Amy Beach (1867-1944)

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
Finding her voice20190429

Donald Macleod follows Beach’s quest to create a uniquely American sound for her music.

Amy Beach was born in the 19th century and, like all women composers of her generation, she found her path to greatness strewn with obstacles. This week, Donald Macleod charts her struggle to take control of her own destiny and become one of America’s most cherished cultural figures; a composer who helped lead her nation into the mainstream of classical music. Famed conductor, Leopold Stokowski noted that her symphony was “full of real music, without any pretence or effects but just real, sincere, simple and deep music.”

In today's programme, Donald follows Beach’s search to develop her individual voice as a composer. She responds to Dvorak’s call for Americans to establish their own classical music tradition but chastises him for his presumption that only men could lead the way.

Pastorale, Op 151
The Reykjavik Wind Quintet

Romance, Op 23
Tasmin Little, piano
John Lenehan, piano

Symphony in E minor, Op 32 (Gaelic) (Alla sicilana & Lento)
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Jarvi, conductor

Evening Hymn, Op 125 No 2
Harvard University Choir
Kate Nyhan, soprano
Navaz Karanjia, alto
Erica Johnson, organ
Murray Forbes Somerville, conductor

From Grandmother’s Garden, Op 97
Kirsten Johnson, piano

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod follows Beach's quest to create a uniquely American sound for her music.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Marriage20190501

Donald Macleod traces the impact of Beach’s marriage upon her career as a composer and pianist.

Amy Beach was born in the 19th century and, like all women composers of her generation, she found her path to greatness strewn with obstacles. This week, Donald Macleod charts her struggle to take control of her own destiny and become one of America’s most cherished cultural figures; a composer who helped lead her nation into the mainstream of classical music. Famed conductor Leopold Stokowski noted that her symphony was “full of real music, without any pretence or effects but just real, sincere, simple and deep music.”

Today’s programme traces the impact marriage had upon Beach both as a composer and a pianist. Although her husband encouraged her composition, she had to curtail her career as a concert pianist, performing in public only once a year. But the financial security of her marriage did allow for Beach to compose some of her most enduring works, including her famed Violin Sonata.

Ah, love, but a day, Op 44 No 2
Kate Royal, soprano
Malcolm Martineau, piano

A Prelude, Op 71 No 1
Katherine Kelton, mezzo-soprano
Catherine Bringerud, piano

When far from her, Op 2 No 2
Katherine Kelton, mezzo-soprano
Catherine Bringerud, piano

Come, ah come, Op 48 No 1
Katherine Kelton, mezzo-soprano
Catherine Bringerud, piano

Nunc Dimittis, Op 8 No 1
Harvard University Choir
Murray Forbes Somerville, conductor

Peace I leave with you, Op 8 No 3
Harvard University Choir
Murray Forbes Somerville, conductor

Violin Sonata in A minor, Op 34
Tasmin Little, violin
John Lenehan, piano

Symphony in E minor, Op 32 (Gaelic) (Allegro di molto)
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Jarvi, conductor

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod looks at the impact of Beach's marriage on her career.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Sacred works20190430

Donald Macleod explores the influence of religion upon the music of Amy Beach.

Amy Beach was born in the 19th century and, like all women composers of her generation, she found her path to greatness strewn with obstacles. This week, Donald Macleod charts her struggle to take control of her own destiny and become one of America’s most cherished cultural figures; a composer who helped lead her nation into the mainstream of classical music. Famed conductor, Leopold Stokowski noted that her symphony was “full of real music, without any pretence or effects but just real, sincere, simple and deep music.”

Today’s programme looks at how Beach's religious beliefs impacted upon her life and work. From her upbringing by devout parents, to her own beliefs and involvement with the church, Beach composed many sacred works during her lifetime, including the large-scale Canticle of the Sun.

The Year’s at the Spring, Op 44 No 1
Robert White, tenor
Samuel Sanders, piano

Mamma’s Waltz
Kirsten Johnson, piano

Valse Caprice, Op 4
Kirsten Johnson, piano

Canticle of the Sun, Op 123
Susan Bender, soprano
Elizabeth McLean, mezzo soprano
Richard Turner, tenor
James Shaffran, bass
Capitol Hill Choral Society and Orchestra
Betty Buchanan, director

Though I take the wings of morning, Op 152
Katherine Kelton, mezzo-soprano
Catherine Bringerud, piano

Trio for violin, cello and piano, Op 150
The Ambache
Elizabeth Layton, violin
Martin Outram, viola
Diana Ambache, piano

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod delves into Amy Beach's sacred works.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Sanctuary20190503

Donald Macleod focuses on a special place that became central to Beach and her work as a composer.

