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This term we're exploring another composer who deserves more recognition!

We are really looking forward to seeing everyone again (and hopefully some new members too!) for another exciting term.

So, what do we have planned for this spring? Well, the inspiration for one of our pieces came from how much we enjoyed playing the wonderful music of long-neglected 18th century Caribbean composer, Joseph Bologne (also known as Chevalier de Saint-Georges) last term. This term we fast forward 130 years to another composer whose beautiful music has been forgotten for far too long - Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

He was born in London in 1875, the son of a white English woman and a

black African doctor from Sierra Leone. Whilst studying at The Royal College of Music, his talent as a composer was recognised by his teachers, including Sir Edward Elgar, and he went on to have a successful career as a composer, conductor and teacher, working particularly with amateur musicians.

His compositions were strongly influenced by his African heritage, as he sought to do for African music what Brahms did for Hungarian music and Dvorak did for Bohemian music. By publishing his 24 Traditional Melodies Op.59 he ensured that many of the African Spirituals were written down, when they could otherwise have been lost forever, and by incorporating elements of these melodies into his own original compositions. Sadly, he died of pneumonia in 1912, at the age of only 37.

You can hear more about his life here: Great Lives, BBC.

This term we will be playing the 2nd movement, ‘Demande et Réponse’ from his Petite Suite de Concert. It’s a very different sound world to the classical symphony of Joseph Bologne. In this piece, Coleridge-Taylor uses lots of late 19th century romantic harmonies and textures. Towards the end of the movement, there is a marking ‘con sordini’ (with the mute), as the music draws to a reflective and peaceful close.

Susanna and Sinan

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