From Leah Broad to Ateş Orga.
Cataloguing Avril Coleridge-Taylor
Restoring the voice of an extraordinary, neglected composer …
“The first time I meet the Dashwood family, I’m recording a radio feature about composers including Avril Coleridge-Taylor. As Avril’s closest living relatives, I’ve come to interview them about her, to get a sense of who she was. They’ve also told me that they have some of her music — and while I’m curious to see it, I mostly assume that it will consist of personal copies of her manuscripts which are held at the Royal College of Music. After all, there are quite enough at the College to establish Avril as a composer of considerable merit.
“What I had not expected to find was a treasure trove that adds around fifty additional compositions to Avril’s known corpus. When Helen Walker-Hill compiled her catalogue, there was no way that she could have known about the existence of these pieces — and they fill in a huge amount of Avril’s story, especially her early compositional life. There are still missing works from her early career — she mentioned a cello work called Memories in a newspaper article dated 1919, for example, and I have yet to locate a score for this (if you have a copy of this, please let me know!!). But the Dashwood collection gives us a considerable number of her early songs and solo piano works.”