Thursday, November 22, 2018 Florence Price: "Five Folksongs in Counterpoint"

Florence B. Price (1887-1953)

The best pieces of music inspired by American folk tunes

To celebrate Thanksgiving, we choose some of the best works featuring American spirituals and folk songs


Florence Price: Five Folksongs in Counterpoint

Many of Florence Price’s compositions are rooted in the American spiritual tradition, reflecting her cultural heritage in the Deep South. Five Folksongs in Counterpoint is one of two string quartets Price wrote, also known as Negro Folksongs in Counterpoint. It features a handful of African-American spirituals played in contrapuntal textures: ‘Calvary’, ‘Clementine’, ‘Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes’, ‘Shortnin’ Bread’ and ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’.

Each spiritual is given slightly different treatment, with some in a hymn-like style and others performed in a lively fashion. Price framed these typically African-American spirituals within a traditionally European classical music form and tradition to reflect the melting pot of cultures in America at the time. 

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