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Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)


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Author Topic: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)  (Read 1616 times)
Lionel Harrison
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« Reply #90 on: August 17, 2021, 08:45:02 am »

I mentioned above that I had emailed Chineke! to seek clarification on who, if not the composer, had orchestrated the first three movements of the African Suite in their recording. I have had a charming reply from Chi-chi Nwanoku herself, telling me that the other movements were orchestrated by Chris Cameron (composer, arranger and producer) especially for the Chineke! Orchestra. Mr Cameron is, like SC-T, an alumnus of the Royal College of Music.

See: Officer Crabtree came up trimps.

Indeed! I think the orchestrations are pretty idiomatic...if I didn't now know that they weren't by Coleridge-Taylor, I'd assume they were by the composer himself.

 Smiley

I agree entirely. I wrote in my reply to Chi-chi Nwanoku "as someone with pretty extensive experience of working on SC-T's manuscript scores, I found Mr Cameron's orchestrations to be idiomatic -- which is no mean feat, considering what a great gift for orchestration SC-T had. So 'hats off' to Mr Cameron!"
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« Reply #91 on: August 17, 2021, 08:55:23 am »

I wrote in my reply to Chi-chi Nwanoku "as someone with pretty extensive experience of working on SC-T's manuscript scores, I found Mr Cameron's orchestrations to be idiomatic -- which is no mean feat, considering what a great gift for orchestration SC-T had. So 'hats off' to Mr Cameron!"

He should be commissioned to re-orchestrate the full set of Five Choral Ballads, Op.54. Wonderful pieces!

 Smiley
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
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« Reply #92 on: August 17, 2021, 09:23:29 am »

I wrote in my reply to Chi-chi Nwanoku "as someone with pretty extensive experience of working on SC-T's manuscript scores, I found Mr Cameron's orchestrations to be idiomatic -- which is no mean feat, considering what a great gift for orchestration SC-T had. So 'hats off' to Mr Cameron!"

He should be commissioned to re-orchestrate the full set of Five Choral Ballads, Op.54. Wonderful pieces!

 Smiley

Agreed on all counts. I have always assumed that the orchestral score was destroyed when Breitkopf & Härtel's warehouse was bombed during the war.
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« Reply #93 on: August 17, 2021, 09:54:25 am »

Thank you, Lionel, for providing these interesting informations!
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« Reply #94 on: August 17, 2021, 10:02:16 am »

So 'hats off' to Mr Cameron!"

He should be commissioned to re-orchestrate the full set of Five Choral Ballads, Op.54. Wonderful pieces!

 Smiley

Agreed on all counts. I have always assumed that the orchestral score was destroyed when Breitkopf & Härtel's warehouse was bombed during the war.

There is a piano-only broadcast of all five in BIMA, plus two MP3s of YouTube videos uploaded by the Longfellow chorus: No.2 She Dwells by Great Kenhawa's Side (piano-only) and No.4 The Quadroon Girl (sympathetically re-orchestrated).

 Smiley
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
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« Reply #95 on: August 17, 2021, 12:11:45 pm »

So 'hats off' to Mr Cameron!"

He should be commissioned to re-orchestrate the full set of Five Choral Ballads, Op.54. Wonderful pieces!

 Smiley

Agreed on all counts. I have always assumed that the orchestral score was destroyed when Breitkopf & Härtel's warehouse was bombed during the war.

There is a piano-only broadcast of all five in BIMA, plus two MP3s of YouTube videos uploaded by the Longfellow chorus: No.2 She Dwells by Great Kenhawa's Side (piano-only) and No.4 The Quadroon Girl (sympathetically re-orchestrated).

 Smiley

I have all those recordings stashed away and I'd encourage anyone to try them. They are wonderful pieces, indeed.
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Lionel Harrison
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« Reply #96 on: August 17, 2021, 12:12:35 pm »

Thank you, Lionel, for providing these interesting informations!
You are very welcome. One can only try one's best!
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« Reply #97 on: August 21, 2021, 10:08:18 am »

Coleridge-Taylor's arrangement of Deep River from Twenty-Four Negro Melodies, Op.59, No.10 (1905) has just been played on Radio 3's "Record Review", in the recording by Frances Walker (Orion MAR3105). This lovely set of miniatures has now been recorded several times - Lionel, which would you recommend?

