Oakland Symphony program, spotlighting black composers

Posted on: January 30, 2019

“ ‘If you don’t remember anything else from tonight,’ music director Michael Morgan told the audience at the Paramount Theatre on Friday, Jan. 25, ‘remember Florence Price,’ ” writes Joshua Kosman in Tuesday’s (1/29) San Francisco Chronicle. “There was plenty to take away from the concert by the Oakland Symphony … devoted to music by black composers…. The program ranged from 18th century Paris to the Harlem … of Duke Ellington…. Price’s Third Symphony … a robust and wondrously inventive creation that had its premiere in 1940 in Detroit … is steeped in the harmonies and rhythms of the African American world…. At a first encounter, this can make Price’s symphonies remind a modern listener of Dvořák…. But where Dvořák is a tourist-ethnographer … Price turns those musical resources into something periodically new and strange…. The symphony’s finale … turns the simple rhythmic profile of a buoyant rondo into something weightier … Morgan exhorted the audience to listen with two sets of ears—one attuned to what Price had accomplished, another to how much more there could have been if she’d been supported and nourished in her career…. We are, happily, going through a little renaissance of interest in Florence Price’s work.”

Posted January 30, 2019