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Donald Macleod follows Amy Beach’s quest to create a uniquely American sound in her music

Donald Macleod follows Amy Beach’s quest to create a uniquely American sound in 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 her search to develop her individual voice as a composer, Donald discusses the impact of her religious beliefs, her marriage and the places which shaped her work: her first tour of Europe, and the MacDowell Colony, where she composed most of her later works.

Music featured:
Pastorale, Op 151
Romance, Op 23
Symphony in E minor, Op 32 (Gaelic) (Alla sicilana & Lento)
Evening Hymn, Op 125 No 2
From Grandmother’s Garden, Op 97
The Year’s at the Spring, Op 44 No 1
Valse Caprice, Op 4
Canticle of the Sun, Op 123
Though I take the wings of morning, Op 152
Trio for violin, cello and piano, Op 150
Ah, love, but a day, Op 44 No 2
A Prelude, Op 71 No 1
When far from her, Op 2 No 2
Come, ah come, Op 48 No 1
Nunc Dimittis, Op 8 No 1
Peace I leave with you, Op 8 No 3
Violin Sonata in A minor, Op 34
Symphony in E minor, Op 32 (Gaelic) (Allegro di molto)
Autumn Song, Op 56 No 1
Prelude Op 81
Der Totenkranz, Op 73 No 2
The Candy Lion, Op 75 No 1
Piano Concerto in C sharp minor, Op 45
On a Hill
Je demande à l’oiseau, Op 51 No 4
A Hermit Thrush at Eve, Op 92 No 1
A Hermit Thrush at Morn, Op 92 No 2
Quartet for Strings, Op 89
Trois morceaux caractéristiques, Op 28

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Amy Beach

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here:

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57 minutes

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