The Beach piano concerto is a major work for piano and orchestra, one of the very last created in the 19th century. It was composed by the first successful American woman composer. And yet it is almost never performed and only two and a half recordings of this fine work are available to us here.
Amy Beach was an early prodigy, demonstratinf compositional abilities at the age of two. By the time she was sixteen she had performed with the Boston Symphony In 1885, at the age of eighteen she married a surgeon twenty-four years her senior and was obliged to agree to limit her public activities to one recital per year. For twenty-five years this extraordinarily talented woman sat at home and composed beautiful music. Lucky for us. She was very prolific.
She resumed her career as a pianist after her husband died in 1910. She toured Europe for three years, eventually returning home and taking her place as the only woman in an important group of American composers, the Second New England School (also known as the Boston Group) which included , Edward MacDowell, John Knowles Paine, Arthur Foote, George Whitefield Chadwick, George Whiting, and Horatio Parker.
Amy Beach should be a poster child for the women's movement. She was a brilliant musician caged for twenty-five years by the societal confines of that wonderful French word we use for a French feeling we have: Chauvinism. But it's been a century since her liberation and she struggles still for her rightful place in the concert halls of America.
Sadly, I can find no recordings of her playing though she was active well into the recorded era; she retired in 1940 and died in 1944. But there are quite a few of her music for and with piano. Stay tuned. A page containing this music will follow before too long.
As for the Beach piano concerto, just listen.
contemporary American pianist
Kenneth Schermerhorn conducting the Nashville Symphony Orchestra
i Allegro Moderato
17:49 ➢ ii Scherzo: Vivace
23:42 ➢ iii Largo
29:03 ➢ iv Allegro Con Scioltezza
MARY LOUISE BOEHM (1924-2002)
Siegfried Landau conducting the Westphalian Symphony Orchestra
ia Allegro Moderato (beginning)
ib Allegro Moderato (conclusion)
ii Scherzo: Vivace
iv Allegro con Scioltezza
SAET BYEOL KIM (b ca 1990)
South Korean pianist
Arild Remmereit conducting the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
recorded in 2012
iv Allegro con Scioltezza
For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background
which is also available as an audiobook.
And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:
Follow these links to our main subject categories