Blues Dialogues: Music by Black Composers

Blues Dialogues: Music by Black Composers—Rachel Barton Pine, violin; Matthew Hagle, piano (Cedille 182)

One of our favorite violinists, Rachel Barton Pine, is back with an album of blues-influenced classical works for solo violin and for violin and piano by 20th and 21st century composers of African descent.  World-premiere recordings include Noel Da Costa’s A Set of Dance Tunes for Solo Violin, based on American fiddle tunes, and Errollyn Wallen’s Woogie Boogie, an inventive reimaging of the boogie woogie blues dance.  Another premiere is Wendall Logan’s arrangement of Duke Ellington’s In a Sentimental Mood.  The album’s title track, Dolores White’s improvisational Blues Dialogues, draws on classical, jazz, and country music, as well as African-American vocalizations.  David N. Baker’s gospel-tinged Blues (Deliver My Soul) evokes the ecstatic energy of a Black church service.  Charles S. Brown’s A Song Without Words was inspired by bottleneck guitar player and gospel blues master Blind Willie Johnson.  Each movement of William Grant Still’s Suite for Violin and Piano evokes the work of a different African-American visual artist.  Clarence Cameron White’s Levee Dance, a favorite of Jascha Heifetz, surrounds a traditional African-American spiritual with a playful, syncopated dance.  Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s Louisiana Blues Strut befits a composer with a legacy of achievements in the classical, jazz, modern dance, and pop music worlds.


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