> THE DISTAFF SIDE: SOME BRITISH WOMEN COMPOSERS Scowcroft- Oct 2002 MusicWeb(UK)






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THE DISTAFF SIDE: SOME BRITISH WOMEN COMPOSERS

Our knowledge of British women composers is patchy. Ethel Smyth, who wrote much autobiographical material, some of it reissued from time to time, is well documented and I myself have written about Liza Lehman, Amy Woodforde-Finden and Maude Valerie White for the BMS Newsletter. We are also reasonably familiar with the output of more modern figures like Elizabeth Lutyens, Elizabeth Maconchy. her daughter Nicola Le Fanu, Grace Williams, Thea Musgrave. Phyllis Tate and Judith Weir. But there are many others who come chronologically somewhere in between who are more shadowy. As an exception from this Rebecca Clarke, the subject of an article in the BMS Journal by Michael Ponder and a BMS Cassette and recordings by others. Most, though not all, of the following were active in the 1920s as well as before and after.

We begin with Susan Spain-Dunk, born on 22nd February 1880 (not 1885 as some references have it), the daughter of a Folkestone alderman. A Violinist and viola-player, she was educated at the Royal Academy of Music, studying violin and, with Stewart Macpherson and Richard Walthew composition, and where she earned sundry prizes and, later in life, taught harmony and composition. She won a Cobbett competition with her Violin Sonata No. 1 in B Minor and played viola in Cobbett's own quartet. Other chamber works included a Piano Trio in A Minor, also a Cobbett prizewinner, a Wind Quintet and a Phantasy Quartet for strings in D minor. The latter, also obviously Cobbett-inspired, was described by Cobbett himself as "full of poetry and charm", It begins with a sonata exposition followed by a slow section introducing a "third subject", the development treats all three subjects and the recapitulation leads to a coda based on the slow interlude. Other instrumental pieces (she appears to have published little, if any, vocal music) included the Spanish dance Junbar, Opus 57, for violin and piano (six other Spanish Dances appeared for piano solo in 1936 and at least four of these came out for orchestra as well), Two Pieces for violin and viola a Petite Serenade for flute and piano and Winter Song for cello and piano, published in 1938.

Orchestral music and its performance carries greater fame and prestige, however, and it was no doubt a highlight of her career when she conducted her own works at the Henry Wood Proms. in the four successive summers 1924-27. In 1924 it was a Suite for Strings, after which Wood invited her to write a piece especially for the concerts, with the result that in 1925 her Idyll, also for strings, and a Romantic Piece, for flute and strings, were both premiered. In 1926 the overture Kentish Downs received its first airing and 1927 the Symphonic poem after Tennyson, Elaine. Also in 1927 she conducted two of her compositions (including Kentish Downs) at the Bournemouth Festival. Other orchestral Compositions included The Water Lily Pool for flute, harp and strings, premiered by the British Women's Symphony Orchestra, an overture The Farmer's Boy, scored for just flute land strings and played at the 1929 Eastbourne Festival, the Two Scottish Pieces (KBy St. Mary's Loch and Kerrera) for small orchestra, the symphonic poem Stonehenge, the Cantilena for Clarinet and orchestra, the Four Spanish Dances for small orchestra, already mentioned, and two others with a flavour of her native Kent: the "fantasie" Weald of Kent, for an unusual orchestra of single woodwind (plus a second clarinet), three saxophones, two horns, two trumpets, trombone, timpani, percussion and strings; and the overture Andred's Weald, broadcast in 1927 and later conducted by her in the Royal Artillery Theatre, Woolwich, she apparently being the first woman to conduct a military orchestra. It is not clear whether this connection brought about the two overtures she composed for military band. She died on 1st January 1962 aged 81.

Dorothy Howell was born in Handsworth, Birmingham on 25th February 1898 and died as recently as 12th January 1982. She is buried, as Elgar is, at St. Wulstan's. Little Malvern and appropriately so, in view of the attention she gave the Elgar grave in her latter years. She, too, studied at the RAM, under John McEwen and Tobias Matthay. Recognition came to her at an early age with a piano recital at the Aeolian Hall in March 1918 and, as far as her compositions are concerned, with the performance at the Henry Wood Proms of her 12 minute long symphonic poem Lamia in 1919. This was scored for a large orchestra and was liked so much that it was repeated within three days and received three more performance in 1919 and other in later Prom Seasons during the 1920's. It was followed, also at the Proms, in 1921, by the premiere of the orchestral ballet Khoong Shee, in 1923 by her Piano Concerto in D minor, in which she took the solo herself, and in 1928 (at the Last Night, no less) by the overture The Rock. In later years Havergal Brian, writing in Musical Opinion, praised the concerto for its poetry, its deft harmonic touches, its "masculinity (is there a hint of patronage here?), its facility in serving (the brass was apparently used with particular eloquence) and for its "constructive mastery", although he implied that its ideas might have been expressed more concisely. Howell's Three Divertissements were commissioned for an Elgar Festival in 1950. But long before that she had gone back to the RAM to become Professor of Harmony and Composition, a position she held for 46 years up to 1970. Howell also taught at the Tobias Matthay Piano School, the Birmingham School of Music and the Montpellier Music School in Cheltenham. Right up to the time of her death he continued to produce music, especially in the smaller forms and for children, like the sets of Pieces for the Bairns (for piano) and the brief songs suitable for unison singing (e.g. Little Prince and Princess, The Tortoiseshell Cat, Two Frogs,My White Lady and Weathercocks) in two parts such as The Bears, The Little Round House, The Spring,The Muffin Man,Summer and the carols The Epiphany and Christmas Bells are Ringing. But her smaller scale output included much that was of interest to experience adult performers. Her church music was however mostly largely designed for less experienced choirs. The Apostles' Creed,A Short English Mass, Four Anthems of Our Lady (these for unison voices), Missa Simplex, the motet Oculi Omnium and perhaps even the English Mass for Ampleforth. Havergal Brian reported that her piano pieces - like the Humoresque, the Prelude in F Minor of 1929, the Alla Mazurka, the Toccata and the Five Studies - "oscillate between whimsical gaiety and sadness". He particularly noted the transparent texture of Spindrift and the well sustained elegiac feeling of Boat Song. This latter quality is apparent also in works for violin and piano like Rosalind, Moorings and the Phantasy in G. Minor, which was of course a Cobbett commission, first heard in 1925. Her most ambitious work for violin and piano came later, in 1954, with the Sonata in F minor, which has been revived in recent years by a South Yorkshire-based duo. I know of no string quartet by her, but her Christmas Eve suite (1927) could be performed by either string orchestra or four solo strings. For two pianos she published a Mazurke (1931) and two Recuerdos Precioses.

