Friday, December 30, 2011

Afro-Cuban Composer José White Born Dec. 31, 1835; 'Etude No. 6' on 'Capricho Latino' by Rachel Barton Pine on Cedille

[TOP: Capricho Latino; Rachel Barton Pine, violinist; Cedille 90000 124 (2011) BOTTOM: José White - Shown here after he received the 1st prize for violin at the Conservatoire de Paris in 1856. Bibliothèque Nationale de France; Wikipedia]

José Silvestre White, aka José Silvestre White y Lafitte (1835-1918) was an Afro-Cuban composer, violinist and professor who is profiled at, where his works are listed by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, His mother was Afro-Cuban and his father Spanish. Josephine Wright, Professor of Music at the College of Wooster, in Wooster, Ohio published an article Violinist José White in Paris, 1855-1875, in Black Music Research Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2, Fall 1990. The article tells of José White's success at the Paris Conservatory, as evidenced by his First Grand Prize in Violin, the occasion for the above photograph:

Thriving in such an enriching, stimulating environment, José White excelled. After just one year of study, he won the Paris Conservatory's highest award in violin, the coveted First Grand Prize. That competition took place on July 29, 1856, and was reviewed by Le Pays on August 5:

'The competition for violin [at the Conservatory] has offered a beautiful spectacle this year, being the most brilliant struggle. The first grand prize was conceded to Mr. White, pupil of Alard, and the second [prize] to Mr. [Aimé] Gros, from the same class... Mr. White showed himself [so] superior that there should have been created a grand exceptional prize in his favor. He performed with an extraordinary animation, not like a pupil but as a great artist who commands his audience. The jury itself was electrified" (Ramirez 1891, 178).'

This year saw the release by Cedille Records of Rachel Barton Pine's Capricho Latino, Cedille 90000 124 (2011) which includes the world premiere recording of White's Etude No. 6 (5:11), dedicated to one of his teachers, Secundino Arango. An earlier recording of the music of José White is Violin Concertos By Black Composers of the 18th and 19th Centuries, Cedille 90000 035 (1997), which includes his Violin Concerto in F-sharp Minor (21:34) performed by Rachel Barton, violin and the Encore Chamber Orchestra led by Daniel Hege, Conductor. The recording received a maximum rating of 10/10 from Classics Today, was praised by The New York Times, and remains in print today.

On Aug. 6, 2011 AfriClassical posted: 'CamerataRomeu' Performs Music of Afro-Cuban Composer José White at'Credomatic Festival,' Costa Rica.” Camerata Romeu is a women's string orchestra from Cuba. It took part in the 21st Credomatic Music Festival.

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