September 1 2012 is the centenary of the death of the composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, who died at the early age of 37 on September 1 1912. Despite his early death he left a legacy of fine music behind him. I have many of his piano solos in my possession and get much pleasure in playing them.
Webster Booth was associated with Samuel Coleridge-Taylor because of his many appearances in Hiawatha, Coleridge-Taylor's best known and most popular work. He made his first appearance in this work at the Royal Albert Hall in May 1936 with Harold Williams and others.
He made another appearance in Hiawatha in June 1937, shortly before he sailed for New York the following month.
Webster appeared in many other performances of Hiawatha, including one presented at Kenilworth Castle, probably in the 1940s. I have included a few of the advertisements below:
Webster Booth appeared in the Jubilee concert of Hiawatha to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the concert which was first presented in March 1900.
May 1951. Croydon, Davis Theatre. As part of the Festival of Britain celebrations a concert mainly devoted to the works of local composer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was held in the Davis Theatre on 31 May 1951, part of a series of concerts sponsored by Croydon Corporation for the Festival. Parts One and Two of Hiawatha were presented by the Croydon Philharmonic Society, conducted by Alan J. Kirby. Gwen Catley, Webster Booth and Dennis Noble were the soloists.
Although the planned presentation of Hiawatha in 1954 was called off at the last minute because of poor ticket sales, Sir Malcolm Sargent asked that Webster should be the soloist in the work at his sixtieth birthday concert on 29 April 1955 at the Royal Festival Hall, where his fellow soloists were Jennifer Vyvian and Australian baritone John Cameron. Perhaps because the performance was associated with Sir Malcolm's birthday, tickets were in great demand.
Here is a photograph from the defunct magazine, Music and Musicians where Webster and Anne are speaking to John Cameron after the performance.
His last performance in the work was at the Promenade Concert in August 1955, where he also sang the song cycle To Julia by Roger Quilter.
In July 1956 he and Anne Ziegler moved to Johannesburg South Africa.
Webster Booth recorded several songs by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor below:
To read more about the life and works of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, go to the following link:
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation