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Rad Bennett

"Edmond Dédé (1827-1901) was one of a select group of 'free black' composers who left the United States shortly before the Civil War to study and work in Paris. He spent most of his time in Bordeaux as director of the theater orchestra, which allowed him ample time to compose dances, songs, string quartets, and larger works. This music was virtually unknown in America until it was revived by Richard Rosenberg and his Hot Springs Festival performers in the 1990s. Rosenberg reconstructed instrumental parts for the orchestra pieces and conducts these vigorously, if a bit woodenly. The best selections on the CD are those for solo piano, especially a waltz called 'Chicago', and the 'Méphisto masqué'. The old-fashioned, almost corny lilt of these works is well captured by pianists Gary Hammond and Mary Scott Spry."

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