Samantha Ege is a British pianist currently completing a PhD, which focusses on Florence Price (1887-1953), the first African-American female composer to have a work played by a major orchestra – her Symphony in E Minor by the Chicago Symphony in 1933. Four Women features works by four impeccably selected 20th-century female composers, opening with Price’s Piano Sonata in A Minor (1932), a stirring work that melds a melodic Romanticism with spirituals in a manner reminiscent of her contemporary, Charles Ives.
Long-overdue recognition for Price has gathered momentum in recent years, and this collection concludes with Troubled Water (1967) by her dear friend Margaret Bonds (1913-1972), a deeply contemplative work structured around the spiritual Wade in the Water. Also included is the world premiere recording of Birthday Party (1918), a suite of six piano miniatures by English composer Ethel ‘Billie’ Bilsland (1892-1982).
Víteˇzslava Kaprálová (1915-1940) carved an impressive path as a acclaimed composer and conductor, rubbing shoulders with Czech musical royalty before tragically dying of tuberculosis at 25. Her Sonata Appassionata (1933) and April Preludes (1937) are captivating, harmonically rich modernist works that, like the rest of this most impressive collection, are performed with virtuosic assurance and deserving of far greater recognition than they have thus far received.