Jane Joseph (1894-1929) was particularly associated with Gustav Holst, whose pupil she was. Holst later came to rely on her a great deal. From as early as 1916 she was his amanuensis whenever he was suffering from neuritis. She taught him Greek for The Hymn of Jesus, arranged the vocal score of Holst's Ode to Death and provided the words - an adaptation of Grimm - for his choral ballet The Golden Goose in 1928. For Holst, who dedicated to her his Fugal Overture and At The Boar's Head and who was devastated by her tragically early death, she was quite simply "the best girl pupil I ever had ". Imogen Holst said of her that "among his pupils she had come nearest to his ideal of clear thinking" and praised her individuality, courtesy, passion for accuracy and infinite capacity for taking pains. She was educated at St. Paul's Girls' School and Girton College, Cambridge. It is unfortunate that so little of her output achieved publication. Much of it was written for specific, if modest, occasions, like a village church festival or an amateur orchestra's concert or amateur theatricals. Havergal Brian said that her piano pieces were pleasingly simple and unaffected. They included a Suite of Five Pieces and instructional works like the Seven Short Pieces and Scrap Book, about thirty movements in all. Brian also opined that her Bergomask for orchestra, in 5/4 time, was "exhilarating" and "full of promise". A Morris Dance written for a Morley College festival in Thaxted and a mere couple of minutes long shows confident handling of a sizeable orchestra of double woodwind (plus piccolo), four horns, two trumpets, one trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion and strings. Unpublished orchestral music included pieces for strings (Rabbit Dance,Cradle Song, Country Dance and Sonatina) and full orchestra (Symphonic Dance Passepied and the ballet The Ecstatic Shepherd suitable for young performers, plus many arrangements and incidental music for several plays, notably Keats' Countess Cathleen, written when she was at Girton. Her chamber music, a String Quartet, a Miniature Quartet for oboe, violin, viola and cello. a Duet for violin and cello, two short piano trios, an Allegretto for woodwind sextet and Variations on an American Air, for horn and piano, remained unpublished. Choral music included settings of the Agnus Dei, in three parts, and Ave Maris Stella (four part), many carols and songs for women's voices, both accompanied and unaccompanied, several unpublished cantatas with orchestra, rounds and unison songs, a Venite for chorus and orchestra performed at the Queen's Hall in 1923 and owing much to Tudor models and, perhaps most popular in its day, A Hymn For Whitsuntide (SATB unaccompanied) beginning with the words "Fountain of sweets, eternal Dove!" An English 15th Century poem, A Little Childe There is Ibore, for three female voices and piano (or strings), was written in alternate bars of five and seven beats: "fascinating and original", applauded Havergal Brian, another composer noted for his Originality. Her solo songs, over thirty of them, were largely unpublished; some had orchestral accompaniment.

Another composer whose decease was untimely was Morfydd Owen (1891-1918), Welsh-born and trained at at the RAM and the producer of a considerable number of piano pieces, a few works for orchestra, a large-scale cantata Pro Patria and, above all, solo songs, 28 of which are listed in the BBC Music Library Catalogue. She has however been adequately dealt with comparatively recently and I need say no more.

Then there is the case of Mary Anderson Lucas (1882-1952), who studied in Dresden and later at the RCM under Herbert Howells and R.O. Morris. She married early (1903) and retires from composition for a while but later managed to produce, an often advanced harmonic idiom, a ballet Sawdust (1941), which achieved a certain popularity, Variations on a Theme of Purcell for string orchestra, six string quartets, a Trio for clarinet, viola and piano, a Rhapsody for flute, cello and piano and many songs.

There are other composers who were active during the first two decades of the present century about whom it is less easy to find details. What of Desiree Macewan, whose orchestral Clam Var was premiered at the Henry Wood Proms 1921 and whose only published work I have discovered is the Summertime Farcus for piano solo and whose movement titles ( July, Peaseblossom Dances, To An Old Doll and The Dream Fairy) suggest that it was aimed primarily at children? Macewan's style was often light as the syncopated piano piece Sweet Lavender, reminiscent of Billy Mayerl, shows. Another lady who specialised in the syncopated style was Raie de Costa (1907-34), from South Africa and of Portuguese extraction, who lived in London latterly and made over a hundred piano recordings for Parlophone before her untimely death. Not all were her own compositions by any means, but these included, for piano, titles like Kute and Kunning, Parade of Pied Piper, Razor Blades and A Toyland Holiday. I myself have heard At the Court if Old King Cole in a piano format - a scintillating up-tempo version of the nursery rhyme tune written in the last year of her tragically short life - although the BBC Catalogue lists it in its Songs volume along with another song Mandragora. Still another composer of this type was the Irish-born Patricia Rossborough (1900-92) who was classically trained at Birmingham under Bantock but who in the 1930s made a hundred records for Parlophone of the pop repertoire of the day, including a couple of her own compositions: Hong Kong Haggis´ and Darts and Doubles. She also published a song, You Wouldn't and, for piano, an Irish Country Dance.

