UnTuxed | Amy Beach: Gaelic Symphony in E minor. op. 32
*Please silence your cell phone & turn down the brightness*
This Rehearsal is being presented as a Relaxed Experience.
Relaxed Experiences are designed to make artistic spaces more welcoming and comfortable for neuro-diverse audience members, anyone on the autism spectrum, and people with sensory and/or communication disorders or learning disabilities. However, everyone can enjoy and benefit from the relaxed concert environment, including parents with babies and toddlers, individuals with Tourette’s syndrome, anyone who experiences anxiety, and folks who would simply like a more relaxed, easygoing atmosphere when attending a concert!
The WSO would like to acknowledge the support of our volunteers, Prelude Music, Canadian Mennonite University, and our Share the Music program for their support of this endeavor.
Daniel Raiskin, conductor
Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
Daniel Raiskin, conductor
Known for cultivating a broad repertoire and looking beyond the mainstream for his strikingly conceived programmes, Daniel Raiskin has been the music director for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra since the 2018/19 season.
Daniel grew up in St. Petersburg, the son of a prominent musicologist, where he attended the celebrated conservatory in his native city. He continued his studies in Amsterdam and Freiburg, first focusing on the viola but was later inspired to take up the conductor’s baton. He studied with maestri such as Mariss Jansons, Neeme Järvi, Milan Horvat, Woldemar Nelson and Jorma Panula.
Along with the WSO, Daniel was appointed Chief Conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in 2020/21, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra in 2016/17.
Some recent and upcoming guest engagements include the Warsaw and Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestras, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife, Russian National Orchestra, Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra, Residentie Orchestra (Hague Philharmonic, NL), Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, Munich Symphony Orchestra and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra.
During the 2021/22 season, Daniel took the Slovak Philharmonic and participated in a successful residency at at InClassica Festival in Dubai where they shared the stage with Rudolf Buchbinder, Gil Shaham, Daniel Hope and Andreas Ottensamer. The Philharmonic also toured Germany and Austria this past spring (2022) under Daniel’s leadership.
MASTERWORKS written by James Manishen
Amy Marcy Cheney Beach
b. September 5, 1867 / Henniker, New Hampshire, United States
d. December 27, 1944 / New York City
First performance: October 30, 1896 (Boston); Emil Paur, conductor
Amy Beach was the first American woman to succeed as a composer of larger orchestral forms. Even as a child born with immense musical talent – perfect pitch, unusual keyboard facility and a gift for composition – Beach was mature enough to recognize that a career in music would be a problem for a woman during an era when a woman’s role was deemed as purely domestic, reinforced by her parents. But a professional musical career was a strong draw for her and despite the limitations of her family and society, Amy succeeded.
Her childhood and early teens were devoted to piano studies. She made her piano debut at age seven. At age 16, Amy’s mother allowed her to play Moscheles’ Second Piano Concerto with orchestra in which she received enthusiastic reviews. In 1885, she made her début with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Critics called her playing of Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto “perfect.”
At the age of eighteen Amy married Henry Harris Aubrey Beach, M.D., 25 years her senior and her new authority figure. He wanted Amy to limit her performing and concentrate on composition under her new name Mrs. H. H. A. Beach. Amy was denied a composition teacher, so she used her natural talents to successfully teach herself composition and orchestration.
During her 25 years of marriage, Amy Beach composed not only the Gaelic Symphony and a piano concerto but also songs, chamber, choral and solo piano music. Widowed at 43, she went to Germany to present her compositions and revive her career as a pianist, under the name Amy Beach. On her triumphant return to Boston in 1914, she devoted herself to concert tours and composition, completing the balance of her three hundred works, almost all published and performed. Long a hero to women composers, she died 1944 in New York City at the age of 77.
Beach’s Gaelic Symphony of 1896 drew on Irish thematic material as a source and model, reflecting her own heritage. This was a massive milestone in women’s music as Beach became the first American woman to compose and then further publish a symphony. Dedicated to Emil Paur, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, it was first performed on 30th October 1896 by the Boston orchestra, which repeated it four times. During Beach’s lifetime, the symphony was given by the Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Hamburg, and Leipzig orchestras, among others.
When Antonin Dvořák was brought over from Bohemia in 1893 to direct the National Conservatory of Music in New York, he was tasked with sourcing and displaying the issue of American musical nationalism. His advocacy of African and Native American traditional songs as sources for concert music was challenged by Beach, who suggested that American composers choose traditional music from their own heritage. After hearing the Boston première of Dvořák’s Symphony From the New World, Beach was inspired to use four traditional Irish tunes of “simple, rugged and unpretentious beauty” as themes for her symphony. The original themes she composed “in the same idiom and spirit”.
Beach began composing the symphony in 1894 and decided to use a Celtic theme taken from one of her songs. Dark is the Night is about a turbulent sea voyage and provides much of the first movement’s music, its rumbling introduction, the first two themes, and the development section. The closing theme of the exposition, however, is an Irish jig.
The second movement recalls Dvořák in the outer Andante sections flanking an inner scherzo. A lyrical Irish tune played by solo oboe is featured. The middle section is a variation of the borrowed melody.
Beach wrote that the third movement, Lento con molta espressione, conveys “the laments… romance and… dreams” of the Irish people. In two sections, each has an Irish melody as theme.
The entire fourth movement, Allegro di molto, is spun out of two measures from the first movement. Beach writes that it is about the Celtic people, “their sturdy daily life, their passions and battles”. The movement opens with a triumphant martial theme. After its development the orchestra slows down for the second theme, marked by expressive leaps characteristic of Irish melodies. A number of themes enter the mix. The music moves to its heroic close, the whole orchestra uniting for the final time.
Historical Recap: 1894
Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Claude Debussy
Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”, Gustav Mahler
Billboard magazine begins publication
The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling
US experiences first Polio epidemic
Coca-Cola is sold in bottles for first time