The British Library Homepage
homeHome  >   Online Gallery  >   Online exhibitions  >   Features  >   Black Europeans  >
 
print

Early days at the RCM

Enlarged image Enlarged image
RCM report on Samuel Coleridge-Taylor   Young Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, 1900
RCM report on Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Copyright © Royal College of Music, London
  Young Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1900)
Copyright © The Royal College of Music, London
     
Enlarged image Enlarged image
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor at work   Review of an early work by Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor at work
Copyright © The Royal College of Music, London
  Review of an early work by Coleridge-Taylor
Copyright © News International

At the Royal College of Music Coleridge-Taylor encountered some of the brightest talents of his time, and most of his early concerts were at the RCM or involved his fellow students. At one of his concerts (March 1896), for instance, two of his most famous colleagues, the young composers Gustav Holst (composer of The Planets) and Ralph Vaughan Williams played in the orchestra. Even before Coleridge-Taylor's work was being publicly performed August Jaeger, an editor at the music publishers Novello & Co., had been tipped off about his talent, and Novello's published the first of a series of his anthems, starting a lifelong association. By an interesting coincidence Vincent Novello, originator of the firm, had been taught almost 100 years earlier by the black violinist George Polgreen Bridgetower.

Coleridge-Taylor won the Lesley Alexander composition prize two years running (1895 and 1896), and he met William Hurlstone, his best friend who died early in 1906, a major influence on his taste. In 1896 he also met the African-American poet and novelist Paul Laurence Dunbar, who was visiting London. His meeting with Coleridge-Taylor began a series of collaborations. The songs Seven African Romances (1897), which were their first work together, are light and tuneful, and Dream Lovers ("an Operatic Romance", 1898) is the story of a Moroccan prince and his friend finding true happiness with two sisters. There are several clues to suggest that Coleridge-Taylor's true metier might have been musical theatre, but he left the RCM as a highly-esteemed and promising young composer.

Guest-curated for the British Library by Mike Phillips

First successes... and Hiawatha Next - 'First successes... and Hiawatha'

Introduction Introduction
Alexander Pushkin Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Dumas Alexandre Dumas
George Polgreen Bridgetower George Polgreen Bridgetower
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor John Archer
 
 
 
Discover more:
Introduction
Introduction
Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Pushkin
Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas
George Polgreen Bridgetower
George Polgreen Bridgetower
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Background and early life
Background and early life
Early days at the RCM
First successes.... and Hiawatha
First successes... and Hiawatha
After Hiawatha
After Hiawatha
Coleridge-Taylor in private
Coleridge-Taylor in private
Pan Africanism, race and the USA
Pan-Africanism, race and the USA
The music ends
The music ends
John Archer
John Archer
Accessibility Terms of use Site map
Copyright The British Library Board