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« Reply #98 on: August 21, 2021, 10:58:58 am »

Coleridge-Taylor's arrangement of Deep River from Twenty-Four Negro Melodies, Op.59, No.10 (1905) has just been played on Radio 3's "Record Review", in the recording by Frances Walker (Orion MAR3105). This lovely set of miniatures has now been recorded several times - Lionel, which would you recommend?

 Smiley

That's a difficult one to call, John. As far as I am aware, there are two recordings of the complete set: you mention Frances Walker's and there's another by David Shaffer-Gottschalk (Albany TROY930-31). Musically speaking, I have a preference for Frances Walker's recording; she seems to get nearer the soul of the music than David Shaffer-Gottshalk, although the sonics aren't as good. The planned studio sessions had to be abandoned because of the illness of Ms Walker's husband, I think (although my memory could be playing tricks on me there) in consequence of which they were recorded in her home in which the acoustics are somewhat over-reverberant, and on her own piano, which wasn't of the highest quality. Professor of Piano Peter Takács said of her in an obituary, “I remember Frances Walker’s sound—deep, noble, unhurried—which made all music, especially Brahms and Liszt, sound profound.” The same applies to her recording of SC-T to my mind.

However, Shaffer-Gottschalk's recording received some good reviews, including: "David Shaffer-Gottschalk...is a technically well-equipped and sympathetic interpreter of Coleridge-Taylor's music, sensitive to the innovative thinking that was poking out from under the blanket of Edwardian-era technique. A fine release..." (All Music Guide); and "Pianist David Shaffer-Gottschalk delivers loving performances of this unusual, but engaging repertoire. ...a release that piano enthusiasts will certainly want to investigate." (Classical Lost and Found).

My hope is that Isata Kanneh-Mason will make a complete recording in the fullness of time. She has all the interpretative chops, coupled with technique to die for and so I can only imagine how a performance from her would take flight.
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« Reply #99 on: August 21, 2021, 11:09:02 am »

Thanks, Lionel! I always think it's a pity that Coleridge-Taylor never essayed a piano concerto. Admittedly, the soloist involved may have had to give some input in terms of technical possibilities and improvements, as Paderewski did with Cowen's Concertstuck and Sarasate did with Mackenzie's violin concerto (and no doubt innumerable other concertante compositions were subject to "collaboration").

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« Reply #100 on: August 21, 2021, 11:22:03 am »

Thanks, Lionel! I always think it's a pity that Coleridge-Taylor never essayed a piano concerto. Admittedly, the soloist involved may have had to give some input in terms of technical possibilities and improvements, as Paderewski did with Cowen's Concertstuck and Sarasate did with Mackenzie's violin concerto (and no doubt innumerable other concertante compositions were subject to "collaboration").

 Smiley

Undoubtedly so. As we have discussed before, SC-T was not a first-study pianist and his piano writing can be distictly unpianistic! He had a tendency to write arm-fulls of block chords which, while awkward in solo music where you have to keep a bass-line going. as well as internal figurations, suit a concerto texture much better, as the orchestra could be assigned the subsidiaary stuff. With his great gift for orchestration, I'm sure he'd have done that job brilliantly. However, it wasn't to be, sadly.
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« Reply #101 on: August 21, 2021, 11:30:56 am »


My hope is that Isata Kanneh-Mason will make a complete recording in the fullness of time. She has all the interpretative chops, coupled with technique to die for and so I can only imagine how a performance from her would take flight.

I should have mentioned that Ms Kanneh-Mason included three of the melodies (no 8 The Bamboula; no 10 Deep River; no 22 Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child) on her recent Decca release 'Summertime' (cat. no. 4851663) so one can sample her approach. In SC-T's opinion, Deep River is the most beautiful melody of the set, and who am I to disagree? It's certainly very touching in this performance.
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« Reply #102 on: August 21, 2021, 11:32:14 am »

Thanks, Lionel! I always think it's a pity that Coleridge-Taylor never essayed a piano concerto. Admittedly, the soloist involved may have had to give some input in terms of technical possibilities and improvements, as Paderewski did with Cowen's Concertstuck and Sarasate did with Mackenzie's violin concerto (and no doubt innumerable other concertante compositions were subject to "collaboration").

