The groundbreaking Symphony and reconstructed piano concerto by Florence Price are given splendid performances.
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Florence B. Price (1887-1953) studied at the New England Conservatory, the Chicago Musical College and the American Conservatory. Price composed throughout her life, producing as many as 300 compositions. In the 1930s and early 1940s some of her longer works were performed by music groups sponsored by the WPA in Illinois and Michigan. Price was highly visible as a teacher, performer and organizer in Chicago’s concert and church music spheres. Her Concerto in One Movement for piano was premiered in Chicago in 1934 with Price herself as pianist. There is no evidence of the piece being performed after the 1930s and there are no copies of the composer’s manuscript of the orchestral score. Composer Trevor Weston was commissioned to reconstruct the concerto’s orchestration in order to revive this deserving work. Price’s groundbreaking Symphony in E Minor was the first prize winner of the 1932 Rodman Wanamaker Music Contest and was premiered in 1933 by Frederick Stock and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It is the first work by a black woman to be performed by a major symphony orchestra in the United States.
"... this is an important and vital release, filling an important gap in AMerican musical culture. Karen Walwyn is an excellent pianist, and her playing in the concerto lends a wonderful air of breathless excitement to the proceedings. I cannot recommend it highly enough."
Lynn René Bayley - Fanfare -May/June 2012