Thursday, February 23, 2012

CHOICE on 'Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a Musical Life': 'One comes away from this study with a new sense of the composer'

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a Musical Life; Jeffrey Green; Pickering and Chatto Publishers (2011)]

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) was an Afro-British composer and conductor who is featured at

CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, is published by a division of the American Library Association. Jeffrey Green's book, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a Musical Life has been reviewed by Professor Dominique-René de Lerma and is included in the February 2012 issue of CHOICE:

Over more than three decades, English historian Jeffrey Green has presented a series of discoveries on Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), an English composer who did not follow his contemporaries into British folk music but instead responded to a yearning for Africa, the homeland of a father he never knew. While the composer was still a student, his substantial and original talent became manifest in works of unusual quality, and he gave sympathetic notice to Native Americans, via Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, a choral work. In the half century following his premature death at the age of 37, Coleridge-Taylor's choral music was heard almost as often as the major works of Handel and Mendelssohn, and his work and three visits to the US provided an exceptionally important impetus for the Harlem Renaissance. This biography corrects errors of the past and reveals that which had been hidden. One comes away from this study with a new sense of the composer, his colleagues and supporters, and the social and political environment in which he lived. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers. --
D.-R. de Lerma, Lawrence University

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