In ‘But not my soul’, Ragazze Quartet stands up for Florence Price, an American composer from the first half of the 20th century. She was the first African-American woman to be recognized for her symphonies and the first to have her compositions played by a renowned orchestra. Yet her music was forgotten for years. Unjustified, we think! Her work is a pleasant mix of European romanticism, her ‘Southern’ roots, the emerging blues and African-American spirituals. Thankfully, her name has become more and more known in recent years (there is even a street in Amsterdam named after her!) and we want to contribute to her fame.
We combine the music of Florence Price with the always beautiful ‘American quartet’ by Antonín Dvořák, a great inspiration to Price, and with a new work by singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens. She wrote a song in response to an advertisement she saw from the time of slavery, in which a young woman was offered for sale with her nine-month-old baby ‘at the purchaser’s option’. This song was arranged for the Kronos Quartet for their 50 For the Future project. The title of this program is derived from one of the lines from this song: ‘You can take my body, but not my soul.’
The album ‘But not my soul’ by the Ragazze Quartet will be released by Channel Classics on 8 March (International Women’s Day) 2024 and will be accompanied by a concert tour in The Netherlands.