Amy Beach, Passionate Victorian: The Life and Work of an by Adrienne Fried Block

By Adrienne Fried Block

Amy Marcy Cheney seashore (1867-1944), the main broadly played composer of her new release, was once the 1st American girl to be successful as a author of large-scale paintings track. Her "Gaelic" Symphony, given its ideal by means of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1896, used to be the 1st paintings of its sort by way of an American lady to be played via an American orchestra. just about all of her greater than three hundred works have been released quickly when they have been composed and played, and at the present time her song is discovering new advocates and audiences for its power, depth, and sheer attractiveness. but, previously, no full-length serious biography of Beach's lifestyles or complete serious review of her song existed. This biography admirably fills that hole, totally interpreting the connections among Beach's existence and paintings in gentle of social currents and dominant ideologies. Born right into a musical kinfolk in Victorian occasions, Amy seashore began composing as a toddler of 4 and was once both proficient as a pianist. Her expertise used to be well-known early by means of Boston's major musicians, who gave her unqualified help. even if seashore believed that the lifetime of a qualified musician was once the single lifestyles for her, her mom and dad had raised her for marriage and a profession of beginner music-making. Her reaction to this parental (and later spousal) competition used to be to discover inventive methods of achieving her objective with no direct disagreement. Discouraged from a full-scale live performance profession, she as an alternative stumbled on her m?tier in composition. good fortune as a composer of artwork songs got here early for seashore: certainly, her songs outsold these of her contemporaries. however, she was firm to split her paintings from the genteel parlor track girls have been writing in her day via growing large-scale works--a Mass, a symphony, and chamber music--that challenged the permitted concept that ladies have been incapable of constructing excessive paintings. She gained the dignity of co-workers and the allegiance of audiences. many that praised her paintings, besides the fact that, thought of her an exception between girls. Beach's response to this used to be to hitch with different ladies composers of great tune by means of selling their works with her personal. Adrienne Fried Block has written a biography that takes complete account of problems with gender and musical modernism, contemplating seashore within the contexts of her time and of her composer contemporaries, either female and male. Amy seashore, Passionate Victorian should be of significant curiosity to scholars and students of yank track, and to track fans ordinarily.

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Additional info for Amy Beach, Passionate Victorian: The Life and Work of an American Composer, 1867-1944

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But Amy Beach defied the stereotype: she was both a fine musician and, by her mother's definition, one hundred percent American. Biographies of Amy Beach cite three early eminences in her extended family. The first is on the Cheney side: General Henry Dearborn (1751-1829), related through Beach's paternal grandmother, Rebecca Dearborn (Rundlett) Cheney. A hero of the Revolutionary War who was at the Battle of Bunker Hill and Valley Forge under Washington, Dearborn also served as a representative in Congress and Thomas Jefferson's secretary of war.

On Christmas Eve of 1875, at the Music Hall, Clara Cheney sang with the chorus of the Handel and Haydn Society in their sixty-fifth performance of Messiah. The soprano soloist was the great prima donna Teresa Tietjens. That season they also gave the performances of Handel's Joshua—its premiere in the United States—Mendelssohn's Elijah and Hymn of Praise, Haydn's Creation, Rossini's Stabat Mater, and, on Palm Sunday, 9 April 1876, a three-hour version of Bach's Passion According to St. Matthew. 1'' Other choral organizations were also active that season; the Cecilia Society, conducted by Benjamin Johnson Lang—who also was the organist for the 24T " AMY BEACH, PASSIONATE VICTORIAN Handel and Haydn Society—gave a Bach cantata, and Theodore Thomas led his touring orchestra in a performance of Bach's Magnificat.

This was the important and eagerly awaited American premiere of Verdi's "Manzoni" Requiem. As usual, Carl Zerrahn conducted the chorus and orchestra, the four soloists—Eugenie Pappenheim, Adelaide Phillips, Charles R. Adams, and Alwin Blum—and the organist, B. J. Lang. 28 San Francisco's May Festival took place in the Mechanics' Pavilion, a barn of 2O " AMY BEACH, PASSIONATE VICTORIAN a place with poor acoustics. But two thousand choristers and the accompanying band labored valiantly to compensate, and the climactic performance of the Anvil chorus—with local blacksmiths playing the anvils—may have overridden the acoustical deficiencies of the hall.

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