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Event Details

Concert: WWCMF Tasting Music 4 — Amy Beach

  • 28 Jun 2024
  • 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Rôtie Cellars Production Facility

Tonight’s performance has been made possible by the generosity of Michael Haight and Cathy Lee-Haight.

Born in New Hampshire in 1867, Amy Marcy Cheney, displayed musical gifts almost from the start. She first studied piano with her mother, then with two prominent German expats in Boston, eventually adding courses in counterpoint with a German-trained Bostonian. She established herself as a concert soloist, performing with the most esteemed arts organizations in the US, notably the Boston Symphony.

At the age of 18, Amy married Dr. Henry Harris Aubrey Beach, a 42-year old surgeon. Much about this union seems strange to our modern sensibilities, perhaps nowhere more so than in the prenuptial agreement curtailing Amy’s musical activities, limiting her public piano performances to two per year, and then only for charity. But composition was deemed a suitable pursuit for a married woman, and Mrs. Henry Harris Aubrey Beach would compose and publish musical works throughout her self-reported happy marriage, and continue to do so under the same name long after Henry’s passing in 1910.

And yet, and I say this objectively, Amy was a far superior musician than Henry was a surgeon! While he poked about with blunt instruments of the Civil War era, she performed Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven and Bach to international acclaim, and became the first American woman to compose and publish a symphony (E minor, The Gaelic, Op. 32), a workwhich received rave reviews in the US and Europe, a coup for any American composer, let alone a woman. Henry may still have been using leeches.

Tonight, we perform the lyrical masterpiece, the Piano Quintet in F# minor, Op. 67, by Amy Beach, as she is now known.

Amy Beach (1867-1944)

Piano Quintet in F# minor, Op. 67 (1907)

I. Adagio - Allegro moderato

II. Adagio espressivo

III. Allegro agitato - Adagio come prima - Presto

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