Since I started reading, “The Heart of a Woman: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price” by Rae Linda Brown, I have learned a lot about Florence Price’s life including aspects of her personal and professional life as well as how hard she had to work as an African American woman to build a professional career in music. While I got to learn a lot about Price by reading the book, listening to Dr. Walwyn’s album (which was devoted entirely to the works of Florence Price) gave me a much more personal and intimate view into the life of Florence Price because people tend to display their emotions that they wouldn’t otherwise through music.
In Preludes, there are changes in tempo from either a fast tempo to a slower one or a slower tempo to a faster one which brings about different emotions in the listener. The slow tempo evokes a calming feeling while the faster tempo evokes a more exciting feeling. Additionally, when the tempo gets faster, it almost feels like a buildup to something. In the Land of Cotton, is a slow, but upbeat song. The tempo gradually gets faster, and it is blended with the slower tempo from the start. The song then gets slower again and ends with a fast tempo evoking an energetic feeling. Joy in June is a very upbeat and energetic song that evokes a feeling of happiness as mentioned in the title. We can also assume that Price was in a good mood when creating this piece. Child Asleep was made as a lullaby for Price’s daughter. As a result, it has a very slow tempo which evokes a calming feeling just as it would have been calming to her daughter. Arkansas Jitter is a very high-tempo song and as the nature of the song suggests, when some people get the jitters, they get nervous and start to talk and move fast which is representative of the tempo. Finally, Sonata is the composition where Price’s work converges. For the first half of this piece, the Preludes, In the Land of Cotton, Joy in June, Child Asleep, and Arkansas Jitter are played. In the second half, we hear a new piece, and the tempo gradually gets faster. The transitions in this piece are very smooth and each part evokes a different feeling and tells a different story.
Overall, I really enjoyed listening to this album and based on how well crafted it is, I can tell that Dr. Walwyn invested a lot of her time and passion into this album, especially with the hour-long piece, Sonata. After listening to this album, I have gained a lot of respect for Florence Price and I admire her talent in composition. What she managed to achieve as an African American woman in the 1930s despite all of the challenges is nothing but impressive. I have also learned to appreciate music from other generations as most of the music I listen to comes from people in my generation. I hope that more of Price’s work is recovered, and I hope to hear more of her work in the future.