What of Mary Callendar, whose Suite for orchestra was done on the BBC on 5th June 1936, but who otherwise is a mystery? Or of Muriel Foster, one of the greatest of English contraltos, who had of her compositions-unspecified but probably songs - performed at the Wigmore Hall in June 1917? Or Emily Josephine Troop, whose song Unless was advertised in May 1904? Or Ivy Herbert, a prolific composer of piano pieces, plus songs like Jenny Kiss'd Me, The Linnet and A Widow Bird Sat Mourning, all three of them published in 1947? Miriam Hyde composed a Piano Concerto performed on the BBC in 1936, also a fantasy, Romantic, for piano and orchestra, piano solo like A River Idyll, Spring and Memories of a Happy Day and partsongs like the five part The Illawarra Flame. Them we have Dorothea Hollis, whose Sonata was published, Kathleen Dorothy Fox (1894-?), who had a viola Sonata broadcast from Bournemouth, Dorothy Goodwin-Foster (1889-?) and Clare Kathleen Rogers both of whom produced violin sonatas; Fiona McCleary (1900-?), composer of a String Quartet, music for piano and cello and a Violin Sonata; and M.E. Marshall, whose works include two string Quartets (one of them abased on the song of a wood pigeon - shades of Messiaen, maybe?) a Dance Phantasy Trio which won a Cobbett Prize, two violin sonatas and the nine solo piano pieces entitles Country Life. Avril Gwendolen Coleridge-Taylor (1903-?), who inherited some of her father's talent for composition, was an experience conductor and wrote orchestral and instrumental music and songs like April, Who Knows?, The Dreaming Water Lily and the two part O'er All the Hilltops, to Longfellow's words. Edith Swepstone had orchestral music performed at Bournemouth and chamber music aired at the South Palace Concerts and also wrote songs and choral music. Ethel Barns (1880-1948), a concert violinist trained at the RAM and who toured widely from 1896 onwards, composed a Concertstück for violin and orchestra, premiered at a 1907 Prom (she also wrote a Violin Concerto first played at Bournemouth) and published songs like the very popular Soul of Mine, recorded by Louise Kirkby Lunn, and violin and piano pieces like Swing Song and L'Escarpolette, her compositions also included two trios, a Phantasy for two violins and piano, five violin sonatas and a Humoresque said to resemble Dvorak's more famous example. Mary Henrietta Muckle, born in 1880 was a fine cellist and a useful composer for her instrument; we may instance the Two Fancies. Edith Grey's piano solos By Llanberis Lake, Op. 16 and The Restless Sea were advertised in 1931. Agnes Lambert (1860-?)produced a Piano Trio, a masque Love and the Dryad, a "mystery play" The Holy Angels (published in 1926) and songs like The Holiday Song. Kathleen Bruckshaw (1877-1921), a pianist pupil of Busoni, had her Piano Concerto in C Major played at the Proms in 1914; she is also credited with a Piano Quintet, a Violin Sonata and much piano music including two Romances, Moods, Five Impressions, Wind Over a Moorland Trek and In Remembrance (i.e. of Edward Macdowell). So many female composers never pursued their art, For example in the RAM students concerts in the twenties one comes across Evangeline Liven's The Shadowy Hills and A Memory for violin and piano, part of a Piano Sonata by Doris Shopland and Gladys Mary Williams' songs and Six Little Miniatures. But who knows anything of any of these? Generally speaking this could be asked of almost anyone in this paragraph.

Dora Estella Bright (1863-1951) we do know a little more about. Born in Broomhill, a suburb of Sheffield, she studied at the RAM - piano and, with Ebenezer Prout and George Macfarren, composition, though at one time she studied harmony with Moszkowski. She gave a pioneer series of piano recitals of British music and was the first woman to be asked to compose for the Royal Philharmonic Society. She wrote three opera, 12 ballets (including A Dance Adventure, Camorgo, and The Faun, some of them produced at the Empire and the Coliseum and later in New York), two piano Concertos, the first of them played by her at a Prom under Henry wood and in Germany under Reinecke, orchestral suites (the Proms heard the Suite Bretonne for flute and orchestra in 1917), chamber music (suites for flute and piano and for violin and piano were published, also a Polka a la Strauss for violin but a Piano Quartet remained in manuscript), piano music and songs with animal connotations: The Donkey, The Ballad of the Red Deer and the cycle of Six Jungle Book songs. She married Colonel Wyndham Knatchbull, a Crimean veteran, of Babington (Somerset), which village she made into a house of good music, notably G. & S. and her own.

Augusta Holmès (1847-1903) we also know plenty about - she even figures in The New Grove - but she appears here only by virtue of her Irish parentage. striking both in looks and personality, she was born and died in Paris and her music is really part of the French tradition. A pianist child prodigy, she was a pupil of César Franck, who was infatuated with her. Her compositions were many and included many large scale ones. Operas, for example, La Montagne Nove was produced at the Paris Opera in 1895, but Héro et Leandre (1875, in one act), Astarte and Lancelot du Lac were never staged. Holmes' many choral works included the early psalm In Exitu (1873), the Triumphal Ode performed at the Paris Exposition in 1889, a Hymn to Peace sung in Florence the following year and the cantatas Ludus Pro Patria, La Chanson de la Caravane, The Vision of St. Theresa, Retour, Lutine and La Fleur de Neflier. Her orchestral pieces included the "programme" symphonies Lutece (1879) and Les Argonauts, which included a part for chorus, a Andante Pastorale and the Suite, Land of the Blue Sky. As befits a Franck pupil, she produced several symphonic poems: Les Sept Ivresses (1883). Orlando Furioso, Pologne (1883), Au Pays Blue, Andromede (1901) and, best known of all, L'Irlande(1882), whose instrumentation features two cornets as well as the standard late 19th Century orchestra. Smaller scale items included well over a hundred songs, notably Noel, still in print and, for solo piano Polonaise and Reverie Tzigane.

I can add little or nothing to Gerald Leach's notes on Marian Ursula Arkwright (1863-1922), Rosalind Frances Ellicott (1857-1924), Isobel Skelton Dunlop (1901-75), Kate Fanny Loder (1825-1904), Clara Angela Macirone (1821-1914) and Marie Würm (1860-1938). Marjory Kennedy Fraser (1857-1930) and Maude Valerie White (1855-1937) I have dealt with in separate articles.

But Freda Swain, born in Portsmouth in 1902, Helen Perkin and Teresa del Riego (1876-1968) are worth more than passing mention. Swain was education at the Tobias Matthay School and the RCM, where she was a composition student of Stanford and earned many awards including the Sullivan Prize in 1921. She became a Professor at the RAM from 1924 to 1940 and began the British Music Movement in 1936. A pianist who toured South Africa and Australia and who broadcast in those countries and on the BBC, her compositions were profile and show a distinctively English flavour and a sure grasp of form. They comprise: and opera, Second Chance, premiered in a concert performance at Bath in 1955, two piano concertos, a Clarinet Concerto, a Pastoral Fantasy, the tone poem for violin and orchestra, The Harp of Angus, and other orchestral works, anthems, e.g. Breathe on Me, Breath of God and A Gaelic Prayer; hymns; over a hundred songs like Blessing, Experience, The Lark on Portsdown, The Green Lad From Donegal and Winter Field and settings of Burns, Bridges and Housman; instrumental works for organ (A Country Pastoral: 1957), for piano (e.g. The Windmill, the Two South Africa Impressions - Mimosa and The Lonely Dove - the "sonata poem, The Sea, a Sonata-Saga, Sonatina, a Scherzo for three (!) pianos and a Sonata in F Minor), for stringed instruments (e.g. duets for two violins, two violin sonatas in C Minor and in B Minor, subtitled The River, a Cello Sonata in C, viola pieces - English Reel and Song at Evening and a Danse Barbare for violin and cello) and for wind instruments, including several pieces for clarinet and piano, of which The Willow Tree (1948) and the brief Contrasts (1953) were edited by Frederick Thurston.

