Tuesday, January 18, 2011

E-Book of the Week: Amy Beach, Passionate Victorian

Block, Adrienne Fried. Amy Beach, Passionate Victorian: the Life and Works of the American Composer, 1867-1944. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Tracing Amy Beach’s life from her childhood as a musical prodigy in New England through her career as composer of works such as her Gaelic Symphony, Three Browning Songs, and Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in C sharp minor, Adrienne Fried Block (co-director of the City University of New York’s Project for the Study of Women in Music) provides the first full-length critical biography of Amy Beach, the "Dean of American Women Composers” with Amy Beach, Passionate Victorian. The first focus of this biography is how Amy Beach’s legacy fits in with other composers of her generation: with detailed musical analyses, Block illustrates how Beach wrote in a style closer to the Romantic idiom than to the techniques of the avant-garde European composers of her time. The second is how Beach’s adherence to the traditional roles of a Victorian woman impacted her musical career, for example noting that Beach’s husband for many years restricted her public performances to one recital per year. Amy Beach, Passionate Victorian includes numerous musical examples, a catalog of Beach’s works, and a reprinting of Amy Beach’s “Music’s Ten Commandments as Given for Young Composers.”

Previewed by Anna D'Agostino, Serials/Cataloging Librarian. Click here to read this book.

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