Sunday, 28 November 2010

Nineteenth-Century Women Composers of Orchestral Music

I read this paragraph recently: what an undiscovered country is out there. Would that we could hear one of these orchestral works. Perhaps my greatest desideratum would be the symphonies by Edith Green and Oliveria Louisa Prescott. But surely all of them deserve exploration by some programmer of symphonic music.

‘There are a number of English women who have done excellent work in the large orchestral forms, if we may count festival performances as a measure of success. Edith Greene has composed a symphony, which was well received at London in 1895. To her credit may be placed many smaller works of real merit, among them a worthy violin sonata. Amy Elsie Horrocks, born in Brazil, brought out her orchestral legend, ‘Undine’ in 1897. She has also composed incidental music to ‘An Idyl of New Year's Eve,’ a cello sonata, variations for piano and strings, several dramatic cantatas, a number of songs, and many piano and violin pieces. Besides doing this, she has won fame as a pianist.
Mrs. Julian Marshall, born at Rome, has produced several orchestral works, as well as several cantatas, an operetta, a nocturne for clarinet and orchestra, and a number of songs.
Oliveria Louisa Prescott, a native of London and a pupil of the Royal Academy of Music, is responsible for two symphonies, several overtures, a piano concerto, and some shorter orchestral pieces, besides vocal and choral work.’


Pamela said...

It is breathtaking how many works for orchestra were composed by women along with chamber music and choral works yet we know so little of these contributions to music history, usually only passing references in reviews. Reminders like this are vitally important if we are ever to have the opportunity to hear this music, or better still to have it recorded.
Thank you,

John France said...

Thanks for that Pam. There is definitely an undiscvered country out there!!!