The case of Helen Perkin is an interesting one. She was a pupil of John Ireland and is said to have inspired his Piano Concerto - she certainly played the premiere of this at the Proms in 1930 and on many subsequent occasions. She also composed. As early on 1931 her solo song The Ride By Night appeared in a Doncaster concert. There were a number of published piano solos like Episode, Four Prelude (subtitled Cortege, The Wheel, Shifting Sands and Ambush - and a genre piece The Village Fair (1934) in three sections "The Crystal Gazer", "The Puppet Show" and "The Acrobats". She even figures in the brass band world, her Carnival being the test piece in the Open Championships of 1957 and Island Heritage at the same Championships five years later. I have been unable to establish whether she himself scored these pieces and others like the Cordell Suite and the Three Pieces, also for brass band, possibly from piano originals, but it seems unlikely in view of the specialised nature of brass band instrumentation - her mentor John Ireland of course wrote two fine works for the medium. Unpublished was the children's ballet for violin, clarinet, bassoon and piano, entitled King's Cross: noting to do with railways, however, as it is subtitled "Calamity at Court"!

 

Before we deal with del Riego, five ladies still alive are worth a mention, Mary Chandler, born in 1912, was an oboist, being a member of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra 1944-58. Her compositions unsurprisingly include several for her instrument. Holiday Tunes, Three Dance Studies and a Suite arranged from Purcell's Orpheus Britannicus, all with piano and a Concerto for oboe d'amore and strings. She has also been active in the field of choral music, having produced a number of cantatas, a Nativity Ode, Tobit's Hymn Rejoicing and shorter items, both sacred and secular, for S.A.T.B. (A Prayer For Rejoicing), two-part voices (Glory Be To God For Dappled Things) and The Solitary Reaper) and unison voices (I Love All Beautiful Things; Meg Merrilees). She has also composed chamber and orchestral music, some of it heard on the BBC, and songs, too. In 1990 I heard her seven piece cycle The Tune of Waiting and was impressed with its grateful writing for the oboe.

For every ten, or even hundred, of us who know Jennifer Bate (born 1944) as one of our finest organists - she is a member of the British Music Society - there can be scarcely one who knows she has composed and published pieces for the organ, like the Introduction and Variation on an Old French Carol and the Toccata on a Theme of Martin Shaw. Edwina Palmer has produced a number of pieces especially for strings and for amateur performers, like the orchestral Christmas Overture and Two Christmas Pieces (1953), the Eight Melodic Pieces for violin and piano and Rhymes and Rhythms for concerted violins.

The fourth of these is Pamela Harrison, born in Orpington (Kent) in 1915 and education at the RCM 1932-6, where she was much influenced by Gordon Jacobs. She later married the conductor Harvey Phillips and had two sons by him before the marriage broke up. Both sons had compositions written in their honour. A Suite For Timothy, for strings (1953), I recall hearing at Cambridge in the 1950s played by the Harvey Phillips Orchestra - pleasant listening in its rather astringent way, not unlike Jacob in fact. A Present for Paul (1954-6) was a setting of eight poems of Walter de la Mare, one of several song cycles by Harrison (two others, The Dart Forest, six poems of Edward Thomas and Six Poems of Baudelaire, had string orchestra accompaniment). Other orchestra works by her have included a Suite, a symphonic poem, Evocation of the Weald, a Concertante for piano and strings and Brimstone Down for small orchestra (1958); but much of her work has been achieved in the sphere of chamber music. A Quintet for flute, oboe, violin, viola and cello (surely a little "top" heavy) and a String Quartet both appeared in 1944, a String Trio in 1945. These were quite short, the Quintet playing for fourteen minutes, the Trio for eleven. They were followed by a Woodwind Quartet (1948), a Clarinet Quintet (1956), a Piano Trio (1967) and a Quartet for flute, violin, cello and piano (1968). She has also written a considerable number of short pieces for solo instrument with piano: a Lament for viola, a Sonnet and other pieces for cello, Badinage for flute, Chase A Shadow for Oboe, Drifting Away for clarinet and Faggott Dance (!) for bassoon and the six diversions entitled Anderida for piano solo again appear to derive inspiration from her native Kent.

And so finally among these five women to Joyce Howard Barrell, born in Salisbury in 1917, but latterly living in Suffolk, who has spent much of her life after study with Benjamin Burrows and Harold Craxton in various teaching positions, especially of the guitar. Many of her compositions are instrumental including several for guitar: the Eight Studies, Opus 31, the Four Soliloquies, Opus 64, The Three Inns, Opus 48, for two guitar and Strata, Opus 40, for three guitars. But other instruments have been favoured. Piano, for instance - the Tanzmusik, Opus 33, The Fires, Opus 51 Fragments, Opus 28 and Four Contrasts, Opus 52. Or flute - the Dialogues for flute and viola da gamba, Opus 20, Aerial for flute and piano, Opus 65 and the Trio, Opus 10 for recorders. Or harp: a Prelude, Opus 23. As the titles of many of the above suggest, her music is short breathed; it is also eclectic in style and suitable for amateurs. This was certainly true of the Ukrainian Sketches, Opus 32 for string quartet I heard a year or two ago in Doncaster, four brief movements taking 7˝ minutes and very folk-based (there were also the Ukrainian Impressions, Opus 37 for woodwind). Slightly longer works for strings included a String Trio, Opus 36, a Trio for clarinet, viola and piano, Opus 44 and a Duo for violin and piano Opus 83, Barrell's vocal pieces have included songs for children's voices (e.g. The Bat and The Harvest Mouse) a number of solo songs like Slow, Slow Fresh Fount, to words by Ben Jonson, and Are They Shadows? and church music of which we may instance the carol A Child of Our Time Opus 43 and the anthem (SATB voices, unaccompanied) Be Welcome in This House.

