Five Negro Melodies for Piano Trio, Op.59 No.1
Coleridge-Taylor's Five Negro Melodies for Piano Trio, which date from 1906, are taken from his Twenty Four Negro Melodies, for piano, which was the result of one of his many trips to the United States. He selected five of his favorites and, in the same year set them for piano trio. Four of the five are Negro spirituals, the fourth is from a southeast African song. The melodies are entitled Sometimes I feel like a motherless child set as a Larghetto, I was way down a yonder, set as an Andante, Didn't my Lord deliver Daniel? set as a Moderato, They will not lend me a child, also an Andante and lastly, My Lord delivered Daniel, an Allegro. Booker T. Washington was so impressed, he wrote the following introduction to the work:
"Using some of the native songs of Africa and the West Indies that came into being in America during the slavery regime, Coleridge-Taylor has in handling these melodies preserved their distinctive traits and individuality, at the same time giving them an art form fully imbued with their essential spirit."
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) was born in London, the product of a mixed race marriage, his father, a doctor, being an African from Sierra Leone and his mother a white Englishwoman. His father returned to Africa when he was a small boy and he was brought up by his mother in Croydon. His musical talent showed itself early and he was admitted to study the violin at the Royal College of Music where he eventually concentrated on composition when his gifts were ascertained. His teacher was the renowned composer, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. He and his compositions gained considerable fame during his lifetime. His oratorio Hiawatha's Wedding Feast for a time became as popular as Handel's Messiah and Mendelssohn's Elijah. He made several visits to the United States because of his interest in American Negro cultural life. His famous was such that on one visit he was invited to the White House by Theodore Roosevelt.
The Five Negro Melodies when they first appeared where each sold as separate works and never published together as a whole, no doubt to increase profits for the publisher. Nonetheless, Coleridge-Taylor regard them as a unified work and we have for the first time published all five melodies as one work. The work is beautifully set and deserves to be heard in concert and will also be highly attractive to amateur players. Long out of print, we are pleased to make it available once again.