British Library

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‘Thelma’, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s only full-length opera, performed at last

Jonathan Butcher writes: Up until 1900 Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (born in 1875) had had little to do with composing for the theatre. His main body of work was choral and orchestral and, of course, his most famous opus, and the one that catapulted him to fame, was his major oratorio, Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast. His involvement with the theatre, though Herbert Beerbohm Tree, with all its colourful characters, magic and intrigue, may well have been the very spark Coleridge-Taylor needed to spur him on to write his only full length opera. Continue reading

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s early chamber works – discovering the Piano Quintet op.1

Ten years ago today (7 November 2001) was the first performance in living memory of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Piano Quintet, op.1.  The work was part of a lunchtime recital programme by players from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, from a score discovered and prepared from the original by Martin Anthony (‘Tony’) Burrage, an RLPO violonist, and director of … Continue reading

“I want to be nothing in the world except what I am – a musician.” (Discovering ‘Thelma’, Coleridge-Taylor’s only opera)

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s sole opera, Thelma (Op.72), was composed in 1907-09, but only in the past few years has it been given any serious consideration. Here Dr Catherine Carr recounts how she came to learn of the opera. She also shares some insights into the research she undertook to bring Thelma to life, and tells us about some of her many fascinating discoveries concerning this centrally important and hitherto neglected work…. Continue reading

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