At age one she could sign forty tunes. At age two she could improvise a countermelody to any tune her mother sang. At age three she taught herself to read. At age four she was composing simple waltzes. Yes, Amy Beach started out as a real child prodigy.
Beach's concert career reached a halt when she married the Boston surgeon Dr. Henry Harris Aubrey Beach and promised him she would limit herself to one recital a year, devoting her talents instead to composition. Her first major success was the Mass in E flat Minor, moving her into the rank of America's foremost composers. After her husbands death in 1910 she toured Europe, playing her compositions on the piano at performances across the continent.
Writing mainly in the Romantic genre, Beach is often compared stylistically to Brahms and Rachmaninoff. Later, however, she moved away from tonality, experimenting with whole tone scales and more exotic harmonies. Although her pieces span piano works, choral and chamber music, as well as opera, she is often known today for her songs.
This recording gives a delightful feel for Beach's piano works - listen and imagine this talented woman is performing the pieces herself.