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Isata Kanneh-Mason Announces New Album: ‘Summertime’

Pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason explores the musical landscape of 20th century America on her new album ‘Summertime’ released 9 July 2021.

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Isata Kanneh-Mason photo
Pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason. Photo: Decca Classics/Robin Clewley

British pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason explores the musical landscape of 20th century America on her new album Summertime, released 9 July 2021. The recording follows her award-winning debut album Romance, a portrait of Clara Schumann, that topped the UK Classical Chart when it was released in 2019.

“I am delighted to be presenting my second solo album Summertime

Isata Kanneh-Mason said, “I am delighted to be presenting my second solo album Summertime, which features a rich array of pieces from many of my favourite American classical composers. The Barber ‘Piano Sonata’ forms the anchor around which the rest of the album was developed; I fell in love with the piece the first time I heard it, and it’s a real pleasure to have recorded it for Decca. I wanted this album to illustrate the diversity of music in America at that time, and so it was important to me to include the more familiar Gershwin songs, as well as the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor spirituals to which I feel a personal connection.”

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Summertime’s diverse programme is centred around Samuel Barber’s ‘Piano Sonata in E-flat minor’ which was performed by Vladimir Horowitz, one of Isata Kanneh-Mason’s great musical influences, at its premiere in 1949.

Includes a world premiere recording

The album includes a world premiere recording of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s ‘Impromptu No.2 in B Minor’, released 110 years after it was originally published in London, and three of his transcriptions of American spirituals including ‘Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child’, released as the first single today. Coleridge-Taylor was inspired by traditional African-American music and sought to integrate it into the classical tradition in the same way as Brahms did with Hungarian folk music, Dvorak with Bohemian music, and Grieg with Norwegian. Coleridge-Taylor came to England from Sierra Leone, mirroring Isata’s mother’s heritage.

Isata Kanneh-Mason’s new album Summertime also features Earl Wild’s arrangements of George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ and ‘I Got Rhythm’ as well as the composer’s own ‘Three Preludes’ and Percy Grainger’s concert arrangement of Gershwin’s ‘The Man I Love’. Isata has also included Amy Beach’s ‘By the Still Waters’, continuing her celebration of the music by female composers, and Aaron Copland’s ‘The Cat and the Mouse’, premiered a century ago in 1921.

Explore the diverse musical landscape of 20th century America, including classic American music for solo piano alongside the spirituals whose roots run deep in American musical culture, with Isata Kanneh-Mason’s Summertime.

Isata Kanneh-Mason’s new album Summertime will be released on 9 July 2021. Scroll down to read the full tracklisting and pre-order the album here.

The full tracklisting for Summertime is:

Earl Wild: ‘Summertime’ from Grand Fantasy on Porgy and Bess (after G. Gershwin)
Earl Wild: 7 Virtuoso Etudes: 1. ‘I Got Rhythm (after G. Gershwin)’
Samuel Barber: ‘Nocturne, Op. 33’
Samuel Barber: ‘Piano Sonata in E-Flat Minor, Op. 26’
I. Allegro energico
II. Allegro vivace e leggero
III. Adagio mesto
IV. Fuga. Allegro con spirito
George Gershwin: ‘The Man I Love’ (Arr. Grainger)
George Gershwin: ‘3 Preludes’
1. Allegro ben ritmato e deciso
2. Andante con moto e poco rubato
3. Allegro ben ritmato e deciso
Amy Beach: ‘By the Still Waters’, Op. 114
Copland: ‘The Cat and the Mouse’
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: ‘Impromptu No. 2 in B Minor’*
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: ‘Deep River’
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: ‘The Bamboula’
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: ‘Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child’
*world premiere recording

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