Six of the best works by Florence Price
We choose some of the finest works by the inspiring African-American symphonist who fought racial prejudice to become one of America’s best composers
1) Symphony No. 1 (1931-2)
This substantial piece, which brought Price acclaim, is peppered with spiritual melodies and includes a third movement ‘Juba dance’, instead of a minuet and trio or scherzo.
2) Piano Concerto (1930)
Reconstructed by Trevor Piston, this one-movement work features an intricate and challenging piano part, suggesting that Price was
a formidable player.
3) Symphony No. 3 (1940)
Symphony No. 2 is lost, but No. 3 in C Minor is a mature and consummate work after the youthful First Symphony and contains lush orchestration and rich melodic framing.
4) Violin Concerto No. 2 (1952)
Price’s rich, lyrical style is in evidence in her two violin concertos. She completed the First in 1939 and the Second, a single-movement work, in 1952. Its melodic lines strongly reflect her American South heritage.
5) Adoration for Organ (1951)
Price’s early work included pieces for piano and organ. She earned her living in the 1930s and 1940s playing the organ at church and film screenings. Her organ works are quite demanding.
6) I am Bound for the Kingdom (arr. 1937)
This was the song that got Price noticed by mass audiences when it was championed and recorded by contralto Marian Anderson (right) who herself won fame at her landmark 1939 Lincoln Memorial concert.
Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.