Classical Music Playlist, June 1, 2023

American violinist Randall Goosby was a protégé of legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman, a 2022 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, and is known for his desire to make music inclusive and accessible, bringing the work of under-represented composers to light.

A couple years ago the Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin undertook a project to rediscover and restore the music of American composer Florence Price by performing and recording her symphonies, concertos and other music. “It’s long overdue that we restore her to the place that she holds in the history of American music,” he said.

Now, the two have come together with a new album released on May 19, 2023 that includes the Florence Price Violin Concertos Nos 1 and 2.

In the CD liner notes, Goosby noted that the unique sound of Price’s music derives from her synthesis of styles. She grew up in Arkansas, studied European classical music traditions at the New England Conservatory in Boston, in 1927 relocated to Chicago where she was prominent in the Chicago Black Renaissance, and synthesizes into her music elements from Black musical vernacular like spirituals and jazz.

“If you zoom out and look at Price’s life, the places she visited, where and what she studied, I think it’s a perfect example of what makes American music so great. It’s music from another place that has gone through the wringer and come out somewhere else. All the influences together make up this one thing, which is Florence Price.” Goosby concludes, “Her music is an important part of American History, and it tells a story that I bet you haven’t heard before.”

The Florence Price Violin Concerto No. 1 from 1939 with violinist Randall Goosby and the Philadelphia Orchestra on their new Decca Classics release is today’s Midday Masterpiece.

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