Amy Beach was born in the 19th century and, like all women composers of her generation, she found her path to greatness strewn with obstacles. This week, Donald Macleod charts her struggle to take control of her own destiny and become one of America’s most cherished cultural figures; a composer who helped lead her nation into the mainstream of classical music. Famed conductor, Leopold Stokowski noted that her symphony was “full of real music, without any pretence or effects but just real, sincere, simple and deep music.”

Today, Donald follows Beach to the MacDowell Colony, a unique artist's retreat in New Hampshire. The colony became an important sanctuary for her and is where she composed most of her later works.

Je demande à l’oiseau, Op 51 No 4
Hélène Guilmette, soprano
Martin Dubé, piano

A Hermit Thrush at Eve, Op 92 No 1
Kirsten Johnson, piano

A Hermit Thrush at Morn, Op 92 No 2
Kirsten Johnson, piano

Quartet for Strings, Op 89
Ambache

Symphony in E minor, Op 32 (Gaelic) (Allegro confuoco)
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Jarvi, conductor

Trois morceaux caractéristiques, Op 28
Kirsten Johnson, piano

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod focuses on a special place that became central to Beach's work.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201901Finding Her Voice20190429

Donald Macleod follows Beach’s quest to create a uniquely American sound for her music.

Amy Beach was born in the 19th century and, like all women composers of her generation, she found her path to greatness strewn with obstacles. This week, Donald Macleod charts her struggle to take control of her own destiny and become one of America’s most cherished cultural figures; a composer who helped lead her nation into the mainstream of classical music. Famed conductor, Leopold Stokowski noted that her symphony was “full of real music, without any pretence or effects but just real, sincere, simple and deep music.”

In today's programme, Donald follows Beach’s search to develop her individual voice as a composer. She responds to Dvorak’s call for Americans to establish their own classical music tradition but chastises him for his presumption that only men could lead the way.

Pastorale, Op 151
The Reykjavik Wind Quintet

Romance, Op 23
Tasmin Little, piano
John Lenehan, piano

Symphony in E minor, Op 32 (Gaelic) (Alla sicilana & Lento)
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Jarvi, conductor

Evening Hymn, Op 125 No 2
Harvard University Choir
Kate Nyhan, soprano
Navaz Karanjia, alto
Erica Johnson, organ
Murray Forbes Somerville, conductor

From Grandmother’s Garden, Op 97
Kirsten Johnson, piano

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod follows Beach's quest to create a uniquely American sound for her music.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201902Sacred Works20190430

Donald Macleod explores the influence of religion upon the music of Amy Beach.

Amy Beach was born in the 19th century and, like all women composers of her generation, she found her path to greatness strewn with obstacles. This week, Donald Macleod charts her struggle to take control of her own destiny and become one of America’s most cherished cultural figures; a composer who helped lead her nation into the mainstream of classical music. Famed conductor, Leopold Stokowski noted that her symphony was “full of real music, without any pretence or effects but just real, sincere, simple and deep music.”

Today’s programme looks at how Beach's religious beliefs impacted upon her life and work. From her upbringing by devout parents, to her own beliefs and involvement with the church, Beach composed many sacred works during her lifetime, including the large-scale Canticle of the Sun.

The Year’s at the Spring, Op 44 No 1
Robert White, tenor
Samuel Sanders, piano

Mamma’s Waltz
Kirsten Johnson, piano

Valse Caprice, Op 4
Kirsten Johnson, piano

Canticle of the Sun, Op 123
Susan Bender, soprano
Elizabeth McLean, mezzo soprano
Richard Turner, tenor
James Shaffran, bass
Capitol Hill Choral Society and Orchestra
Betty Buchanan, director

Though I take the wings of morning, Op 152
Katherine Kelton, mezzo-soprano
Catherine Bringerud, piano

Trio for violin, cello and piano, Op 150
The Ambache
Elizabeth Layton, violin
Martin Outram, viola
Diana Ambache, piano

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod delves into Amy Beach's sacred works.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201903Marriage20190501

Donald Macleod traces the impact of Beach’s marriage upon her career as a composer and pianist.

