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Because

Because

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During the long era when Bach, Mozart and Beethoven were creating the musical canon of Western Europe, the songs of enslaved Africans resounded in the colonies on the other side of the Atlantic, expressing pain and longing, but also joy and the desire for freedom. The American countertenor Reginald Mobley - a rising figure in baroque music, notably under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner with whom he sings very regularly - and the French pianist Baptiste Trotignon, winner of numerous awards (Victoires du Jazz, Django d'Or) have combined their talents and sensibilities to celebrate these spirituals and the music of Black composers including Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949) and Florence Price (1887-1953), whose beautiful transcriptions and melodies blend with Baptiste Trotignon's subtle arrangements of the famous Sometimes I feel like a motherless child or I got a robe... The melody "Because", composed by Florence Price on a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, inspired the title of the album: Because I had loved so hard (...) Because I had loved so vainly... Why this album? Because...

CONTENTS:

  • anon.: Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
  • trad.: Were you there?
  • trad.: I Got a Robe
  • Trotignon: Why
  • Price, Florence: Because
  • trad.: Steal away
  • trad.: Save Me Lord, Save Me
  • trad.: Bright Sparkles in the Churchyard
  • trad.: Nobody knows the trouble I seen
  • Price, Florence: Resignation
  • anon.: A Great Campmeetin'
  • Price, Florence: Sunset
  • trad.: My Lord, What a Mornin'
  • anon.: By an’ by / There is a Balm in Gilead
  • Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield: I Heard It Through the Grapevine
  • anon.: Deep river

REVIEWS:

On their new album Because, American countertenor and early-music specialist Reginald Mobley and French pianist Baptiste Trotignon offer a collection of music from the Renaissance.

No, not that Renaissance.

The album is an updated compendium of Negro spirituals...and art songs published, collected, or written in and around the Harlem Renaissance — a period of revival in Black art, literature, culture, and music that spread from the Manhattan neighborhood throughout the United States and the Western world in the early 20th century...this movement and these songs have impacted American music on a scale that is unsurpassed, from jazz to pop to hip-hop, as well as a significant body of classical repertoire.

With Because, his first solo album, [Mobley] offers a powerful portrait addressing the musical legacy of Black spirituals and the complicated paradoxes contained within them: themes of bondage and salvation, power and tenderness, pain and beauty, spirituality and temporality.

We rarely hear a countertenor wade into this repertoire, and Mobley’s voice, which seems to get better by the year, is wonderfully pristine. Like good champagne, his tone is both effervescent and rich. In 20th-century art songs such as Florence Price’s “Because I Had Loved So Deeply” or Harry Burleigh’s “Jean,” or traditional spirituals like “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” and “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” he does not produce sound so much as spin it in long, sumptuous phrases.

As an accompanist and arranger, Trotignon is both resourceful and inventive, and it’s clear that he also lives and breathes this music.

-- Early Music America

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Product Description:


  • Release Date: May 26, 2023


  • UPC: 3760014199363


  • Catalog Number: ALPHA936


  • Label: Alpha


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: 20th Century


  • Composer: Henry Burleigh, Florence Price, Anonymous, Traditonal, Baptiste Trotignon


  • Performer: Reginald Mobley, Baptiste Trotignon