of Dutton Epoch
Variations in b minor for Cello & Piano (1905)
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 fame was such that on one visit he was invited to the White House by Theodore Roosevelt.
The Variations though composed in 1905 were not published until 1918 as they were lost for several years. Here Coleridge-Taylor's compositional skills are readily on display as he takes an ordinary theme and creates a set of brilliant and highly appealing variations. Essentially, there are four self-contained movements, (Allegro, Allegro, Larghetto and Vivace) each with a different mood. Our soundbite presents about a quarter of the work.
Out of print for many years, this fine work, as substantial as a concerto, will make a brilliant recital piece for both professionals and amateurs.