Saturday, March 23, 2019 Naxos release of the First and Fourth Symphonies by Florence Beatrice Price

John Jeter forwards this review:


PRICE Symphonies Nos 1 & 4

Patrick Rucker

In addition to the harvest of death, disenfranchisement, pain and suffering inflicted by societies locked into institutionalised racism, there is also the incalculable loss of unrealised potential. Combine pervasive racism with centuries of undervaluing the contributions of women and the odds against success become all but overwhelming. This new Naxos release of the First and Fourth Symphonies by Florence Beatrice Price (1887-1953) is part of the rediscovery now under way of an African American woman who defied those odds.

A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Price’s musical education began early with her piano teacher mother. At 14 she was admitted to New England Conservatory, where she studied with George Whitefield Chadwick. In 1910 she was named head of the music department at Clark Atlanta University. Even after she and her husband moved to Chicago with their two daughters in the late 1920s, Price continued to study, notably with Leo Sowerby and Roy Harris.

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Price’s First Symphony was composed in 1932 for a contest sponsored by the Wanamaker Foundation and performed by the Chicago Symphony under Frederick Stock the following year. Her Fourth Symphony, composed in 1945 and recorded here for the first time, was discovered in 2009 among a sheaf of manuscripts in her former summer home on the outskirts of Chicago. 

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