Florence Price: Placid Lake

For piano (edited by John Michael Cooper)

Sale price$12.00

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Additional Info

  • Composer
    Florence Price
  • Publisher
    G Schirmer Inc
  • Arrangement
    Piano (PF)
  • Format
  • Genre
    20th Century
  • Additional Contributor
    ed. by John Michael Cooper


Florence Beatrice Price's love of nature manifested itself in many aspects of her music — not least among them her several musical reflections on water, lakes in particular. These pieces of "water music" include the early masterpiece On a Quiet Lake, its later counterpart "Lake Mirror" in the still-unpublished set Snapshots and the incomplete "Mountain Stream," and the late contemplation Placid Lake, presented here. All these compositions are tranquil in character, but Placid Lake is most obvious and effective in its musical gestures that evoke Price's African American heritage. In the A sections (mm. 1-18 and 26-36) this influence is most obvious in the D to D-flat cadential moves at mm. 6-7 and 33-34, as well as in the prominent added sixth (C) on the tonic harmony at mm. 9 and 36. But the mild dissonance between that C and the dominant (B-flat) actually pervades the work — becoming most prominent in the interplay between the alto and tenor lines in mm. 37-41 of the coda. Although the central B section remains in the tonic E-flat major (with added C), that section's delicate exchanges of arpeggios among the registers enliven Placid Lake's rhythmic language. The jazz-influenced stream of parallel chord in m. 17 keeps the work's tonal stability from becoming monotonous, and the abrupt D-flat – A-flat – E-flat – G – C-flat sonority that interrupts the steady pulse in mm. 42-43 beautifully provides direction to conclude a work whose central image — that of a placid lake — is about quietness and stasis.

— John Michael Cooper

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