083: Coleridge-Taylor – new biographies, 2011 and 2012

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a Musical Life

Jeffrey Green

Hb: c.256pp: June 2011
978 1 84893 161 9: 234x156mm: £60.00/$99.00
978 1 84893 162 6
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875–1912) was one of Britain’s most popular and acclaimed composers. The illegitimate child of an African doctor, Coleridge-Taylor managed to escape his humble roots by studying composition at the Royal College of Music, where he won a scholarship in 1893. Though he composed mainly for piano and violin, his Song of Hiawatha was performed nationwide for choir and orchestra to great critical acclaim. He died from pneumonia at the age of thirty-seven.

Green’s study is more than a biography of an Anglo-African composer. Using a wide range of public and private records, this extensively-researched work becomes a social history based around an artist who lived at the height of British imperialism. This was an era marked by widespread racism and conservative attitudes, and yet Coleridge-Taylor became a distinguished member of British society. The first comprehensive study of Coleridge-Taylor’s life for almost a century, it reveals how class-ridden Britain could embrace even the most unlikely of cultural icons.

Theatre Studies, Musicology and Social History

The above is the outline from publishers Pickering and Chatto (London).

The American Choice magazine reported that ‘one comes away from this study with a new sense of the composer, his colleagues and supporters, and the social and political environment in which he lived. Recommended’.

In June 2012 a 34 page pamphlet with 22 illustrations, Coleridge-Taylor. A Centenary Celebration was published by History & Social Action Publication. See http://www.historysocialaction.co.uk for details – this costs £4 plus postage. This book has been republished.


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