When an important composer's papers, including dozens of her best works, are lost and then later found, an entire cottage industry must necessarily grow up around bringing these works to life. Thankfully, the University of Arkansas has begun to create exactly that, and many of Price's works are seeing their very first performances and recordings. For instance, her fourth symphony received its world premiere just two weeks ago.  

Last month, I posted a general resource roundup of the music of Florence Price. This month, I'll narrow the focus down to just a listing of her symphonic works with notes on each as to their current status. I have listed the symphonies, concertos and other works, and have endeavored to provide information about composition date, premiere, awards, movements, and duration, as available.

I suspect that a large amount of additional information will become available over the coming months and years and I will continue to update this guide to reflect new insights as they become available, not to mention recordings, published scores, and other research. If you are reading this and have additional information you think I should add, please contact me.

 

Symphonies

Symphony No. 1 in E Minor

Composed: 1931-1933

Premiered: 1933, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Frederick Stock

Awards: 1932, First Prize, Rodman Wanamaker Competition

Movements:
I. Allegro [ma] non troppo
II. Largo, maestoso
III. Juba Dance
IV. Finale

Recordings: Albany TROY1295

Sources: 1234

 

Symphony No. 2 in G Minor

Florence Price's second symphony is incomplete and/or lost. However, there are some signs that the Fort Smith Symphony, the University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections, and Naxos International are working together to restore, perform, and record this Symphony.

Sources: 1 2 • 3

 

Symphony No. 3 in C Minor

Composed: 1938-1940

Premiered: 1940, Detroit Civic Orchestra, Valter Poole.

Movements:
I. Andante; Allegro
II. Andante ma non troppo
III. Juba: Allegro
IV. Scherzo. Finale

Sources: 1 2 3

 

Symphony No. 4 in D Minor

Composed: 1945

Premiered: May 2018, Fort Smith Symphony, John Jeter

Engraving and Editing by Miho Sasaki.

Sources: 1 2 3

 

 

Concertos

 

Violin Concerto No. 1 in D M

Composed: 1939

Premiered: 2018, Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, Er-Gene Kahng (violin), Ryan Cockerham (conductor).

Recordings: See Albany TROY1706, right.

Movements:
I. Tempo moderato
II. Andante
III. Allegro

Sources: 12

 

Violin Concerto No. 2 in d mi

 Original violin 2 part for Price's Violin Concerto No. 2.

Original violin 2 part for Price's Violin Concerto No. 2.

Composed: 1952

Premiered: Minnie Cedargreen Jemberg (Piano-only, posthumous). 2018, Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, Er-Gene Kahng (violin), Ryan Cockerham (conductor).

Recordings: See Albany TROY1706, right.

Sources: 12 • 3

 

 

Piano Concerto in One Movement

Composed: 1932-34

Premiered: 1934, Chicago; 2011; Chicago (Reconstructed Score. Source.), Florence Price (Piano).

Awards: 1932, Honorable Mention, Rodman Wanamaker Competition

Recordings: See above, under Symphony No. 1. Karen Walwyn (Piano), New Black Music Repertory Ensemble of Columbia College, Chicago, Leslie B. Dunner (Conductor)

Sources: 123 •  4

 

Other Symphonic Works

Ethiopia's Shadow in America

Composed: 1929-1932

Premiered: First known performance in 2015, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Daniel Blendulf

Awards: 1932, Honorable Mention, Rodman Wanamaker Competition

Movements:
I. Introduction and Allegretto
II. Andante: "His Resignation and Faith"
III. Allegro: "His Adaptation. A fusion of his native and acquired impulses."

Sources: 12

 

Mississippi River Suite

Composed: 1934

Premiered:

Duration: 28 minutes.

Dedication: Arthur Olaf Anderson

Notes: Solo instrument voices play quotations of “Get Down, Moses” or “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” that fade in and out of listening range as if on the banks of the shore. (Ricky O’Bannon). Also contains "Deep River".

Sources: 12

 

The Oak

Composed: 1943

Recordings: Women's Philharmonic

Score: IMSLP

Notes: Discovered in the Eastman School of Music’s Sibley Music Library and might have never been performed during her lifetime.

Sources: 12 • 3

 

Additional Works

Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight 

Lyrics by Vachel Lindsay

Chicago Suite

Colonial Dance

Concert Overture No. 1

Concert Overture No. 2

Dances in the Canebrakes (1953)

Originally for Piano. Orchestrated by William Grant Still. Ed. Michael Kibbe.

Every Dream

Lyrics by Sal Janeway Carroll and Florence Price.

My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord

Arranged for contralto and orchestra by Florence B. Price.

Overture: "Sinner please don't let this harvest pass"

Three Negro Dances

Originally for Piano. Arranged for Orchestra. Arranged for Band by Erik Leidzen in 1939.

 


Related Posts

 

Scores for Sale

It's hard to believe, but below are the only two well-known mainstream publications containing Price's music at this time. My hope is that in time, this section will balloon to a list of dozens as interest in her music flowers and flourishes. Note Price's consistent interest in the key of E Minor, something that some scholars believe has to do with her interest in Dvorak's ninth symphony, also in E Minor. 

Upcoming Performances

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