Amy Beach was born in the 19th century and, like all women composers of her generation, she found her path to greatness strewn with obstacles. This week, Donald Macleod charts her struggle to take control of her own destiny and become one of America’s most cherished cultural figures; a composer who helped lead her nation into the mainstream of classical music. Famed conductor Leopold Stokowski noted that her symphony was “full of real music, without any pretence or effects but just real, sincere, simple and deep music.”

Today’s programme traces the impact marriage had upon Beach both as a composer and a pianist. Although her husband encouraged her composition, she had to curtail her career as a concert pianist, performing in public only once a year. But the financial security of her marriage did allow for Beach to compose some of her most enduring works, including her famed Violin Sonata.

Ah, love, but a day, Op 44 No 2
Kate Royal, soprano
Malcolm Martineau, piano

A Prelude, Op 71 No 1
Katherine Kelton, mezzo-soprano
Catherine Bringerud, piano

When far from her, Op 2 No 2
Katherine Kelton, mezzo-soprano
Catherine Bringerud, piano

Come, ah come, Op 48 No 1
Katherine Kelton, mezzo-soprano
Catherine Bringerud, piano

Nunc Dimittis, Op 8 No 1
Harvard University Choir
Murray Forbes Somerville, conductor

Peace I leave with you, Op 8 No 3
Harvard University Choir
Murray Forbes Somerville, conductor

Violin Sonata in A minor, Op 34
Tasmin Little, violin
John Lenehan, piano

Symphony in E minor, Op 32 (Gaelic) (Allegro di molto)
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Jarvi, conductor

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod looks at the impact of Beach's marriage on her career.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201904Europe20190502

Donald Macleod follows Amy Beach as she travels beyond the borders of her homeland, America, for the first time.

Amy Beach was born in the 19th century and, like all women composers of her generation, she found her path to greatness strewn with obstacles. This week, Donald Macleod charts her struggle to take control of her own destiny and become one of America’s most cherished cultural figures; a composer who helped lead her nation into the mainstream of classical music. Famed conductor, Leopold Stokowski noted that her symphony was “full of real music, without any pretence or effects but just real, sincere, simple and deep music.”

Today’s programme sees Amy Beach liberated by her husband's death and embarking on her first tour of Europe. Beach sought to rejuvenate her career as both a composer and concert pianist with this tour, performing her own highly acclaimed piano concerto.

Autumn Song, Op 56 No 1
Kyle Bielfield, tenor
Lachlan Glen, piano

Prelude Op 81
Kirsten Johnson, piano

Der Totenkranz, Op 73 No 2
Katherine Kelton, mezzo-soprano
Catherine Bringerud, piano

The Candy Lion, Op 75 No 1
Katherine Kelton, mezzo-soprano
Catherine Bringerud, piano

Piano Concerto in C sharp minor, Op 45
Danny Driver, piano
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Rebecca Miller, conductor

On a Hill
Guadalupe Kreysa, soprano
Paul Hardy, piano

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod follows Beach as she travels beyond America's borders for the first time.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201905Sanctuary20190503

Donald Macleod focuses on a special place that became central to Beach and her work as a composer.

Amy Beach was born in the 19th century and, like all women composers of her generation, she found her path to greatness strewn with obstacles. This week, Donald Macleod charts her struggle to take control of her own destiny and become one of America’s most cherished cultural figures; a composer who helped lead her nation into the mainstream of classical music. Famed conductor, Leopold Stokowski noted that her symphony was “full of real music, without any pretence or effects but just real, sincere, simple and deep music.”

Today, Donald follows Beach to the MacDowell Colony, a unique artist's retreat in New Hampshire. The colony became an important sanctuary for her and is where she composed most of her later works.

Je demande à l’oiseau, Op 51 No 4
Hélène Guilmette, soprano
Martin Dubé, piano

A Hermit Thrush at Eve, Op 92 No 1
Kirsten Johnson, piano

A Hermit Thrush at Morn, Op 92 No 2
Kirsten Johnson, piano

Quartet for Strings, Op 89
Ambache

Symphony in E minor, Op 32 (Gaelic) (Allegro confuoco)
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Jarvi, conductor

Trois morceaux caractéristiques, Op 28
Kirsten Johnson, piano

Produced by Luke Whitlock, for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod focuses on a special place that became central to Beach's work.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.