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Donald Macleod looks at how Amy Beach's religious beliefs influenced her music.

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

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Amy Beach

    The Year's at the Spring (3 Browning Songs, Op 44)

    Performer: Samuel Sanders. Singer: Robert White.
    • HYPERION : CDA-66920.
    • HYPERION.
    • 2.
  • Amy Beach

    Mamma's Waltz for piano

    Performer: Kirsten Johnson.
    • Guild GMCD7317.
    • Guild.
    • 5.
  • Amy Beach

    Valse Caprice Op 4

    Performer: Kirsten Johnson.
    • GUILD : GMCD-7317.
    • Guild.
    • 10.
  • Amy Beach

    Canticle of the Sun, Op 123

    Performer: Elizabeth Mclean. Conductor: Betty Buchanan. Singer: Richard Turner. Singer: James Shaffran. Singer: Susan Bender. Ensemble: Capitol Hill Choral Society And Orchestra.
    • ALBANY TROY295.
    • ALBANY.
    • 1.
  • Amy Beach

    Though I Take the Wings of Morning, Op 152

    Performer: Catherine Bringerud. Singer: Katherine Kelton.
    • Naxos 8559191.
    • Naxos.
    • 36.

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