Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)

organist Sam Nelson

originally released June 18th, 2020

Afro-English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's 'Melody' shows his earnest love for tunefulness and tonality. Enjoyable and accessible Victorian music such as this won him wide acclaim, both in the US and his native England. He was raised by his white mother (his Creole biological father from Sierra Leone was unaware of her pregnancy) and her large, supportive, working-class family in Surrey. Inspired by his obvious talent and passion, they saved and pooled money in order to send him to The Royal College of Music at age 15. He endeavored to bring African and Indigenous influences into his classical compositions wherever possible, and became most famous for his ‘Song of Hiawatha’ settings. He was one of the only Black persons to ever be received by president Theodore Roosevelt at the White House. Coleridge-Taylor enjoyed a happy marriage, and both of his children became musicians themselves, though he struggled financially at the end of his short life.

Luise Greger (1862-1944)

mezzo-soprano Thea Lobo

organist Sam Nelson

This spiritual song, describing the idea ‘blessed are those who mourn’, features shifting harmonies and simple gestures, emphasizing the play of light and dark.

Luise Greger (1862-1944) was a highly respected performer and composer in Germany, recognized for her talent by Richard Strauss among others. She enjoyed a long and celebrated career, especially for her famous children’s Christmas show, Goose Girl. Tragically, at age 81, living in Nazi occupied Germany, she was moved from her assisted living facility to a mental institution and within some months died of starvation, a victim of Nazi ‘euthanasia’.

Justin Elie (1883-1931)

pianist Eunmi Ko

Haitian composer Justin Elie sought to elevate the music of the island in works such as this, as well as champion the African and Indigenous influences of his own upbringing.