Tone Poem Tuesday

Some chamber music today, by the great Black composer Florence Price, whose work keeps rising in acclaim these days. I’ve featured Price’s music before in this space, and I plan to continue doing so! Her work, blending European classical forms and idioms with Black spirituals and folk-songs, is always fascinating.

In this case, we have Price’s Piano Quintet in A minor. In this piece the echoes of Black music stand out to great effect, not just in the melodies but in the harmonies and the rhythms, which are almost jazzy in their use of syncopations and resolutions that happen on the off-beats. The work is in four movements that share interconnected thematic material, giving the entire work a cohesion that would make any composer proud. The piece abounds in dance-like rhythms and excellent writing for strings and piano. I love that Florence Price is having a cultural moment. Her work deeply deserves it.

Here is the Piano Quintet in A minor by Florence Price.

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