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Ethel Smyth (1858 - 1944)

1. Stepping Out

Monday 12 July 2004 12:00-13:00 (Radio 3)

Repeated: Monday 19 July 2004 0:00-1:00 (Radio 3)

Donald Macleod looks at the life and work of Ethel Smyth, born into an upper middle class military family. After the family employed a musical governess who introduced her to Beethoven's piano sonatas, Smyth decided on a career in music. Despite her father's opposition, she entered the Leipzig Conservatory in 1877 and subsequently studied composition privately with Heinrich von Herzogenberg. Most of her early compositions are chamber works. Her British orchestral debut came through Augustus Mann who, after looking at one of her quartets, asked her to write an orchestral work. This request turned into the Serenade in D, for which she received favourable reviews from the British Press. The second major work Ethel Smyth performed after her return to England was the Mass in D, which was first performed by the Royal Choral Society in 1893. For this week's programmes Donald Macleod is joined by the conductor and authority on Smyth, Odaline de la Martinez.


1 hour


Excerpt from Interlude (Entente Cordiale)
Light Symphony Orchestra; Adrian Boult
(1939 recording) Dutton Laboratories DCAX 8016
Track 14
Serenade in D
BBC Philharmonic, Odaline de la Martinez
Chandos CHAN 9449
Tracks 1 to 4
1st movement String Quartet in E minor
Archaeus Quartet
Lorelt CD LNT 114
Sanctus from Mass in D
Janis Hardy (alto), The Plymouth Festival Orchestra and Chorus, Philip Brunelle
Virgin Classics 0777 7590222-8
Track 3

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