Florence Price (American, 1887-1953)
I’ve been involved in music for over 35 years, and it makes me sad that in all that time in youth orchestras, fancy music schools, professional orchestras, etc. I’d never even heard of Florence Price until very recently. It is definitely my personal failing, but also the failing of the musical institutions I’ve been part of. (Interestingly, Price was a close colleague of William Grant Still, whose work I first performed in high school, almost 25 years ago, so make of that what you will...) Happily there has recently been renewed interested in her work, and I’m sure even more research will be done in coming years, so we have much to learn from.
I thought I’d share this part of a documentary so you can learn about her along with me.
I admit I’m not at all familiar with her work (looking forward to getting to know it!), but I was charmed by this piece, which is clearly based on spirituals, but whose harmonies and orchestration contain hints of Schubert, Dvorak, and some early 20th century composers. It begins with a slow section, but alternates with livelier material starting around 6:47.
Up to you whether you want to watch some of the documentary, listen to some music (my selection or another), or both!