symphonic Music of James P. Johnson; The Concordia Orchestra; Marin Alsop, Conductor; Music Masters 67140 (1994)]

Our most recent post on the African American pianist Richard C. Alston was made on June 26, 2009: “Pianist Richard C. Alston Has Arensky CD & Performs African American Composers on YouTube.” We wrote to him this week and told him his recording of Anton Arensky was very enjoyable and had led to our purchase of a CD of Piano Trios by the same composer. Here are excerpts from emails sent by Richard on July 31, 2009, with Parts I and II of James P. Johnson's
Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody, performed with the Plainfield Symphony of Plainfield, New Jersey, under the direction of Sabin Pauza, Conductor:

Hi Bill, Every morning I look forward to reading AfriClassical. Attached is a performance I did of 'Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody' by James P. Johnson. I recently added this to my Youtube channel. This is Part One, I will send you the conclusion also. I really enjoy finding and performing rare repertoire.” “I originally only performed the solo version. The complete orchestral score was found only two weeks before this performance and that is why I performed with the score. I have the parts, but only had a piano/orchestral score. It was difficult without the full conductor's score to see what I and the orchestra would play. Plus I could not tell when we were playing together until I had the complete orchestral score. If you have any suggestions for repertoire, please let me know. I hope you enjoy it!!! Harmoniously, Richard”

Pianist Richard C. Alston Performs 'Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody' by James P. Johnson,
Part I and Part II [The African American Composer James Price Johnson (1894-1955) is profiled at]

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