Monday, November 2, 2009

Rachel Barton - Violin Concertos by Black Composers 18-19th Cent.

Rachel Barton - Violin Concertos by Black Composers
Violin | Eac, flac, cue | log, cover | 1 CD, 308 MB
November 1, 1999 | Cedille | RapidShare

The four works contained on this CD are truly wonderful pieces that deserve to be better known and more frequently played. These are not mere novelty items meant to appeal to only a segment of society but wholly fascinating works, each distinctive and representative of their period and style. Though it may be true that none of the music remotely suggests their creators ethnicity, that should hardly prove to be surprising as all of the composers were either born and/or raised in Europe; the sole exception being Joseph White (b. Matanzas, Cuba) who left for Paris in early adulthood and even if none of these works prove revolutionary in either idea or content, what they lack in innovation they more than make up for with grace, elegance, fiery bravura, sheer melodiousness and the kind of exemplary craftsmanship normally associated with the great masters. Only the Chevalier de Saint-Georges is well represented in the catalogue and though that in itself is wonderful, the other composers merit further exploration and whether it be Cedille or Naxos or Hyperion who takes up the torch, the music loving public will be the ones who will, ultimately, benefit. Rachel Barton's playing is wonderful. She may not produce the most full-bodied tone (essential in the White concerto) but her elegant approach and spot on intonation more than make up for any other shortcomings. The Encore Chamber Orchestra provided firm and spot on support and Mr. Hege proved a thoughtful and gifted conductor well versed in myriad styles. The sound and production are first rate, as are the insert notes. Cannot, I repeat, cannot be recommend enough.--Amazon

Cedille Records wants the world to know about two of Mozart's less-familiar contemporaries, Chevalier J.J.O. de Meude-Monpas and Chevalier de Saint-Georges, as well as later composers Joseph White and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. All were men of mixed African and European descent who made important contributions to European music in the 1700s and 1800s. Celebrities in their day, they've been all but forgotten in our era. Relatively little is known of the early background of French composer Meude-Monpas, but we do know that he was born in Paris and was a musketeer in the service of French king Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette -- when he wasn't composing and writing books on music. Also active in Paris was Guadeloupe-born Saint-Georges, son of an aristocratic French plantation owner and an African slave. The dashing Saint-Georges (who graces the disc's cover) was a champion swordsman and extraordinary athlete, as well as a violin virtuoso. Cuba's Joseph White was born to a French businessman and an Afro-Cuban mother. A concert sensation in Europe and Latin America, White's violin playing was admired by the finest musicians of his day, including the great opera composer Gioacchino Rossini, who wrote, "The warmth of your execution, the feeling, the elegance, the brilliance of the school to which you belong, show the qualities in you as an artist of which the French school may be proud." England's Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, the son of a physician from Sierra Leone and an Englishwoman, was esteemed in the US, especially among cultured African-Americans. His circle of American admirers included Booker T. Washington. The Coleridge-Taylor Society, a Black choral group, was founded in his honor in 1901. He visited the US several times and was a White House guest of President Theodore Roosevelt.

CD Content

Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major
Composed by Chevalier Meude-Monpas
with Rachel Barton Pine
Conducted by Daniel Hege

Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 5/2
Composed by Joseph Boulogne Chevalier de Saint-Georges
with Rachel Barton Pine
Conducted by Daniel Hege

Violin Concerto in F sharp minor
Composed by Jose White
with Rachel Barton Pine
Conducted by Daniel Hege

Romance for violin & orchestra in G major
Composed by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
with Rachel Barton Pine
Conducted by Daniel Hege

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