Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor "Motherless child"

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's The Song of Hiawatha gets a keynote performance at this year's Three Choirs Festival, which gave him his first major commission: the Ballade in A minor for full orchestra, first heard in Gloucester.  It was his op 33, though he was only 23 years old

Like Antonin Dvořák and Frederick Delius, Coleridge-Taylor travelled to America and was fascinated by the "new" world. He was feted by the President Theodore Roosevelt. Although Coleridge-Taylor was an Englishman culturally, in some parts of the US he would have been considered "a coloured man".  While Vaughan Williams and Butterworth were collecting British folk songs, Coleridge-Taylor was listening to the folk songs of alien cultures. Below, one of his Five Negro Melodies op 59 (1905) to the old spiritual: 

1 comment:

JMW said...

Coleridge-Taylor was especially adept at adapting the folk music of the African diaspora for classical presentation. His orchestral work Variations on an African Air is one of his greatest works. Here is another of his settings that has remained obscure despite it being one of his loveliest creations. This is call Keep Me From Sinking Down.