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African Pianism, Volume Two

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Label:
Catalogue No: SOMMCD 0688
Release Date: 2024-07-19
Number of Discs: 1
EAN/UPC: 748871068827
Artists:
Composers: , , , , , , ,
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Liner Notes
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SOMM Recordings is thrilled to announce African Pianism, Volume 2, a new instalment in a collection of piano music by African composers.

Following suit from her critically acclaimed first African Pianism album, Rebeca Omordia brings us a fascinating programme with no less than 8 First Recordings. Among these is the 4th in a selection of three Studies in African Pianism by Akin Euba, a Nigerian composer who makes a return on this second volume and whose “African Pianism” style, inspired by the research of Ghanaian composer J.H. Kwabena Nketia (see vol.1), shares its name with this outstanding series as a whole.

Ethiopian concert pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa’s Elilta (Cry of Joy) is painted in evocative liner notes by Robert Matthew-Walker as an outward looking piece of no little technical challenge and described as “a celebration of happiness” by Swiss musicologist Louis Bernard.

The music of Algerian composer Salim Dada attempts to be a means by which a natural message of peace and dialogue may exist between the Arab-Muslim world and European civilisation. His five Miniatures Algériennes fully display the composer’s natural command of the modern-day post-Impressionist school.

Moroccan composer Nabil Benabdeljalil, like Akin Euba, makes a second appearance in this series with a new set of four pieces including 3 first recordings. His creative aim is “to rediscover the poetic essence of musical expression, ignoring ‘historical necessities’ with implied prohibitions and orientations … free from the constraints of a specific age or era.”

Soweto native Mokale Koapeng’s Prelude in D flat is infused with African dance elements he grew up listening to and witnessing in various townships and uses the interlocking technique of idiophones. Fellow South African Grant McLachlan contributes his arrangement for solo piano of the anti-apartheid protest song “Senzeni Na?”, which begins “What have we done? Is our sin that we are black?”.

Fela Sowande, a Nigerian composer of the previous century, figures on the programme with hauntingly original “K’A Mura” from 2 Preludes on Yoruba Sacred Folk Melodies. Also representing the first half of the 20th century is celebrated African American composer Florence Price in her luxuriantly pianistic Fantasie nègre, based on the spiritual “Don’t Let this Harvest Pass”.

Hailed as an “African classical music pioneer” (BBC World Service) and “a classical music game changer” (Classical Music), award-winning pianist Rebeca Omordia is an exciting virtuoso with a wide-ranging career as soloist, chamber musician and recording artist. She is artistic director of the African Concert Series, in residence at London’s Wigmore Hall.

On This Recording

Girma Yifrashewa (b. 1967)
  1. Elilta – Cry of Joy (7:11)
Salim Dada (b. 1975)
Miniatures Algériennes*
  1. I. Aurore de Djurdjura (3:32)
  2. II. Danse Zaydan (3:40)
  3. III. Crépuscule sur la baie d’Alger (3:45)
  4. IV. Danse de la Jument (1:44)
  5. V. Soirée au Hoggar (4:14)
Nabil Benabdeljalil (b. 1972)
  1. Prélude I: Magic Morning* (3:27)
  2. Prélude II: Mirage et lumière* (1:44)
  3. Romance sans paroles* (3:35)
  4. Frisson de la Nuit (9:03)
Mokale Koapeng (b. 1963)
  1. Prelude in D-Flat (2:07)
Trad. arr. Grant McLachlan (b. 1956)
  1. Senzeni Na? (3:02)
Fela Sowande (1905–1987)
2 Preludes on Yoruba Sacred Folk Melodies
  1. No. 1, “K’A Mura” (5:18)
Florence Price 
  1. Fantasie Nègre in E Minor
Akin Euba (1935–2020)
Wakar Duru: Studies in African Pianism
  1. Study in African Pianism No. 4* (4:28)
  2. Study in African Pianism No. 1 (4:54)
  3. Study in African Pianism No. 2 (5:48)
*First Recordings
Rebeca Omordia, piano