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 a 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.
"Three Short Pieces" were published by Novello in 1898 as No. 69 in their "Original Compositions" (New Series).
I think my favorite of the set is "Melody." It turns out that I had recorded this several years ago. At the time it was the only one that I did, as it was the only one that I had the music for. :-)
Once again, the colors and emotion is high, but all of it in a very "understated" manner. The work gives opportunity for some semi-orchestral effects, and I admit that I could not resist doing a few of them!
They probably "enhance" the outcome, but I think this would be every bit as successful if I had done it "straighter" and with less detailing.
The score is attached below, as well as several photos of Samuel-Coleridge Taylor, one of an autographed card, and one of mourners laying a wreath upon his grave.