By Adrienne Fried Block
Amy Marcy Cheney seashore (1867-1944), the main commonly played composer of her iteration, was once the 1st American girl to prevail as a author of large-scale artwork tune. Her "Gaelic" Symphony, given its most efficient via the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1896, used to be the 1st paintings of its type by means of an American girl to be played by way of an American orchestra. just about all of her greater than three hundred works have been released quickly once they have been composed and played, and this day her tune is discovering new advocates and audiences for its strength, depth, and sheer attractiveness. but, before, no full-length severe biography of Beach's lifestyles or accomplished serious evaluation of her tune 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 relations in Victorian instances, Amy seashore all started composing as a toddler of 4 and was once both proficient as a pianist. Her expertise was once well-known early through Boston's prime musicians, who gave her unqualified aid. even if seashore believed that the lifetime of a qualified musician was once the single existence for her, her mom and dad had raised her for marriage and a occupation of novice music-making. Her reaction to this parental (and later spousal) competition used to be to discover artistic methods of achieving her aim with no direct war of words. Discouraged from a full-scale live performance occupation, she as a substitute came upon her m?tier in composition. luck 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 song ladies have been writing in her day through developing large-scale works--a Mass, a symphony, and chamber music--that challenged the authorized proposal that ladies have been incapable of making excessive paintings. She received the honor of affiliates and the allegiance of audiences. many that praised her paintings, even if, thought of her an exception between girls. Beach's response to this was once to hitch with different girls composers of great song via selling their works together 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 tune, and to song fans more often than not.
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Additional info for Amy Beach, Passionate Victorian: The Life and Work of an American Composer, 1867-1944
2 As helpful as the move was to Clara Cheney, it was even more so for her daughter. Soon Amy would be embraced by Boston but in ways that her mother could not have predicted. The first step toward recognition of the child's musical endowments grew out of a search for a new piano teacher. Clara Cheney had decided that her daughter, who had just turned eight, had outgrown her tutelage on the piano. 1 22 * AMY BEACH, PASSIONATE VICTORIAN cians. 3 Their appraisal was both a recognition of the child's outstanding talent and a compliment to her mother's training.
All the principal performers except Adamowski and Amy Cheney volunteered their services. Just why they did so is not stated, but one possible explanation might be their desire to bolster an orchestra threatened by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, now two years old. The reviews do not mention that Cheney played from memory, but since this was her practice for her entire life, she may well have done so at her debut. 62 Although there are sections in the Moscheles concerto that recall Mozart, there also are brilliant and extended octave runs, figurations in thirds and sixths—a good bit of flashing passage work, well calculated to demonstrate her technical skills.
Her autograph album offered a way to move close to figures in public life. One of the most influential of those figures was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. " 46 Amy and her piano 28 ' AMY BEACH, PASSIONATE VICTORIAN teacher also visited Longfellow in his home, Craigie House, where she played for him. His generous praise of her playing was followed by a letter with his autograph. "47 Amy Cheney soon set to work putting Longfellow's poem, "The Rainy Day" to music: Christmas time was near and I, of course, was very short of pocket money.
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