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F Price: Piano Works

Kirsten Johnson (piano) (Guild)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

F Price
Piano Sonata in E minor; Preludes; Ticklin’ Toes; A Day in the Life of a Washerwoman, etc
Kirsten Johnson (piano)
Guild GM2CD7828   145:55 mins (2 discs)


The revival of Florence Price’s music continues apace with this two-disc set from pianist Kirsten Johnson, who has already done pioneering work recording Amy Beach’s complete piano music. This new set, while not comprehensive, includes no fewer than 34 premieres – for that reason alone, it’s worth hearing. Johnson is an engaging guide throughout.

Most of the pieces are programmatic miniatures, save the group of five Preludes and the Sonata in E minor, the piece which won Price first prize in the piano category of the Wanamaker music contest in 1932, the same year her Symphony in E minor scooped the top $500 prize. In her music, Price blends African-American folk melodies with European Romanticism, finding new life in both. Herself a first-rate pianist and organist, studying at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Price’s music sounds entirely idiomatic. Influences range from Brahms to ragtime, Mendelssohn to whole-tone impressionism. There’s humour and a nod to her work as a piano teacher in ‘Practice Time’, while the natural world inspired works such as ‘Evening Shade’ and On a Quiet Lake. And In the Land O’Cotton and A Day in the Life of a Washerwoman, Price reflects on life in the Southern USA that she left as Jim Crow’s segregation laws came into force.

Rebecca Franks

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