cover-cupMy Cup Runneth Over – the Complete Piano Works of R. Nathaniel Dett was the culmination of a 3-year project of research, performing and countless hours of hard work and study. I’ve been interested Dett’s piano music for many years and when it came time to write a dissertation for my degree at Temple University it seemed like a perfect time to dig more deeply into it. I had always enjoyed playing through it, but I wasn’t expecting the kind of depth of meaning and narrative, sometimes hidden, that I found. Rosicrucian philosophy, Hindu poets, Biblical narratives chosen in yearning for a racial reconciliation and a better world, all have a place in Dett’s music, along with beautiful and colorful piano writing, harmonies and especially melodies.

Robert Nathaniel Dett, c. 1920

Robert Nathaniel Dett, c. 1920

When I decided to undertake this recording I knew I wanted to find the best situation I could find to bring Dett’s work to a wider audience and to help bring it the recognition it deserves. The effort took me twice to Bavaria, Germany, to a wonderful instrument in a great hall with a top notch engineer, Dirk Fischer. I used a distinctly 21st century funding resource, Kickstarter, to help with the production costs. This adventure was one of the true highlights of my life!

Madrigal Divine by Nathaniel Dett, played by Clipper Erickson

Clipper Erickson plays “Magnolias” by Nathaniel Dett
The first movement of Dett’s first suite, Magnolia. Inspired by the Magnolia trees on the campus of Lane College, Jackson, TN.

WWFM interview on Nathaniel Dett – Clipper Erickson and Marjorie Herman