To come now to Teresa del Riego, she was a popular and reasonably well documented composer of ballads. There were many others, like Lehman and Woodforde-Finden, who have had articles to themselves in the Newsletter and lesser known ones like Edith Wyburd Farrell, whose songs Lullaby and Caprice were sung by the distinguished soprano Leila Megane at two separate Doncaster Corn Exchange celebrity concerts in 1921-22 and dozens of similar figures active in the Victoria and Edwardian periods, like Guy d'Hardelot (Helen Guy), composer of Because and other songs, Frances Allitsen (1849-1912), who wrote The Lute Player, Lady John Scott (1810-1900), composer of Think On Me, and Lucy Broadwood (1858-1929), a folk song collector who composed songs of her own. Del Riego was herself a Victorian, being born in London on 7th April 1876 of Spanish parents and is remembered today for the still famous Morning. She studied piano, violin, singing and composition in London (at the West Central College of Music) and in Paris. She later sang in public, notably in charity concerts in the two World Wars, even though she was turned 60 by 1939. She was responsible for over 300 compositions, mainly solo songs, the first of them written when she was twelve. Morning appeared in 1917, but her work was well known long before then. O Dry Those Tears, which had sold 33,000 copies in its first six weeks and was soon recorded for the gramophone, Happy Song, To Phyllide and My Gentle Child, among others, all appeared in the programmes of Doncaster "celebrity concerts before the Great War. The first two of these and others, like Thank God for a Garden, sung on record by Herbert Eisdell, and The Madonna's Lullaby were set to her own lyrics. Some songs she grouped into cycles, like Gloria, Children's Pictures (the words are from A Child's Garden of Verse) and Three Stuart Songs. The latter originally had orchestral accompaniment, as did Lead, Kindly Light, In the Wilderness and the patriotic effusions The Unknown Warrior, for the Armistice observance (her husband was killed in the Great War) and The Kings Son, for the Coronation celebrations of Edward VII; Birthday Wishes and invocation used a chorus as well, while The Cherry Tree was favoured with an obbligato for violin or flute. Del Riego - Theresa Leadbitter after her marriage in 1908 - set French, German and Spanish works as well as English. Other popular titles in their day were Harvest, recorded by Louise Kirkby Lunn, Sleep My Heart, King Duncan's Daughter, A Land of Roses, A Garden is a Lovesome Thing, Thank God For a Garden, O Dry Those Tears, Happy Song, Slave Song, Remembrance, Resurrection, A Star was in His Cradle. spring Gardens, To Electra, The Reason and Sink Red Sun, recorded by Phyllis Lett. The Latter was also set for SATB, as were a number of her compositions, both originally and by arranging solo originals (the number of transcriptions of Homing is almost impossible to determine). One or two instrumental pieces may also be mentioned: An Air in E Flat, originally for orchestra but arranged as a solo for violin and cello and a Minuet in A. She died on 23rd January 1968, aged 91.

Del Riego is worth listening to for her gift of melody; most of the others we have discussed at any length in the preceding paragraphs had horizons beyond the domestic ballad. Jane Joseph is for the connoisseur, a feminine reflection of her great teacher's interest, maybe, and worth reviving for that reason, but Freda Swain and Dora Bright for for their all round interests, Susan Spain-Dunk for her knowledgeable string writing and Dorothy Howell for what Havergal Brian called her "grand manner", also merit notice by a British Music Society.

 

The first section of this article looked primarily, though not by any means entirely at British women composers active during the inter-war period. This section concerns itself primarily though again not exclusively with those born or active during the Victorian era.

If one thinks at all about the women composers of that period one tends to assume they purveyed only sentimental ballads and perhaps short genre pieces for piano, for performance in domestic parlours. Up to a point as our examples will show this is true but there were many exceptions. But first let us look at five very popular balladeers: Guy d'Hardelot, Frances Allitsen, Florence Aylward, Katie Moss and May Brahe.

To the extent that Guy d'Hardelot was born Helen Guy in Dieppe in 1858 and studied at the Paris Conservatoire, she was French; but as, after touring with Emma Calvé, she subsequently married a Mr Rhodes and settled in London, we can claim her as English. She composed one operetta, but otherwise her output entirely comprises songs of the ballad type. Some are, as we would expect, in French - Ici-bas, Mignon, Sans Toi, L'Eventail, L'Amour Cache, En Soir et la Nuit and Tristesse - but the majority have English words. Much the best known, and the only one encountered today, is Because (1902), recorded by tenors from Caruso onwards, but others were apparently particularly popular in their time, as they appear in the BBC Catalogue with their accompaniments orchestrated, for example The Curtain Falls, I Hid my Love, The Day, I Know a Lovely Garden, Dreams, In England Now, Three Green Bonnets (recorded by Melba) and You Came to Me. Other titles, such as Beloved I Shall Wait, Dreams of the Dusk, Dawn, Midsummer Dreams, My Heart is Thine, When the Dream is There, Roses of Forgiveness, My Message, Wait (the latter four were all recorded during the Great War), Speak To Me, The Song in My Heart and Love's Dreams also illustrate the sentimentality of her very considerable list of songs. Their good tunes assured their popularity up to the time of the Great War and indeed beyond; she died on 7 July 1936, aged 78.

Like D'Hardelot, Frances Allitsen, born in 1849, is remembered now for just one ballad, The Lute Player, one of about 130 songs and duets she produced before her death on 2 October 1912. Some of them, like Botschaft, Du Hast Diamanten und der Perlea and Der Tod, Das Ist Die Kühle Nacht, had German words. Poetry by Marie Corelli and Tennyson was set. Two other songs, Give a Man a Horse and Psalm 27, originally solos, were later arranged for male voices by Henry Geehl and Doris Arnold (1904-1969) respectively. Besides Psalm 27 and The Lute Player, other popular songs had their accompaniments orchestrated in later years: A Song of Thanksgiving, Love's Despair and There's A land - the first two figured in the Proms in 1904. Other titles included Psalm 62, Two Christmas Songs, Love is a Bubble, Margaret, Break, Diviner Light (also a duet), Prince Ivan's Song, The Lord is My Light, The Sou'Wester, Since We Parted, A Song of the Four Seasons, Youth and Thy Voice is Heard Thro' Rolling Drums. Two cycles, A Lute of Jade (four songs) and Seven Psychological Studies, were attempts to produce something more ambitious in the song line. Allitsen was herself a concert singer, having studied at the Guildhall School. She did not, however, confine herself to songs. During the 1880s she brought out a Piano Sonata (1881) and, for orchestra, a Suite de Ballet and the overtures Slavonique and Undine (both 1884). her cantata For The Queen was performed at the Crystal Palace in 1911 and her works also embraced a "romantic opera", Bindra the Minstrel.

Florence Aylward (1862-?) seems, unlike Allitsen, to have been exclusively a ballad writer. Her Flower Songs were a four piece ballad cycle and other "nature" titles were The Bird I Love The Best, King Winter, Rose Song, Roses of England and Song of the North Wind; especial favourites were Beloved, It Is Mora, Love's Coronation, Silence and Song of the Bow.

Katie Moss, physically attractive and noted as a violinist, pianist and singer, was of course the composer of the ever popular The Floral Dance, beloved of Peter Dawson and many bass-baritones since. A Chart-buster of 1911, this is said to have been written in the train directly after Moss had visited Helston and enjoyed its Furry Dance. The Morris Dancers, another ballad, may have had a similar inspiration; also worthy of mention are Come Away Moonlight (issued, in the best drawing room fashion, with flute, or violin, and cello obbligati), Out of the Silence and the five piece cycle, Dreams of Youth (Faery Song; The Daisy; O Sleep Little Pearl; 'Twas the Witching Hour of Night; The Devon Maid), which I would like the opportunity of hearing sometime. Like Aylward and, generally speaking, d'Hardelot she appears only to have composed songs of the ballad type. Moss died in 1947.

