SOMM Recordings is thrilled to announce African Pianism, a revelatory collection of music by seven African composers. Released to coincide with Black History Month in the United States, it marks the label’s solo debut of Nigerian-Romanian pianist Rebeca Omordia.
First recordings include three haunting Nocturnes and percussion- enhanced En attente du printemps by Moroccan, Nabil Benabdeljalil. And Five Kaleidoscopes for Piano by Ghanaian-born to Nigerian parents, Fred Onovwerosuoke, best known for Bolingo, featured in the 2006 Robert de Niro film, The Good Shepherd. They evocatively reference a beehive, love of homeland, Nubian folklore and the elemental power of Nature.
African Pianism takes its title from Ghanaian J.H. Kwabena Nketia’s set of Twelve Pedagogical Pieces, richly influenced by the rhythmic, tonal accent of African percussion music. Ayo Bankole’s Egun Variations, remarks Robert Matthew-Walker in his booklet notes, “skilfully melds… Nigerian musical language within a European G major tonal structure”.
Fellow Nigerians Christian Onyeji and Akin Euba also interrogate African drumming technique to brilliant effect in the former’s Ufie (Igbo Dance), the latter’s Three Yoruba Songs Without Words celebrating indigenous song. David Earl’s ‘Princess Rainbow’, from his autobiographical Scenes from a South African Childhood, is a touching memory of fly-fishing with his father.
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 London, part of Wigmore Hall’s Family of Partners. The 2022 series launches at London’s Africa Centre on January 25.
Rebeca’s previous SOMM release, The Piano Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams (SOMMCD 0164), was hailed by MusicWeb International as “spellbinding music”. Gramophone declared her collaboration with Mark Bebbington “a classy anthology… [both] finding a unremitting logic, sweep and concentration that thrill to the marrow”.
On This Recording
- Egun Variations in G major
- Play Time
- Dagarti Work Song
- Builsa Work Song
- Volta Fantasy
- I. Moderately fast
- II. Slow
- III. Fast
- I. With vigor
- II. Adagio molto parlando
- III Larghetto espressivo
- IV. Lentissimo e languendo
- V. Vivace con brio
- II. Princess Rainbow
- Nocturne IV*
- Nocturne V*
- Nocturne VI*
- En attente du printempsa*
- Ore Meta (Three Years)a
- Mo Ja’we Gbegbe (I pluck the leaf of remembrance)
- L’ori Oke ati petele (On the hill, on the plain)
Ayo Bankole (1935-1976)
J.H. Kwabena Nketia (1921-2019) — African Pianism — Twelve Pedagogical Pieces
Christian Onyeji (b.1967) — Ufie (Igbo Dance)
Fred Onovwerosuoke (b.1960) — Five Kaleidoscopes for Piano*
David Earl (b.1951) — Scenes from a South African Childhood
Nabil Benabdeljalil (b.1972)
Akin Euba (1935-2020) — Three Yoruba Songs Without Words