Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Samuel Coleridge Taylor + update

January 2015  
For an interesting investigation of SCT's musical identity see this piece
THE IMAGINARY AFRICAN: MUSIC, IDENTITY, AND RACE  by  Nicholas Cook, 1684 Professor of Music, University of Cambridge and British Academy Wolfson Research Professor,  accessed via SCT network  Newsletter no.38 issued by Sean Creighton .  There may be a simpler route, check out with sean.creighton1947@btinternet.com 

COMPOSER Samuel Coleridge-Taylor died of pneumonia  100 years ago this summer  - 2012 was apparently very wet and cold too.  He was only 37 and although already a musical celebrity it was probably too early for a formal portrait so this small, gravely observed head study is the only painting of him.  When he was about seven,  he was asked to pose for a group of artists in Croydon, where he lived.  He must have impressed them with his self-possession.  He seems to have been one whose talents drove achievement without egotism; despite his very modest background he appears never to have doubted his life's work.

Right at the other end of his life, just a few weeks before his death, he sat to the rising photographer Emil Hoppe, who this year created striking portraits of many figures in the arts world  who were making names for themselves, including Marinetti, the visiting Futurist and poseur, and Karsavina, star of the Ballets Russes.  Coleridge-Taylor was still pushing forward, with a completed but as yet unstaged opera, and an orchestral work due for performance at the Proms (then held in the autumn).  With Hello Ragtime and Stravinsky both on the stage, and Post-Impressionists  and Fauvistes in the galleries, it was a moment of extraordinary cultural dynamism to which had he lived  Coleridge-Taylor would have made a unique contribution.  African themes and Gospel music were among his inspirations.

Both these works feature in a display at the NPG [Room 29] to mark the centenary.    Other items include a newspaper double-spread featuring contemporary musical generations - the elders including Stanford, Parry and Elgar, the youngsters  including  Coleridge-Taylor and Ethel Smyth - though not Vaughan Williams or Gustav Holst , both fellow students of Coleridge-Taylor at the RCM,  but who had yet to become known.   

 Sadly, the display is silent, but there are many opportunities to hear the music this season : check out

PS  view of  display:

1 comment:

  1. A week ago we went on a walk around Croydon to mark the September 1 centenary of SC-T's death. Short report at: http://sct100pmcollective.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/coleridge-taylor-death-centenary.html

    2 upcoming Rembering Samuel Coleridge-Taylor events in London can be found at: http://sct100pmcollective.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/remembering-samuel-coleridge-taylor.html