May H Brahe (1885-1956) is famous, once, again, for just one song, Bless This House, which, surprisingly, first appeared as recently as 1927. It has been much arranged for various choral and instrumental groupings, including trombone and piano. Other popular Brahe songs included Down Here, I Passed By Your Window, A Japanese Love Song (which was arranged again by Henry Geehl, as a piano solo), A Prayer in Absence, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, To a Miniature and the two later ones, Listen Mary, and Close Thine Eyes. She, too, produced several song cycles, or song sequences: Beaux and Belles (four songs), By Road and River (5), A Pageant of Summer (6) and Song Pictures, plus a few which were suitable for children like From the Nursery Window (6 songs), Peacock Pie (4), Real Australian Children's Songs (9) and The Fish Shop, made up of items called Cod, Whiting, Salmon, Goldfish, Plaice and Lobster. her works also included a "school cantata", The Magic Wood). Many of her titles like Two Little Words and Life's Balcony, betoken ballads as sentimental as her most famous one, but there are others, like Speedwell, Through the April Meadowsweet and A Little Green Lane which suggest a sensitive response to the countryside, Like many other composers she was attracted to Music When Soft Voice Die. I have found 85 Brahe titles in all. Mary Hanna Dickson, she married twice and was Australian by birth (she died in Sydney) but came to England in 1912.

Other lady ballad composers popular before 1914 or between the wars will have to be dealt with rather more summarily. Virginia Gabriel (1825-77) is one of some twenty English composers to set the Shakespeare lyric Orpheus With His Lute, from Henry VIII (the others included Thomas Arne, Maurice Greene, Sullivan, Vaughan Williams, Frederic Austin, Henry Bishop, Edward German, Eric Coates, Walford Davies, J A Westrup, Edward Bairstow, A H Brewer, Ivor Gurney and Roger Quilter - hers predates some of these settings). Other effusions by her included the more ballad-like Songs Across The Sea, Alone and Yet Once Again. Alison Travers was one who composed songs popular in their day, particularly A Mood and A Thrush's Love Song, but also others like Jim Crow's Alphabet, A Song of Summer and Speak, Earth Speak. She is also credited with two orchestral suites with the Eric Coatesian titles of Compass Suite (North: The Arctic Zone - South: the South Pacific - East: The Chinese Bazaar - West: the Prairie) and May Day Suite (May Morning - Noon Reverie - Around the Maypole), although the orchestrations appear to be by Sidney Baynes, probably from piano originals.

Besides Gabriel and Travers there was Una Gwynne, composer of January and the two-part Chattering Magpie, Diane Methold, who set Down By The Salley Gardens and A Piper, both of them known in more celebrated settings by others, Vivien Lambelet, whose large song output included Memory, Ribbons, Faint Heart, Derry-Down, The Wayfarer's Song (from the film The Glass Mountain), Six Nursery Rhymes, also a Spanish Intermezzo for strings and Dorothy Parke, whose output embraced solo songs like St Columba's Poem on Derry, A Song of Good Courage, The House and The Road, The Road to Ballydare and To The Sailors and choral miniatures like A Snowy Field (1951) and Wynkyn, Blynkyn and Nod (1949). Muriel Herbert's titles included Violets, Fountain Court, The Lake Isle of Innisfree, Contentment, Have You Seen But a White Lily Grow? and the familiar Housman words Loveliest of Trees: clearly her taste in lyrics was above the average. Ivy Frances Klein, born in 1895, also had a go at setting Music When Soft Voices, along with Windless Day, Corpus Christi Carol (1948), The Foolish Lover, A Pedlar and much else. Katherine Barry produced Invitation, My Happy Garden and from Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale, Daffodils, Maud S Baxter Across The Valley, Emilie Clark Sincerity and Heart's Delight and Molly Carew many modest hits, among them Love's A Merchant, The Market, Sunday, Tiptoe and The Dorothy Perkins Rose. Olive Turner wrote instrumental music (her Arundel Suite was arranged for orchestra) and two of her song cycles, Bird Notes and Three Spingling Songs are intriguing (what is "spingling" - not a word known to my Chambers dictionary - and how near to Messiaen did the former get?) Maud Crask Day is still appreciated for her Arise O Sun, often sung in a choral arrangement, but there were many other songs, like Spring's A Dancer, Beyond the Stars, Bachelors of Devon and, suitable for children, perhaps, Fairy Shoon and Billsticker Joe. Sylvia Mortlake's John o'Devon, Josephine McGill's Duna, Marjorie Meade's Jean, Alicia Needlow's Husheen, sung by Clara Butt, and Fairy's Lullaby and Kathleen Heron-Maxwell's Keep on Hopin' all sold many copies in their day.

Mrs Charles Barnard was born Charlotte Alington in Louth (Lincolnshire) in 1830, but she usually published her songs under the pseudonym of Claribel. Easily the most famous of them was Come back to Erin, published in 1866, just three years prior to her early death. Augusta Mary Wakefield (1853-1910) composed songs, like the "Spanish ballad" No Sir and the duet The Rush Bearing, and also choral songs. Sophia Julia Woolf (1831-93) is credited with piano pieces and a comic opera Carina, besides the usual solo songs.

Besides Frances Allitsen several lady song composers of the Victorian era (and the next) established reputations as professional performers. Clara Kathleen Rogers, born in Cheltenham in 1844, was the daughter of the composer John Barnett and studied at Leipzig with Moscheles and David and later in Berlin. She sang in opera in Italy and then went to America. She died in Boston in 1931, aged 87. In the States she established a wide teaching connection and also published songs, pieces for piano, violin and cello and several books about singing. Clara Novello Davies (1861-1943) was born Clara Davies in Cardiff and assumed the name Novello because of Clara Novello a famous mid-Victorian soprano. Davies not only sang in public but also conducted choirs, especially the Royal Welsh Ladies' Choir, which she formed and toured with world-wide, earning prizes with them at the Chicago World's Fair (1893) and the Paris Exposition of 1900. She also published a book on singing, You Can Sing, an autobiographical volume The Life I Have Lived and many songs, including a Voice From the Spirit, The Vigil and Comfort. Not one of the latter however enjoyed one-tenth of the popularity of countless songs by her son Ivor Novello. Charlotte Helen Sainton-Dolby (1821-85), wife of the violinist Prosper Sainton, was RAM trained contralto and much admired by Mendelssohn, who is supposed to have written the contralto role in Elijah with her in mind, though she did not sing at its premiere. After her retirement she turned to teaching and published a singing tutor and several choruses and solo songs, including Bonnie Dundee, although the attribution of this to her is considered to be doubtful. And finally among this group, though of a later generation, let us notice in more detail, Barbara Reynolds, née Florac (1892-1977), the wife of Alfred Reynolds whose career I outlined in the BMS Journal (Issue 10, pp 37-46) and whom she met while she was understudying the role of Nadina in Oscar Straus' The Chocolate Soldier, which Alfred was conducting. Barbara and Alfred lived together only briefly, though no divorce ever took place.

