Service : Work information

Composers
Amy Marcy Cheney Beach ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
Erica Johnson (Organ), Harvard University Choir, Murray Forbes Somerville (Conductor)

This work

Work name
Service
Work number
Op. 63
Key
A
Genre
A
Composed
1906-01-01 02:01:00

This recording

Label
ASV
Producer
Lindsay Kemp
Engineer
Patrick Allen
Recording date
2001-06-21 00:01:00

The Composers

Amy Marcy Cheney Beach

Amy Marcy Beach (September 5, 1867 – December 27, 1944), was an American pianist and composer of classical music. She was the first successful female American composer. Many of her compositions and performances were under the name Mrs. H.H.A. Beach.

She was born Amy Marcy Cheney in Henniker, New Hampshire into a family of important political, military, and business figures. A child prodigy, she could sing forty songs by age 1, and composed her first song at the age of 4. She made her professional debut in Boston in 1883 and shortly thereafter appeared as a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Following her marriage in 1885 to Dr. Henry H. A. (Harris Aubrey) Beach, a Boston surgeon 25 years older than her, she agreed to limit performances to one public recital a year and devoted herself instead to composition. After her husband died in 1910, she toured Europe as a pianist, playing her own compositions. She returned to America in 1914, where she spent time at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. She died in New York City.

Her compositions include the Gaelic Symphony (1893), the Mass in E flat Major, a piano concerto, a piano quintet, a quantity of choral music, chamber music (including the Pastorale for winds), piano music, and the opera Cabildo (1932). She was most popular, however, for her songs. Her style of writing is mainly in a Romantic idiom, and is often compared to Brahms, although in her later works she experimented with techniques such as whole tone scales.

On July 9, 2000 at Boston's famous Hatch Shell, the Boston Pops paid tribute to Amy Beach. Her name was added to the granite wall on "The Shell". It joins 86 other composers such as Bach, Handel, Chopin, Debussy, Edward MacDowell, and Beethoven. Amy Beach is the only woman composer on the granite wall.

Track listing

  • Te Deum 9:28 min
  • Jubilate Deo 6:26 min