Bach to Black: Suites for Piano

Rochelle Sennet (piano)

Catalog #: TROY1869-71
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Format: Digital

Pianist Rochelle Sennet says that “Bach to Black represents my strong interest in performing repertoire by Black composers in combination with works of J.S. Bach. The suites included on this recording represent beauty, excellence, contrast, celebration of dance style, and dialogue.” She has paired the English Suites of Bach with works by Black composers based on similarities in key, mode, rhythmic energy, and occasional disruption of tonal expectations. Dr. Rochelle Sennet has established herself as a well-known performer, teacher, and scholar. A graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory, the University of Michigan, and Texas Christian University, she received her DMA from the University of Illinois. She has been a prize winner in numerous competitions including the Kingsville International Piano competition, and the US Open Music Piano Concerto competition, among other. She is on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This is her fourth recording for Albany Records.


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
English Suite No. 5 in E Minor, BWV 810 Johann Sebastian Bach Rochelle Sennet (piano)
Four Characteristic Waltzes, Op. 22 Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Rochelle Sennet (piano)
English Suite No. 3 in G Minor, BWV 808 Johann Sebastian Bach Rochelle Sennet (piano)
four dances for Boris Jeffrey Mumford Rochelle Sennet (piano)
English Suite No. 6 in D Minor, BWV 811 Johann Sebastian Bach Rochelle Sennet (piano)
In the Bottoms R. Nathaniel Dett Rochelle Sennet (piano)
English Suite No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 807 Johann Sebastian Bach Rochelle Sennet (piano)
Contrasts H. Leslie Adams Rochelle Sennet (piano)
English Suite No. 1 in A Major, BWV 806 Johann Sebastian Bach Rochelle Sennet (piano)
African Suite, Op. 35 Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Rochelle Sennet (piano)
English Suite No. 4 in F Major, BWV 809 Johann Sebastian Bach Rochelle Sennet (piano)
Three Movements for Piano Frederick Tillis Rochelle Sennet (piano)


  • "These suites are a comprehensive set of Bach's complete English Suites, mixed with 6 suites by Black composers. The title is an evocation of Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, and celebrates the works of Black composers. It acknowledges the influence of the European western music tradition while celebrating the varied techniques in this repertoire in the 20th Century. Sennet does an excellent job with these works. Her Bach is metrically sound and fully in control, with varied articulations and styles. Her playing is full of clarity. British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's 4 Characteristic Waltzes, arranged for piano, are charming and played exquisitely, full of rubato and lovely harmonic colors. American composer Jeffrey Mumford's Four Dances for Boris (2004) has a discordant nature and moves swiftly. It has an interesting interplay between chords in some very fast passages. Canadian composer Robert Nathaniel Dett's In the Bottoms is a haunting set of pieces, composed in the early 1900s using Black folk idioms. `Honey' particularly stands out with its playful and whimsical sound. One of my favorite recent recordings."

    – American Record Guide

  • "The pianist Rochelle Black interprets works from J.S. Bach and several black composers on this 3 disc release, where the varied selections possess similarities in key and rhythmic energy, and her incredible manipulation of the piano keeps the listener enthralled An album with the purpose of stimulating conversation revolving around inclusion in the classical music scene, Sennet enlightens us with her timeless, flexible and stirring vision."

    – Take Effect

*Album cover provided for Editorial use only. ©Albany Records. The Albany Imprint is a registered trademark of PARMA Recordings LLC. The views and opinions expressed in this media are those of the artist and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views and opinions held by PARMA Recordings LLC and its label imprints, subsidiaries, and affiliates.