 Smiley

Undoubtedly so. As we have discussed before, SC-T was not a first-study pianist and his piano writing can be distictly unpianistic! He had a tendency to write arm-fulls of block chords which, while awkward in solo music where you have to keep a bass-line going. as well as internal figurations, suit a concerto texture much better, as the orchestra could be assigned the subsidiaary stuff. With his great gift for orchestration, I'm sure he'd have done that job brilliantly. However, it wasn't to be, sadly.

Incidentally, I've always thought that the 1896 piano concerto by Coleridge-Taylor's great friend William Hurlstone (1876-1906) is quite lovely. Thankfully, Lyrita recorded it along with most of his other major orchestral scores (he was a master of the variation form). Equally precocious and even more tragically short-lived - another of the great might-have-beens (along with today's birthday girl).

 Sad
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« Reply #103 on: August 21, 2021, 11:40:24 am »

Thanks, Lionel! I always think it's a pity that Coleridge-Taylor never essayed a piano concerto. Admittedly, the soloist involved may have had to give some input in terms of technical possibilities and improvements, as Paderewski did with Cowen's Concertstuck and Sarasate did with Mackenzie's violin concerto (and no doubt innumerable other concertante compositions were subject to "collaboration").

 Smiley

Undoubtedly so. As we have discussed before, SC-T was not a first-study pianist and his piano writing can be distictly unpianistic! He had a tendency to write arm-fulls of block chords which, while awkward in solo music where you have to keep a bass-line going. as well as internal figurations, suit a concerto texture much better, as the orchestra could be assigned the subsidiaary stuff. With his great gift for orchestration, I'm sure he'd have done that job brilliantly. However, it wasn't to be, sadly.

Incidentally, I've always thought that the 1896 piano concerto by Coleridge-Taylor's great friend William Hurlstone (1876-1906) is quite lovely. Thankfully, Lyrita recorded it along with most of his other major orchestral scores (he was a master of the variation form). Equally precocious and even more tragically short-lived - another of the great might-have-beens (along with today's birthday girl).

 Sad

I agree, and I think his chamber music is also especially fine. The only thing I think he's missing, in comparison with SC-T, is the gift for really memorable melody. Of course, Stanford regarded the pair of them as probably the most naturally gifted students he ever taught, which is saying something!
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« Reply #104 on: August 21, 2021, 11:43:05 am »

Thanks, Lionel! I always think it's a pity that Coleridge-Taylor never essayed a piano concerto. Admittedly, the soloist involved may have had to give some input in terms of technical possibilities and improvements, as Paderewski did with Cowen's Concertstuck and Sarasate did with Mackenzie's violin concerto (and no doubt innumerable other concertante compositions were subject to "collaboration").

 Smiley

Undoubtedly so. As we have discussed before, SC-T was not a first-study pianist and his piano writing can be distictly unpianistic! He had a tendency to write arm-fulls of block chords which, while awkward in solo music where you have to keep a bass-line going. as well as internal figurations, suit a concerto texture much better, as the orchestra could be assigned the subsidiaary stuff. With his great gift for orchestration, I'm sure he'd have done that job brilliantly. However, it wasn't to be, sadly.

Incidentally, I've always thought that the 1896 piano concerto by Coleridge-Taylor's great friend William Hurlstone (1876-1906) is quite lovely. Thankfully, Lyrita recorded it along with most of his other major orchestral scores (he was a master of the variation form). Equally precocious and even more tragically short-lived - another of the great might-have-beens (along with today's birthday girl).

 Sad

I agree, and I think his chamber music is also especially fine. The only thing I think he's missing, in comparison with SC-T, is the gift for really memorable melody. Of course, Stanford regarded the pair of them as probably the most naturally gifted students he ever taught, which is saying something!

It certainly is, considering that he also taught RVW and Holst - who knows what the subsequent landscape of British music may have looked like? Likewise, Sullivan's teachers in Leipzig thought that he was more naturally gifted than Brahms - who am I to argue?

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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)

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