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<<  -- 4 --  Howard Smith    A CURIOUS RECITAL

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From 1937-1942 Dett was Visiting Director of Music at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina and with this chorus, he toured across Canada and the United States as well as broadcasting on CBS. Dett composed and arranged collections of spirituals including Religious Folksongs of the Negro (1927) and The Dett Collections of Negro Spirituals (1936), winning a Holstein Prize for his work as a composer.

His most popular work for piano, In the bottoms (1913), premièred in Chicago by Fanny Bloomfield-Zeisler is recorded by Roger Rundle (MP3), Clipper Erikson (DTR Records), Denver Oldham (World Records) and Ghanian William H Chapman Nyaho ('Senku: Piano Music by Composers of African Descent', Musicians Showcase Recordings, 2003). Percy Grainger recorded the 'Juba' from In the Bottoms during this period at Harvard.

Other works include

  • Music in the Mine [1916] -- a choral work.
  • The Chariot Jubileee [1921] -- for tenor, chorus and orchestra.
  • The Enchantment [1922]
  • The Cinnamon Grove [1928]

Calistus-Ashley tackles Dett's folksy suite in pleasing idiomatic fashion; with verve and sensitivity [listen -- track 18, 0:01-0:45].

Moreover his central bracket -- the two Schubert 'impromptus' -- is delivered with a nicely-judged lyrical line. The one drawback: a good few other virtuosi play these pieces with a greater, surpassing level of pianistic artistry.

Copyright © 1 October 2006 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand

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From Alfred Newman Recital Hall - Paul Calistus-Ashley, piano

QCD 301 DDD Stereo FIRST RELEASE 51'36" 2002 Sound Revelation Production

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963): Les Soirées de Nazelles (1930-36) (Préamble; Cadence; Variations: I Le comble de la distinction; II Le coeur sur le main; III La désinvolture et la discrétion; IV La suite dans les idées; V Le charme enjôleur; VI Le contentement de soi; VII Le goût du malheur; VIII L'alerte vieillesse; Cadence; Final); Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Two Impromptus from D899: No 3 in G flat; No 4 in A flat; R Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943): Suite: 'In the Bottoms' (1913) (Prelude (Night); His Song; Honey (Humoresque); Barcarolle (Morning); Dance (Juba))

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ROBERT NATHANIEL DETT

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