Life, Reviews

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: a musical life by Jeffrey Green – a review by Dominique-Rene de Lerma

Dominique-René de Lerma

Dr Dominique-Rene de Lerma

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: a musical life by Jeffrey Green

Dr Dominique-Rene de Lerma writes:

Over more than three decades, English historian Jeffrey Green has presented a series of discoveries on Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), an English composer who did not follow his contemporaries into British folk music but instead responded to a yearning for Africa, the homeland of a father he never knew.

While the composer was still a student, his substantial and original talent became manifest in works of unusual quality, and he gave sympathetic notice to Native Americans, via Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast, a choral work.

In the half century following his premature death at the age of 37, Coleridge-Taylor’s choral music was heard almost as often as the major works of Handel and Mendelssohn, and his work and three visits to
the US provided an exceptionally important impetus for the Harlem Renaissance. This biography corrects errors of the past and reveals that which had been hidden. One comes away from this study with a new sense of the composer, his colleagues and supporters, and the social and political
environment in which he lived.

D.-R. de Lerma, Lawrence University

Green, Jeffrey. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: a musical life. Pickering &
Chatto, 2011. (For sale by (Dist. by Ashgate Publishing)) 296p bibl index
afp ISBN 9781848931619, $99.00; ISBN 9781848931626 e-book, contact publisher
for price
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