Last time we discussed Amy Beach and her impact on women composers to follow her lead. Living during a time when women were thought to be incapable of creating large-scale works, Amy sought to prove the theory wrong by writing many large-scale works including one we will look at today, her Gaelic Symphony (1896).
Finding inspiration in Dvorak’s New World Symphony, which used plantation songs and Native American melodies, Amy decided to write something drawing from her Celtic heritage. The Gaelic Symphony contains four traditional Irish tunes as themes. Can you hear them?
In total, Amy Beach wrote over 300 works, also including many songs and piano works. Do you have a favorite? Next time, we’ll wrap up our discussion this month by looking at early 20th-century composer Ruth Crawford Seeger.