Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (15 August 1875 – 1 September 1912) was an English composer and conductor who was mixed-race, part Sierra Leone Creole. He achieved such success that he was referred to by white New York musicians as the "African Mahler" at the time when he toured the United States. He was born in 1875 in Holborn, London, to Alice Hare Martin (1856–1953), an English woman, and Dr. Daniel Peter Hughes Taylor, a Creole from Sierra Leone, of mixed European and African descent. His mother named her son Samuel Coleridge Taylor after the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
By 1896, Coleridge-Taylor was already earning a reputation as a composer. He was later helped by Edward Elgar, who recommended him to the Three Choirs Festival. His "Ballade in A minor" was premiered there. His early work was also guided by the influential music editor and critic August Jaeger of music publisher Novello; he told Elgar that Taylor was "a genius". Stanford also was as champion of his music.
Coleridge-Taylor was 37 when he died of pneumonia, but his death is often attributed to the stress of his financial situation.
"Sorrow Song" comes from a set of "Six Sorrow Songs," originally for voice and piano, and based upon poems by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894). The text (of the sung version) is given in the first comment.
The mood is "sadly sweet," but not "morbid," and the "sorrow" is handled with grace and elegance. There is a final "surprise" on the last chords - and it's NOT the 32'! ;-)
The fine transcription was done by Arthur Eaglefield Hull (10 March 1876 – 4 November 1928), English music critic, writer, composer and organist. he graduated with a Doctorate of Music from Oxford University. He lived in Huddersfield in Yorkshire. He was the general editor for the reference work, "A Dictionary of Modern Music and Musicians".
The score is attached below (page 24 (20), as well as several photos of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Eaglefield Hull, as well as one of Christina Rosetti.