During his tragically brief life, British composer-conductor Samuel Coleridge-Taylor distinguished himself as one of the most popular musicians of his day in both England and the United States, where he achieved such success on the podium that he was referred to by white New York musicians as the “African Mahler”. While he is most well known for his cantata “Hiawatha’s wedding Feast”, he composed over eighty works, including a sizable output of piano and chamber music in the late romantic tradition, some drawing on American spirituals, that is scandalously little known yet immediately engaging and enjoyable.
Alto Records is pleased to return to international availability the Koch Classics release of 1992 that presented piano and chamber music played by an assemblage of prominent American performers: pianist Virginia Eskin, violinist Michael Ludwig, clarinetist Harold Wright, and the Hawthorne String Quartet.
“[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor] was very well thought of by Stanford, at the Royal College of Music; and not just out of sympathy with allowing a negro composer a hearing in London. The Clarinet Quintet (that pleased Stanford) also received approval from Joachim. It is a very agreeable quintet, most acceptably performed and recorded, and as easy on the ear as its more famous predecessors (Mozart and Brahms). … [The] Petite Suite de Concert [is] lovable music; other of the piano music could have great appeal: especially so could the arrangements of Negro Melodies with their easygoing simplicity.”
– MusicWeb International