Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Clarence Cameron White's 'Triumphal March' is 'one of the first African-American compositions for the modern concert band'

[ABOVE: Out of the Depths: Music by African-American Composers; Keystone Wind Ensemble; Jack Stamp, Conductor; Citadel 88143 (2003) BELOW: Clarence Cameron White]

Clarence Cameron White (1880-1960) was a violinist and composer with a large body of works to his name. On April 19, 2011 AfriClassical posted: Indiana Public Media: “Clarence Cameron White's Opera 'Ouanga' Was First Presented As A Fully Staged Production'” in South Bend.” White is represented in Out of the Depths: Music by African-American Composers by his Triumphal March (3:31). Dr. Myron Moss writes in the liner notes:

“Clarence Cameron White lived from 1880-1960. He studied at Howard University and Oberlin College, and twice traveled to London to study composition with the black Englishman Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. He toured as a violinist and taught at West Virginia State College and Hampton Institute. His compositions include the opera Ouanga and From the Cotton Fields.

“Edwin Franko Goldman was among the earliest band conductors to commission serious original pieces for band, and White's Triumphal March is the first response by a black American to Goldman's search for substantial repertoire, making it one of the first African-American compositions for the modern concert band. The work seems to have begun as a piano piece, the only version in which it was published. White had it arranged for orchestra preceding its band arrangement by Mayhew Lake. The piece's romantic harmony and its extensive use of a minor key contribute to its tempestuous quality. White's papers contain an enthusiastic note from arranger Lake saying, 'you did a pretty nifty job here – it's a damned good number,' and promising that, 'it won't be a hard job (on climaxes) to knock over a couple of seats – especially with the band that Eddie [Edwin Franko Goldman] has.' Lake's band manuscript was not published and is listed as lost in the Goldman Band Library. For this recording, Jack Stamp has reconstructed an orchestration of the march, working from the piano version, and bearing in mind the scoring and stylistic conventions of bands of the 1920s. This reconstruction, too, conveys the rousing impact of White's 'damned good number.'" [Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) is featured at AfriClassical.com and at www.SCTF.org.uk]

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