Home page
Back to this CD
CD index


Music by African-American Women

"Good music that has been overlooked and underrepresented in the traditional repertory." Notes (Journal of the Music Library Association) "A mother-and-son team who give this music everything they've got ...The recording is a worthwhile one." American Record Guide.

"Both Walker and Walker-Hill are very accomplished musicians and their performances here are very convincing...The high technical proficiency of the musicians and of the CD itself sets a standard matched by few other recordings of this type ... Harmonically, the works are in tonal, atonal, and twelve-tone idioms, and stylistically, the listener is treated to jazz-influenced music, a programmatic piece, two works based on spirituals, and abstract music. Notable is that only six of the fourteen works contain overt references to African American idioms or content. This point speaks directly to the freedom with which these composers have chosen to express themselves...Like the solo violin works, the piano music is impressive...Kaleidoscope is a welcome addition to the relatively small number of recordings of music by African American composers. Its primary significance, however, is that it speaks strongly to the diversity of the African American concert tradition and to the contribution of black women composers throughout the century." American Music.

"I enjoyed this CD from beginning to end! It provides a wide and dazzling array of styles, from lush romanticism to pulsing atonal. The first work, Irene Britton Smith's 1947 Sonata, bowled me over with its haunting lyricism. Negro Dance by Nora Douglas Holt is a wonderful piece of classical ragtime composition that rivals anything I've heard by Joplin. (Holt was the first black in U.S. history to receive a master's degree in music.) Sadly, it is the only piece that survived out of some 200 works which were stolen from storage, and only because it had been published in her short-lived journal Music and Poetry (1921.) Margaret Bonds' Troubled Water is a concert piece incorporating jazz idioms, based on the spiritual "Wade in the Water." Florence Smith Price's Fantasie Negré (1929), inspired by the spiritual "Sinner, Please Don't Let This Harvest Pass" is dedicated to Bonds, and is an ambitious work combining African-American melodic and rhythmic idoms with classical European forms. The works are wonderfully performed by Helen Walker-Hill and her son, Gregory Walker, who have been performing as the Walker Duo since 1983." Gerri Gribi. (Gerri Gribi runs the African-American History and Heritage website www.AfroAmericanHeritage.com and teaches at The University Of Wisconsin.)

"The variety of styles found on this disc ranges from neo-classicism (Smith) to rhapsodic (Bonds) to somewhat avant-garde (Alston). It deserves a place in collections on two accounts: the historical value of the subject and the high musical value of the selections it presents." Jocelyn Mackey, Pan Pipes of Sigma Alpha Iota.

Back to this CD