Ashley’s solo harp transcription of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s arrangement of the African American spiritual, Deep River
For pedal harp, large chords, arpeggiated, and pedal changes.
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was born in 1875 in London. His mother was English and his father was Sierra Leone Creole. Also known as Krio people, Sierra Leone Creoles are descendants of freed slaves who settled in the Western Area of Sierra Leone for a period of about 100 years starting in 1787. His mother’s name was Alice Hare Martin (1856–1953), and his father was Daniel Peter Hughes Taylor. Taylor returned to Africa and became a prominent administrator there. Alice remained in England, named her son Samuel Coleridge Taylor after the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and lived with her father, who was a skilled farrier. He also played the violin and taught it to young Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Additionally, he paid for his grandson’s education at the Royal College of Music, where he studied violin and then composition. For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor died at the young age of 37 from pneumonia. It is surmised that he had a weakened immune system do to the stress of his financial situation. In those days, many artists did not know how to collect royalties for their created artworks. After Coleridge-Taylor’s death in 1912, musicians formed the Performing Rights Society, an effort to gain revenues for musicians through performance as well as publication and distribution of music.
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor had a very busy career, and around 1910 was called “the African Mahler” by white New York orchestral musicians.