Barbara, born in America, of Anglo-Irish parents, learnt first the violin, then the piano - which she played particularly well - before taking up singing professionally at the age of 16, with a company singing the musical comedy Our Miss Gibbs. Her first song Serenade, was written the previous year (1907) and had words by her brother. Two others from 1923, My Dream and The Fairy Maiden, set lyrics by her mother; for most of her later songs she turned to better known literary sources, often high in quality. Two of them, The Lord Is My Light (1924) and Seek Ye The Lord (1932) were Biblical. Then as part of a mini-burst of song-writing in the years 1933-6, there were four Shakespearean settings. It Was a Lover and His Lass, Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind and O Mistress Mine, all of which were sung by the great tenor Heddle Nash, and Sigh No More Ladies. Also from that period came three lighter effusions, What Are Little Girls Made Of?, Snowflakes and Robbing Orchards. Although she continued to pursue a career as a professional singer, no more songs appeared until 1944-5 when no fewer than thirteen were composed, although only two, Little Lamb Who Made Thee? (to Blake's words from Songs of Innocence, and a delightful ballad-like number) and the charming unison song, Duck's Ditty (to words from Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows) which was taken up by the popular Kirkintilloch Junior Choir, directed by Sir Hugh Roberton. In recent years it has been recorded by Doncaster's St Peter's Junior School Choir who have performed it many times in concert, were published. Three of the remainder had Italian words by d'Annunzio, de Medici and Carducci (her daughter was and is a noted Anglo-Italian scholar), and three more were Shakespearean; another setting of O Mistress Mine, Come Away Death and Take, O Take, Those Lips Away. It was perhaps too much too expect her settings of Go Not Happy Day, A Piper and Have You Seen But a White Lily Grow?, good though the first two at least are, to make headway against the already well-established versions of these lyrics by, respectively, Frank Bridge, Michael Head and "Anon"; but it seems a pity that Green Candles, to words by Humbert Wolfe and Four-leaf Clover (Ella Higginson) did not achieve wider currency. Her songs number 25 in all; although Little Lamb looks at first sight rather sentimental (in fact it is not), the best of her output show an undoubted gift for vocal writing, which, not unnaturally, many experienced singers have had, while several of the piano accompaniments, which are by no means simple, certainly sparkle. Heddle Nash spoke highly of the Italian songs, Go Not Happy Day and, especially so, Come Away Death among the later songs, while of the earlier It Was A Lover and His Lass, written for him and which he sang very frequently, often as an encore, he wrote that "never once has it failed me". (It has been revived in Doncaster in recent years). Later in life Barbara turned to poetry, two little collections, Now I Am Eighty and Finale, pleasant, if slight, and mostly light-hearted, being circulated privately and issued under her maiden name as her daughter was already well known in her own field under the name of Barbara Reynolds; but she wrote no more songs. It seems to me that all the Shakespearean songs at least are worthy of revival.

Evelyn Sharpe, who is not to be confused with Evelyn Sharp (1869-1955, writer, suffragette sister of Cecil of folk song fame and librettist of Vaughan Williams' opera The Poisoned Kiss) produced much vocal music, literally hundreds of songs and carols. Many of them, like The Three Candlelight Songs, Nightlight Land (5 songs), Four Songs of Adoration and the "carol Nativity Mime" The Way to Bethlehem were particularly suited to children perhaps to sing in unison. Best known of her many ballad-like songs were When The Great Red Dawn is Shining, Fionnphort Ferry, When the World Was a Garden of Love, The Bubble Song, Water Meadows, Husheen Husho, Where the Milestones End and Hambledon Lock. Some of them, like The Thrush and Go Down to Kent in Lilac Time, were also duets or two part choral pieces. Besides the carols there was other church music, notably a Magnificat in C. Her piano pieces, like her songs, often seemed to be slanted towards children as titles like Apple Harvest, The Hum of the Bees and Tales from Toyland would appear to suggest. The BBC Orchestral Catalogue includes three topographical studies by her, entitled, Devon, Essex and Hampshire, but the orchestration is by other hands.

Molly Hill (d. 1990) who married in 1922 to Sir Percy Hull (1878-1968), Organist of Hereford Cathedral 1918-49, composed songs for solo voice (e.g. Sprig of Boronia) - three of her songs were performed at a Worcester Three Choirs Festival programme in 1932, and were admired by Elgar - and for chorus (e.g. Let Christmas All, for SATB). She also published a set of Sketches for amateur orchestra, the five movements being entitled Left-Right, Swinging, Lullaby, Patrol and Country Dance. Dorothy Gow was associated with the MacNaghten concerts between the wars; a number of her songs were performed and she had a String Quartet in one movement, published.

Other lady composers concentrated more on instrumental than vocal music. Birkenhead-born Mary Grant Carmichael, who died on 17 March 1935, aged 84, studied piano and composition, mostly abroad but also with Ebenezer Prout in London. Her works included a Mass in E flat, the operetta The Frozen Heart, after Hans Andersen, solo songs, editions of old airs, English and Italian, and partsongs, but they comprised mainly piano solos like for example, the Florentine Sketches, a two-Step and marches dedicated to Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener. She was an accompanist in concert to Liza Lehman and Gervase Elwes, among other singers. Katherine Emily Eggar (1874-?) who was also a pianist, composed songs (e.g. Remember Me, My Dear, Wolfram's Dirge and Curtsey to the Moon), chamber music, including an Idyll for flute and piano, and of course piano pieces like the Two Sketches and a tarantella. Ethel Leginska was born Ethel Liggins (!) in Hull on 13 April 1886 (some sources say 1890). After studying the piano in Frankfurt and Vienna, she made her concert debut in London and later toured Europe and the United States where she eventually settled; she died in Los Angeles in 1970. Her works, most of which date from her time in America, included two operas, orchestral pieces (notably the symphonic poem Beyond the Fields and the fantasy From A Life, for two flutes, piccolo, oboe, two clarinets, string quartet and piano), chamber music, for example a String Quartet and Four Poems for string quartet.

