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Karen Walwyn made history with her 2011 recording of the reconstructed version of Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement, and her recent recording of Price’s authentic orchestration promises to set the new gold standard for that work – but now Walwyn is back with an entirely different sort of Price album, one devoted entirely to works for piano solo. This new album presents some of Price’s familiar compositions along with others, found in an abandoned house south of Chicago in 2009, that have been only recently published and here receive their world-premiere recordings. Her lovingly nuanced and emotionally rich rendition of the well-known E-minor Piano Sonata (1931-32) is complemented by the world-premiere recording of the complete set of Five Preludes (1926), a work that Price gifted to her friend and collaborator Margaret Bonds; Walwyn gives eloquent voice to these preludes’ utterly delicious whimsy and wit as well as their melodic and harmonic craft. Performances of the suite In the Land o’ Cotton (which launched Price’s career as a professional composer by winning a prize in Opportunity magazine’s Holstein Competition in 1926) and the Arkansas Jitter (1938) are rounded out by beautiful renditions of the sprightly Joy in June and the deliciously evocative Child Asleep. It’s an album of considerable importance, and one to be treasured by all who celebrate the genius of Florence B. Price. – John Michael Cooper
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