Skip to Main Content

David Dalle
Thursday February 8th, 2024 with David Dalle
Black History Month: the symphonies of Florence Price; new music from Mali; African Cup of Nations finalists.

Today we will start a cycle of Florence Price's symphonies. Florence Price composed four symphonies and almost 300 works, including concertos, orchestral works, songs, and pieces for solo instruments. Price was born in 1887 in Arkansas and was taught music by her mother. She was a prodigious music student, performing piano at the age of 4 and composing by the age of 10. After high school, she attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. She ended up in Chicago as part of the Great Migration north in the late 1920's. She continued her studies in instrumentation, composition, and organ, as well as other studies. In the 1930's she began achieving success as a composer, and her first symphony, composed in 1931-32, won a prize. It was premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933, becoming the first major orchestral work by a Black American woman performed by a major orchestra. This work is in a traditional Romantic idiom with four movements, and it was heavily indebted to Dvorak's 9th symphony which shares the same e minor key. Dvorak's famous work was composed in 1893 while he was director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City. He had become familiar with Black American Spirituals from a Black student at the conservatory, the composer Harry Burleigh, who sang these Spirituals to him. Dvorak was convinced the true American school of music would come out of this Black tradition. He was also influenced by Native American music, which he found similar to Black American music, most likely in shared pentatonic scales. All these elements were developed in Dvorak's 9th symphony, and they are also present in Price's symphony. However, Price did add her own unique voice, such as the third movement (in all her symphonies) was a Juba, based on a West African dance with body and hand clapping, which was brought over during the trans-Atlantic slave trade and practiced on plantations. Price was well regarded, especially in Chicago, but she died in 1953 and her music fell into total obscurity. Many of her compositions, including her fourth symphony, were only discovered in 2009 in an old house in Illinois which Price had used as a summer home. Saved from oblivion, her rich quintessentially American symphonies are worthy of standing alongside those of other canonic American composers such as Aaron Copland.
Symphony No. 1 in e minor
Florence Price/Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nezet-Seguin - Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 - Deutsche Grammophon
The second half of the show will be another all-African set, based around two recent releases from Mali on Sahel Sounds. Malian singer Namian Sidibé has a wonderful intimate acoustic album with just her lovely voice accompanied by her cousin Jules Diabaté on acoustic guitar singing praise songs recorded in her own home. Malian guitarist Bounaly hails from the town of Niafunké, Ali Farka Touré's hometown. His uncle is singer and guitarist Afel Bocoum, who was a protogé of Ali Farka. Bounaly's new album "Dimanche à Bamako" was recorded live in location at a Bamako wedding. It is very high energy with absolutely incredible shredding guitar with great drums and vocals. Ca va chauffer!

I have also been following the Africa Cup of Nations, Africa's top level tournament in soccer held every two years. There were a lot of upsets and the final takes place this Sunday afternoon (3pm EST) with hosts Ivory Coast facing Nigeria. We will hear some music from both countries in this set.
Wato To
Bounaly - Dimanche à Bamako - Sahel Sounds New
Ma Chérie
Bounaly - Dimanche à Bamako - Sahel Sounds New
Touré Iseye
Bounaly - Dimanche à Bamako - Sahel Sounds New
Yelemba d'Abidjan - Percussions et chants de Cote D'Ivoire - Buda
King Wasiu Ayinde Marhshal I - Talazo Fuji Music Party! - Realworld
Ero Ya
Fatai Rolling Dollar - Papa rise again - Ekostar
Namian Sidibe - Namian Sidibe - Sahel Sounds
Namian Sidibe - Namian Sidibe - Sahel Sounds
Namian Sidibe - Namian Sidibe - Sahel Sounds
Namian Sidibe - Namian Sidibe - Sahel Sounds
Mali Mussow
Bounaly - Dimanche à Bamako - Sahel Sounds New
Bounaly - Dimanche à Bamako - Sahel Sounds New
Interactive CKCU
Bobby Calzone
Absolutely gorgeous piece of music!

2:56 PM, February 8th, 2024
David Dalle (host)
Glad you enjoyed it!

2:59 PM, February 8th, 2024