Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chicago Magazine, The 312: 'Black Composer Florence Price, Rediscovered Again'

[TOP: Florence B. Price: Concerto in One Movement, Symphony in E Minor; Albany Records Troy 1295 (2011) BOTTOM: Florence B. Price]

By Whet Moser 
Posted Feb 28, 2012
“This was an unexpected pleasure: 'Classical Lost and Found: Florence B. Price Rediscovered,' from Bob McQuiston of NPR Classical (via Robert Loerzel and the Chicago Philharmonic), a brief piece about the Arkansas native and longtime Chicagoan who was the first black woman to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra: her Symphony in E Minor, which was premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933. McQuiston's writing on the occasion of the symphony's late-2011 recording by the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble of Columbia College.”

“I hear some Aaron Copland (who was also doubly an outsider, and who led his fairly conservative arrangements with catchy, hummable vernacular melodies). That should triangulate it for you: 'lushly romantic' symphonic music that uses folk rhythms and melodies to create a distinctively American landscape. I'm both surprised and not that she's not better known—her conservative sensibilities mean she's not as storied as her near-contemporaries, but they also make her comparatively accessible, and well worth a listen.”

[Florence B. Price (1887-1953) is profiled at AfriClassical.com, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, http://www.CasaMusicaledeLerma.com]

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