Continuing with this survey of lady pianist-composers, Una Bourne (1883-1974) was an Australian-born pianist active in England from 1912 onwards, She appeared in many recitals and concerts, including one at Doncaster Corn Exchange on 4 November 1915 when she played a Chopin Ballad and her own Gavotte and Scherzo. For the Gramophone she recorded music by Chaminade, Heller, Liszt, Grieg and herself, to wit Caprice, Petite Valse Caprice, Humoreske, Gavotte, A Little Song and Cradle Song. Another pianist who recorded at that time was Dorothy Forster (1884-1950), who produced piano solos entitled Jeanette, Happy Memories and Coquette and had several of her songs recorded in acoustic days, notably Take Me to Flowerland With You, A Psalm of Love, Rose in the Bud, Roses of Memory and Wild, Wild Rose. These songs were mainly of the ballad type and other similar titles were Bleak Winds, Moonbeams, Perhaps, Mifanwy, Rosamond, Your Smile, Dawn and Dusk, Love's Valley, The Song Divine and the four piece cycle, Songs of the Highway. H M Higgs awarded her songs the accolade of an orchestral selection of the most popular of them. From a later generation, the veteran Welsh pianist Eiluned Davies, an advocate in particular for the music of Bernard Van Dieren, in recital, on radio and CD - as we in the British Music Society know - is also a composer. She apparently destroyed her "early" (pre-1939) compositions, but her extant works include a Requiem, which plays for 20 minutes and was revised as recently as 1991, solo songs, works for chorus including a canon, Mice, and a song cycle Glimpses (setting of nine epigrammatic poems for female vocal quartet notable for "delicate textures, lilting dance rhythms and intimate mood" Welsh Music, Winter 1992-3, p. 95. and, for piano solo, an arrangement of Five Traditional European Dances.

Alice Mary Smith (1839-84) later Mrs Meadows White, a pupil of George Macfarren and Sterndale Bennett, is best remembered for the vocal duet O That We Two Were Maying, but her compositions also included three string quartets, four piano quartets, a Piano Trio, a Clarinet Concerto, the Introduction and Allegro for piano and orchestra, a Symphony in C minor, four overtures (Endymion, Lalla Rookh, The Masque of Pandora and Jason) and much choral music including the large-scale cantatas Rudesheim (1865), Ode to the North-East Wind (1878), Ode to the Passions (1882), Song of the Little Baltung (1883) and The Red King (1884): an impressive list. However, her music was said by a contemporary observer to be classic rather than romantic in feel and to be "marked by elegance and grace rather than by any great individuality". Elizabeth Stirling, born in Greenwich in 1819 and 76 when she died, studied organ and piano; becoming Organist of All Saints Poplar between 1839 and 1859 (there were four lady organists in London then and not many anywhere). She studied for the degree of Mus Bac (Oxon) in the 1850s but although she passed the examination - her exercise was a setting of psalm 130 - she was unable to take a degree because women were not to be admitted to degrees at Oxford until 1920, a quarter century after her death. Her compositions were mostly for piano or organ (including Six Pedal Fugues) but a partsong All Among the Barley achieved popularity. Hope Squire (1878-1936) later Mrs Frank Merrick studied with Dohnanyi and Matthay and became a pianist and teacher of some note. She also composed, her songs including Tom Bowling a "tone poem for two pianos", The Variations on Black Eyed Susan, for piano solo and about thirty song titles, including Messmates, which was sung by Norman Allin.

Mary Louisa White, born in Sheffield in September 1866, studied with John Farmer in London and enjoyed some popularity with her "fairy operettas" Beauty and the Beast, Opus 41 and Babes in the Wood Opus 42. For the rest there was an orchestral minuet and scherzo in A flat, plus songs, partsongs, piano solos and piano duets. Janet Mary Salsbury, born at Pershore, Worcestershire, taught music at Cheltenham Ladies' college and published both books - analyses of Beethoven and Mozart piano sonatas - and music, including A Ballad of Evesham for chorus, a song cycle From Shakespeare's Garden (she was apparently a specifically regional composer) and sundry Christmas carols. Dorothy Hogben who was active during the first half of the 20th century, composed solo songs of which The Shawl has been recorded fairly recently by Felicity Lott, and piano music for children, like The Animal Book comprising twenty four pieces in two books, the four movement Our Family, the six movement Punch and Judy Show (for piano duet) and The Pirate Ship. her choral settings included one of The Cherry Tree Carol (SSA, unaccompanied), The Four Sisters (SSA, piano accompaniment), Hymns in Harmony (SSA, also with piano) and, for men's voices, a version of Old King Cole.

In 1991 I heard a shapely piece for salon orchestra My Lady Charming, written in 1918 by one Winifred Howe but information about that lady has been hard to find. Much the same applies to Dorothy Atkinson, born in 1893, who produced for orchestra light pieces such as Summer Sketches and the "valse caprice" Moths Around a Candle, as well as ballads such as The Harvester, A Heavy Dragoon (shades of Patience!), Homage, The Ploughman, When Grannie Was A Girl and Winklepicker Bill. To Dorothea Bancroft, another writer for light orchestra, in the shape of the Intermezzo Arsinoe and the African Suite No 1 (subtitled Swahili Sketches). Marie Dare, born in 1902, produced straightforward light orchestral pieces like the Five Scottish Airs (these are still played) and Three Highland Sketches for strings, Le Lac for violin and piano, a Serenade and a Valse in G major for cello and piano, even a Minuet for double bass and piano and a Short Suite for double bass unaccompanied. A Phantasy Quartet for strings published in 1937 was presumably Cobbett-Inspired. Her best known solo song was When My Love Comes; choirs have sung her setting (SATB) of A Widow Bird Sate Mourning. Miss Dare who died around 1980, taught the cello and worked for much of her life in Edinburgh.

Finally we return to the songsmiths but a songsmith of a slightly different type. Lucy Broadwood who died aged 71, on 22 August 1929 composed songs of her own but like her clergyman father before her, was primarily concerned with collecting and making performable settings of folksongs, ones such as Oh Yarmouth is a Pretty Town, Some Rival Has Stolen My True Love, The Farmer's Boy, The Golden Vanity, The Derby Rum, The Keys of Heaven (it is not known if it was her version that Clara Butt and Kennerly Rumford made so popular), Green Broom, King Arthur, Twankydillo, Young Herehard, A Berkshire Tragedy, King Henry My Son and Sweet Sally Grey. These and other come from two basic collections, English Country Songs (with J A Fuller-Maitland, 1893) and English Traditional Songs and Carols (1908). At the time of her death Broadwood was President of the Folk Song Society, having previously been its honorary Secretary and Editor of its Journal, both posts having been held by her for many years. She, along with Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser, with her many Scots folk arrangements, and Maud Karpeles, were female counterparts of Cecil Sharp, Vaughan Williams and Percy Grainger.

© P L Scowcroft

rev March 1994


 

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