Florence Price: Scenes in Tin Can Alley

Florence Price: Scenes in Tin Can Alley—Josh Tatsuo Cullen, piano (Blue Griffin 615)

To say the music of Florence Price is enjoying a renaissance is to understate the facts.  Her music has found champions from the Philadelphia Orchestra to the Catalyst Quartet to pianist Lara Downes, and many other classical musicians.  The 2009 discovery of a trove of manuscripts in the African-American composer’s abandoned summer home has helped generate renewed interest in her life and work. Josh Tatsuo Cullen’s collection of her evocatively-titled music for solo piano—released this month—is all taken from that 2009 discovery.  The album includes the first commercial recording of Price’s Thumbnail Sketches of a Day in the Life of a Washerwoman, Village Scenes, Three Minatures Portraits of Uncle Ned, and the suite that gives the CD its title.  Of the 20 tracks in this program, WCLV’s library previously contained only a stand-alone piece called Cotton Dance.  Pianist Cullen wrote the liner notes: “I chose these works not only because they deserve to be heard, but because they spoke to me as an artist.  As a person of mixed Japanese and European descent, I feel a strong connection to Price’s desire to honor and elevate the marginalized people of her own mixed-race heritage.”

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