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Black Classical Music: The Forgotten History

  • 2020
  • Documentary and factual
  • News and current affairs

Summary

Lenny Henry and Suzy Klein celebrate black classical composers and musicians across the centuries whose stories and music have been forgotten

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Review

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), best known for Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast, may pop into the mind, otherwise there’s a woefully short list of classical composers who were black or of African heritage. Their work has been neglected over the centuries and deserves a wider audience.
Digging into this hidden history are Suzy Klein and Sir Lenny Henry. Among their touchstones are Florence Price (1887-1953), the first African-American woman to compose symphonies, and Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-99), who was the son of a slave and a plantation owner and rose high in Parisian society as an opera composer.
The ethnically diverse Chineke! Orchestra perform some of their pieces, while Suzy and Sir Lenny have fun with an 18th-century minuet by Ignatius Sancho and Scott Joplin’s ragtime classic Maple Leaf Rag.

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Credits

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rolename
PresenterLenny Henry
PresenterSuzy Klein
UnknownAngela Ferreira
UnknownLiz Hartford
ProducerGuy Evans

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