Author Topic: African American Composers  (Read 3218 times)

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Offline Ugh!

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African American Composers
« on: January 25, 2009, 12:09:15 PM »
need no apology, no defense, no explanation, no patronising.

They need performance.

(Natalie Hinderas)


Olly Wilson
William Grant Still
...

Online Christo

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Re: African American Composers
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2009, 01:34:10 PM »
Always enjoyed William Grant Still (1895-1978) a lot - especially the First Symphony `African-American' (1931) (as good as anything by Gershwin), but also the Second `Song of a New Race' (1937).

I myself learnt to know these first two symphonies (there are more) thanks to Chandos and Neeme Järvi's fresh approach to the music of the country of his (then) new employer, but the First is also available now in a fine version on Naxos:

… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline vandermolen

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Re: African American Composers
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2009, 07:53:05 AM »
Always enjoyed William Grant Still (1895-1978) a lot - especially the First Symphony `African-American' (1931) (as good as anything by Gershwin), but also the Second `Song of a New Race' (1937).

I myself learnt to know these first two symphonies (there are more) thanks to Chandos and Neeme Järvi's fresh approach to the music of the country of his (then) new employer, but the First is also available now in a fine version on Naxos:



I too discovered the Grant Still symphonies on Chandos. Both very enjoyable.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Ugh!

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Re: African American Composers
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2009, 09:14:37 AM »
What about the William Levi Dawson piece?

Offline schweitzeralan

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Re: African American Composers
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2009, 04:20:31 PM »
I too discovered the Grant Still symphonies on Chandos. Both very enjoyable.

I placed a posting on Still but there were no responses.  I stated that his piano music, the ones with which I became familiar, were not particularly Afro-american oriented.  Some that perhaps I haven't heard  may be folkloric or African American. His "Seven Traceries" and his "Preludes," however, are quite European and exotic with interesting harmonies, parallel chords with shifting tonal effects.  Interesting.  Admittedly, his orchestral works tend to be Afro-American or evince a certain "blues" effect.  He seems to be a dualist.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: African American Composers
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2009, 06:39:37 PM »
Just did a quick google and found this...

http://chevalierdesaintgeorges.homestead.com/others.html

An impressive list - I have few of these composers, of course Scott Joplin & Duke Ellington, but not really classical music - of the others, just own a few discs of Coleridge-Taylor & William Grant Still - shown below are the 2 CDs that I have of Still, for those who may be interested - (can scan in the works for those interested, if not easily found on the web) -  :D

 

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: African American Composers
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2009, 06:58:14 PM »
An impressive list - I have few of these composers, of course Scott Joplin & Duke Ellington, but not really classical music - of the others, just own a few discs of Coleridge-Taylor & William Grant Still - shown below are the 2 CDs that I have of Still, for those who may be interested - (can scan in the works for those interested, if not easily found on the web) -  :D

 

 Coleridge-Taylor?

With respect, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was not an African American Composer. He was born and bred in London to a father from Sierra Leone and an English mother.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: African American Composers
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2009, 07:37:28 PM »
Coleridge-Taylor?

With respect, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was not an African American Composer. He was born and bred in London to a father from Sierra Leone and an English mother.

Yes, I understand that completely - I was simply listing the composers in the 'link' that was given by James - I know the heritage of Coleridge-Taylor as stated above and never stated that he was an American composer (despite the title of the thread) - own the CD shown below - the liner notes are outstanding in expanding on the brief description above - a recommendation and would look forward to other suggestions by this English-African composer - sorry for the confusion, I should have been clearer, I guess -  :-\



Offline Brian

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Re: African American Composers
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2009, 08:42:50 PM »
Coleridge-Taylor?

With respect, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was not an African American Composer. He was born and bred in London to a father from Sierra Leone and an English mother.
For what it is worth, Coleridge-Taylor was eulogized by the essayist W.E.B. DuBois, who held him up as an example of what African-Americans could do if the limitations of racism in the United States were lifted. I can try to find the text if you like...

Some very interesting African-American composers to consider in this thread. Not least of them is the previously mentioned Duke Ellington, whose composition teacher, Will Marion Cook (first African writer on Broadway), studied with Dvorak in the 1890s.

I'd be interested to hear thoughts on Florence Price, if any of you know the name: an African-American woman whose symphonies were performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the 1930s to general acclaim, but whose music is a rarity today.

Offline Ugh!

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Re: African American Composers
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2009, 04:20:31 AM »
For what it is worth, Coleridge-Taylor was eulogized by the essayist W.E.B. DuBois, who held him up as an example of what African-Americans could do if the limitations of racism in the United States were lifted. I can try to find the text if you like...

Somewhat off topic, but of all persons, a Norwegian composer, Gunnar Sønstevold composed a wonderful work based on DuBois' poetic response to the 1906 Atlanta race riot. Litany in Atlanta was composed in memoriam Louis Armstrong and is a remarkable work for orchestra, jazz orchestra, mixed (amateur) choir, and female reciter. Certainly, Afro-American cultural influences are highly traceable throughout the work...

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: African American Composers
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2009, 07:59:06 AM »
Yes, I understand that completely - I was simply listing the composers in the 'link' that was given by James - I know the heritage of Coleridge-Taylor as stated above and never stated that he was an American composer (despite the title of the thread) - own the CD shown below - the liner notes are outstanding in expanding on the brief description above - a recommendation and would look forward to other suggestions by this English-African composer - sorry for the confusion, I should have been clearer, I guess -  :-\




Is that actually from THE Coleridge-Taylor? That's pretty fascinating.