With the English middle classes finding their place in Victorian London’s suburbia
and the monumental technological strides of the time (e.g. the Crystal Palace, trams,
London Underground, gramophones, the Titanic etc), the historical landscape of Black
Mahler and those that populate it (Paul Laurence Dunbar, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree,
Sir Arthur Sullivan, British royalty, Booker T Washington etc) make this true story
both fascinating and unique.
Black Mahler is an evocative dramatisation of Samuel
Coleridge-Taylor’s life from his discovery to his tragically premature death from
exhaustion at the age of 37. It’s a life told through the recollections of those
who knew him. It colourfully recreates his student days at the Royal College of Music
with Parry, Hurlstone, Holst and Vaughan Williams, his relationship with Edward Elgar
and the disastrous sale of his ‘Hiawatha’ cantata for just 15 guineas (about £15).
ABOUT THE BOOK
Coleridge-Taylor made three high-profile trips to America (1904, 1906 & 1910) and
was adopted there as a cultural icon by the African American community to whom slavery
was a very recent memory. A founding member of the Pan-African movement, he had the
unprecedented honour of an audience with Roosevelt and was the first man of African
descent to conduct a white orchestra in America.
The themes of artistic rivalry, ‘selling
out’, overwork, international stardom, perfectionism, financial struggle, love, grief,
the quest for acceptance, bigotry, etc make this modern rendition a timeless tale
for the 21st Century.
Always cheerful, Coleridge still inspires. He changed the lives
of countless thousands and his numerous influences continue to reverberate down through
the decades and will continue on into the future.