Edmond Dédé: El Pronunciatiamento: Marche espagnole (1886)


El Pronunciatiamento: Marche espagnole (1886)


Edmond Dédé (composer)


Edmond Dédé (Naxos 559038)

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Edmond Dédé (composer),

David Sachs (piano)


Recorded: Hot Springs, Arkansas, June 1999


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Edmond Dédé

Edmond Dédé, born in New Orleans in 1827, was one of small group of "free black" composers from the Crescent City who managed to earn a livelihood from concert hall music during the 19th century - although mostly overseas. Dédé's 1852 song Mon pauvre coeur is the oldest surviving published piece of music by a Creole of color from New Orleans. Yet at that time, the composer needed to supplement his income with work as a cigar maker. In 1857 he left for Paris, where he studied music, composed, conducted and, in 1864, married a French woman, Sylvie Leflat. Most of his career was spent in Bordeaux, where he wrote around 150 dances, 6 string quartets, and almost 100 songs - virtually all of this music forgotten after Dédé's death in 1901. He only made on trip back to New Orleans, in 1893, where he performed as a violinist and was accompanied by William J. Nickerson - who was later a teacher to Jelly Roll Morton. (Another historical connection: the 1856 Chickering piano used on this recording was once played by Louis Moreau Gottschalk.)

But even more than personal ties, Dédé's compositions also anticipate Morton - who spoke of the importance of the Spanish tinge in his pianism - and other later currents in New Orleans music. One of the key achievements of the New Orleans musicians was their ability to transform the march beat into something less rigid and military, tapping into a more liberating current hidden inside the rhythm. Hints of that same spirit can be heard in this March espagnole, which starts out with great formality, but soon spins a hypnotic web that is more dance than procession. Dédé may have left his home town behind, but the vitality and dynamism of its aural personality still reside in his work.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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