First page of the manuscript for Price’s Symphony No. 4

Hot on the heels of the Schirmer acquisition of the complete Price catalogue, Schirmer has now added Price’s fourth and final symphony to its list of works available for rental. As recently as November, this score was not yet available. I commmunicated with conductor John Jeter (who gave the world premiere of this work in May of 2018) and composer Miho Sasaki (who engraved and edited) via email regarding questions about its availability. They anticipated perhaps a year or longer until this might become available, making this rapid update by Schirmer a welcome surprise.

A perusal score is now available via Schirmer’s ISSUU account, embedded below. 

Meanwhile, the premiere recording of this work will be released on the Naxos label on January 11, 2019. The Ft. Smith Symphony performs under the leadership of Maestro John Jeter. Click the following links look at the back cover and the liner notes by Price scholar Douglas Shadle. Shadle offers some information about the composition of this final symphonic work:

Cover art for the upcoming recording of Price’s 1st and 4th Symphonies.

 ”The circumstances surrounding the composition of her Fourth Symphony, which is featured on this recording, are opaque, for it remained unperformed during her lifetime and no evidence suggests that she wrote it for a contest. Price faced health complications during the 1940s and 1950s that might have prevented her from pursuing a performance as actively as she might have otherwise. In the months leading up to her sudden death, she was preparing for opportunities abroad and might have attempted to secure a premiere overseas had she been able to complete the journey.”

Price thus joins the pantheon of symphonists who did not have the opportunity to hear their latest and finest orchestral works performed in their lifetimes. Fortunately, the world will get to experience Price’s final statement in the form in the new year. Thanks to Schirmer’s rapid movements, we will be able to do so with score in hand.

UPDATE (1-11-19): The new recording mentioned above has now been released. Click below for more information:

Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4
By Fort Smith Symphony

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Jordan Randall Smith is the Music Director of Symphony Number One.