Tone Poem Tuesday

I’ve featured the music of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) before, and with good reason: he was a fine composer whose work deserves to be better known. Coleridge-Taylor was a British composer of mixed race (a white mother and a Creole father). As a British composer living when he did, Coleridge-Taylor composed in the style of late Romanticism, and his work–full of dense orchestrations and dramatic mood-shifts–anticipates greater English masters like Edward Elgar and Arthur Bax. Coleridge-Taylor unfortunately died of pneumonia when he was only 37, yet another voice whose works of comparative youth tantalize at the depths that might have been plumbed in later years if not for illness.

This work, the Ballade in A minor for orchestra, was commissioned for a choral festival at the urging of none other than Elgar himself, who saw the young composer’s talent. The Ballade is an energetic and lyrical work of late Romantic warmth.
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