Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Orchestral Works Back in Print

The re-release of this album comes at a fortuitous time. This collection of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s orchestral music came out in 1995. It was (and is) part of an ongoing series of British light orchestral music. And as such, it fills the bill quite nicely.

But in 2022, there’s a real desire for classical music from composers of color. And this release also fills that bill quite nicely, too. Coleridge-Taylor’s parents were a Sierre Leone Creole and a white English woman.

When the couple separated, Coleridge-Taylor remained with his mother in Britain.  He attended the Royal Academy of Music and studied with Charles Villiers Stanford.

Stanford would later conduct the premiere of his career-making “Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast.” This release includes two suites taken from his Hiawatha trilogy. Both were popular concert fare in pre-WWI Britain.

Also included are three other suites, all perfect for the Proms. Coleridge-Taylor had a gift for melody. These works are in the late-Romantic British tradition. But they never resort to the sentimentality Victorian music sometimes lapses into.

The original release was recorded in 1993. I don’t think anything’s been done to update the sound. But it doesn’t need it. There’s a little bit of a soft focus to the ensemble sound, but it still works.

It’s good to have this release back in print. Especially at a time when audiences are looking for music by composers of color. Coleridge-Taylor wore music of substance. But he also wrote music that appealed to the ear.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Hiawatha Overture
Petite Suite; Gipsy Suite; Othello Suite; Four Characteristic Waltzes
British Light Music, Vol. 5
RTÉ Concert Orchestra; Adrian Leaper, conductor
Naxos 8.55191

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Become a Sponsor

Underwriting WTJU is a way to broadly share information about your business. It’s also a way for your business or organization to gain community-wide recognition for your support of WTJU’s community mission.

Underwrite a Program


Your gift nourishes our community and helps bring people together through music.

Underwrite a Program