A New York Times 25 Best Classical Track Selection for 2019
Florence Price was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and studied at the New England Conservatory, but it was in Chicago that her composing career accelerated. The concert in 1933 at which her Symphony No. 1 in E minor was premiered was the first time a major American orchestra had performed a piece written by an African American woman. Influenced by Dvorak and Coleridge-Taylor, she drew on the wellspring of Negro spirituals and vernacular dances, full of lyricism and syncopation. The Symphony No. 4 in D minor demonstrates her tight ensemble writing, her distinct sense of orchestral color, her Ellingtonian ‘jungle style’ language and her penchant for the ‘juba’Read more dance. Founded in 1923, the Fort Smith Symphony is the oldest orchestra in the state of Arkansas. The orchestra is a per-service professional ensemble drawn from musicians throughout the region. The orchestra performs classics, pops and educational concerts in the ArcBest Performing Arts Center in downtown Fort Smith.
Both works bear trace influences of folk forms—including, as the musicologist Douglas W. Shadle writes in the liner notes, a reference to “Wade in the Water” during the Fourth’s opening movement. But there are as many sections that seem like a composer channeling her own individual muse. Among the most compelling moments is the close of the Fourth—a scherzo full of slaloming melody (and, in the final minutes, some pleasingly potent tutti chords).
– New York Times
Price’s First Symphony has already been recorded. So it was the Fort Smith orchestra’s premiere recording of her 1945 Fourth, in D Minor, that made news among fans of this long-snubbed composer. The brio of the best Americana is present throughout the work, particularly in its rousing climax.
Symphony no 1 in E minorby Florence Beatrice Price Conductor:
Fort Smith Symphony
Period: 20th Century Written: United States
Symphony No. 4 in D Minorby Florence Beatrice Price Conductor:
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: United States
Average Customer Review: ( 3 Customer Reviews )
Excellent 👍 May 2, 2019By Carl R Quarles Carl R Quarles (VALLEY, AL)See All My Reviews"I enjoyed listening to both symphonies on the CD which had mixture of old jazz and negro spiritual tunes. I had to listen to it several timesbecause both symphonies had beautiful melodies. I will be purchasing more of Florence B Price's musical compositions."Report Abuse
On Par with DvorakFebruary 22, 2019By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA)See All My Reviews"As pressure mounts for orchestras to diversify their programming, Florance Foster Price has risen in prominence. Price was a composer of color active in the late 1930s and 40s. Her first symphony, completed in 1932 won a competition and was premiered by the Chicago Symphony in 1933. Stylistically, the work owes much to Antonin Dvorak and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Dvorak urged American composers to look to their own folk music for inspiration, and Price did so. The third movement replaces the European Scherzo with an Afro-American juba dance. While Price's structures follow Dvorak's classical models, the harmonies and the shapes of the melodies are distinctive and original. And very clearly drew from Afro-American traditions. Price's 1945 Fourth Symphony receives its world premier with this recording. During renovations of a neglected house in Chicago, a cache of papers and manuscripts was discovered. The home was Price's summer residence. Had the structure been simply leveled, several of her works -- including this symphony would have been lost. The Fourth Symphony opens with "Wade in the Water" and develops the themes symphonically. While Price uses Dvorak as her basic model, this symphony is more adventurous than her first. Price seems surer of her material and more comfortable working with her traditional music sources. The Fort Smith Symphony, directed by John Jeter does an outstanding job. These are committed performances that show these symphonies in their best light. And they help make the case of adding Price symphonies to the repertoire. Should Price's Symphony No. 1 replace Dvorak's 9th? No, but occasionally choosing the former instead of the latter all the time would be nice."Report Abuse
I Love ItFebruary 7, 2019By Roland Morris (Sandy, OR)See All My Reviews"The music of these Symphonies are quite different but quite beautiful. The Eminor Symhony is quite a lovely work reflecting expansiveness & large landscapes. It has Coplandest quality to it. The D minor Symphony is darker and more disturbing as befitting the key. I highly recommend this recording."Report Abuse