Deserted Garden by Florence Beatrice Price (1887-1953)
When the Chicago Symphony premiered Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1 in 1933, it was the first time that a major orchestra performed a work by an African-American female composer. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and educated at the New England Conservatory, Price wrote music that shows influences from her study of European music as well as African-American idioms. Her music incorporates themes from spirituals and folk music, along with elements from traditional African music. A prolific composer, Price wrote orchestral works, including six symphonies, concertos for violin and piano, choral and vocal works, chamber music, solo pieces for piano and organ, and numerous arrangements of spirituals.
Deserted Garden uses Western musical structures but features melodies that have roots in the American South. Composed in a traditional A-B-A structure, it uses the Dorian mode and the pentatonic scale, found prominently in spirituals, blues and jazz.