Monday, November 12, 2018 Florence Price & Margaret Bonds on "Songs of Chicago" CD

Florence B. Price (1887-1953)

Margaret Bonds (1913-1972)

November 10, 2018

Thomas Hampson sheds light on forgotten black composers

The best of new albums recently released by classical singers is Thomas Hampson’s “Songs from Chicago,” on Cedille Records, an unusual label that records only Chicago composers.

Hampson is America’s leading baritone and is not only a star of opera but also a dedicated singer and scholar of art songs. Here, with Kuang-Hao Huang on piano, he performs songs by five composers of the early 20th century associated with the city of Chicago: Ernst Bacon, Florence Price, John Alden Carpenter, Margaret Bonds, and Louis Campbell-Tipton.

All the pieces are settings of poetry by Walt Whitman, the Nobel Prize winning Indian writer Rabindranath Tagore and nine from Langston Hughes, including his most famous poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.”


Price and Bonds were, respectively, teacher and student. Bonds is from Chicago but later moved to New York where she became friends with Langston Hughes. Price was the first African-American woman to have an orchestral piece (Symphony in E Minor) played by a major orchestra (the Chicago Symphony Orchestra).  Bonds was soloist in Price’s Piano Concerto, making her the first African-American woman to perform as soloist with a major orchestra.

No comments: