Friday, March 13, 2020

Florence Price's "Fantasie Negre No.2" - performed by Lara Downes

Lara Downes


Today pianist Lara Downes is releasing Florence Price's evocative Fantasie Negre No. 2, the latest installment in her series of world premiere recordings of newly discovered piano works by this groundbreaking composer (1887-1953). Lara has long been a leading advocate for Price’s music, bringing the composer’s piano works to audiences worldwide on disc and in concert. In July, Lara will make her Chicago Symphony debut with Price’s exuberant Piano Concerto, an iconic performance that will revisit that orchestra’s historic 1933 premiere of Price’s Symphony in E Minor, which made Price the first Black woman composer ever performed by a major American symphony orchestra.

Then on April 3, Lara will release her new album Some Of These Days, which also includes this work by Florence Price, along with work by Margaret Bonds. The focus of Some Of These Days is freedom songs and Spirituals - historic expressions of hope in the fight for equality - that continue to empower and unite in the face of racism and prejudice in today’s climate. Lara’s meditations on these pieces of music are powerful and gorgeous - including “We Shall Overcome,” “Steal Away” and “Down By The Riverside.”  

Some Of These Days features Toshi Reagon, PUBLIQuartet, Musicality Vocal, The Chapin Sisters and others. Lara reimagines these songs with inspiration from America’s diverse musical traditions: classical, jazz, folk, country. She is also joined by Newbery Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson - the former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and Young People's Poet Laureate - for an in-depth audio commentary discussion on the American fight for freedom and the bright potential of today’s younger generations.      
Listen to “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” - the Civil Rights Movement anthem written by Billy Taylor and popularized by Nina Simone here:

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