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Donald Macleod follows Beach’s quest to create a uniquely American sound for her music, drawing on folk traditions and her deep love of nature.

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

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Amy Beach

    Pastorale for wind quintet

    Performer: Blásarakvintett Reykjavíkur.
    • CHANDOS : CHAN-9174.
    • CHANDOS.
    • 15.
  • Amy Beach

    Romance, Op 23 for violin and piano

    Performer: Tasmin Little. Performer: John Lenehan.
    • Chandos CHAN-20030.
    • Chandos.
    • 12.
  • Amy Beach

    Symphony in E minor, Op 32 (Gaelic): Alla siciliana & Lento

    Orchestra: Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Neeme Järvi.
    • CHANDOS : CHAN-8958.
    • CHANDOS.
    • 4.
  • Amy Beach

    Evening Hymn, Op 125 No 2

    Performer: Harvard University Choir. Performer: Erica Johnson. Singer: Kate Nyhan. Singer: Navaz Karanjia. Conductor: Murray Forbes Somerville.
    • ASV CDDCA1125.
    • ASV.
    • 8.
  • Amy Beach

    From Grandmother's Garden for piano, Op 97

    Performer: Kirsten Johnson.
    • Guild GMCD7351.
    • Guild.
    • 15.

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