Vignettes: Influential Works of Black Composers CD
Vignettes explores the chamber music of two influential Black composers that forged a path for future generations of young composers. These two composers had extremely influential careers, yet their music was infrequently performed during their lifetime. This CD brings their works to the forefront of the woodwind chamber music repertoire. Many of the works on this recording have been arranged by the Salon Trio in an attempt to expand the repertoire for this combination and reach larger audiences.
The English composer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was highly respected during his lifetime and as a young man was noticed by the famous composer Edward Elgar. Based on the success of his cantata The Song of Hiawatha, he was invited to tour the United States several times and eventually became so highly regarded, he was given the nickname the “African Mahler.”
Our second composer, Willian Grant Still, was often referred to as the ‘Dean of Afro-American Composers’ and his first Symphony was the most performed symphony by any American composer before 1950. Still was also the first Black composer to conduct a major symphony orchestra and have his music and opera performed by a major orchestra and opera company.
Despite all of these successes, racial discrimination dictated much of their lives. Even with incredible accomplishments these two composers never reached the fame or success of their white counterparts and this only inspired each to work tirelessly to fight racism and discrimination. They were both leading activists of their time and deserve to be widely known today.