Personalities | Amy Beach | Late Romantic | Classical

American composer

Beach (née Cheney) made her debut as a pianist in 1883, the year in which her first composition was published. In 1885 she married, and retired from a professional performing career. She did, however, continue to compose, writing large-scale works such as the ‘Gaelic’ Symphony in E minor op. 32 (1896) and the virtuoso Piano Concerto in C sharp minor op. 45 (1900). After her husband’s death in 1910 Beach started playing professionally again, undertaking a very successful tour of Europe in the years before World War I. Her later, smaller-scale music shows a move away from the late Romantic language and Celtic idioms of her earlier works.

It appears to have been easier for women composers to be accepted in the US. Beach had several successful female contemporaries (or near-contemporaries) including Mabel Daniels (1879–1971), the first woman to take the score-reading class at the Munich Conservatory; her sister Bostonian Margaret Ruthven Lang (1867–1972); the West-Coast opera composer Mary Carr Moore (1873–1957) and the African-American composer Florence Price (1888–1953).

Recommended Recording:
Piano Quintet; Clarke: Piano Trio & Viola Sonata, Martin Roscoe, Endellion Quartet (ASV)

Introduction | Late Romantic | Classical
Personalities | (Sir) William Sterndale Bennett | Late Romantic | Classical


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