Florence Price: Snapshots
Composed between 1947-52, Florence Price’s Snapshots is an explorative three-movement piano work. One of her most expansive piano works, Snapshots was modern for the time, with an impressionistic twist threaded throughout the movements.
I – Lake Mirror
Although the first to appear in the set, Lake Mirror was actually the last movement to be written by Price. Indebted to the post-Romantic style, this flowing opening movement is serene and beautiful. The shifts in tonality show Price’s step into impressionism, with decided nods to those before her becoming apparent. The glow of the reflection in the lake is represented by the cascading theme that intimately intertwines itself between both hands. The soft nature of this movement is a testament to Price’s flair for arrangement, especially for the piano.
II – Moon Behind a Cloud
Similarly to the opening movement, an impressionistic tone can be heard throughout Moon Behind a Cloud. The somewhat mysterious beauty of this music showcases Price’s intriguing harmonic language. The slow-moving theme grows organically from each note that is played, creating a colourful painting of the scene at hand.
III – Flame
A big shift in tempo opens the finale movement, with fast scalic runs and an energy not yet felt coming to the forefront. The constant dissonant harmonic language is aggressive and urgent, with the soloist really being put to the test. A notion of crisis is felt throughout this movement, with the urgent movements and big changes in dynamic adding fuel to this burning flame.
Ⓒ Alex Burns