Mar. 8th, 2017

drplacebo: (Neuro notes)
Almost caught up on past Forgotten Masterpiece Friday posts from Facebook. This one was from January 6, and I thought International Women's Day would be a good time to repost it here.

This week's composer is Alice Mary Smith (1839-1884), who in 1863 became the first British woman to have a symphony performed, and went on to be only the second woman elected to honorary membership in the Royal Academy of Music. Aside from being a woman, Smith also suffers from the relative neglect of Victorian British music in the concert hall; although the operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan are well known, few concert works by British composers of that era are performed with any regularity.

This is Smith's second symphony, composed in 1875-76. It shows the influence of Mendelssohn and Schumann, but also has a distinctly English sound, especially in the final movement. (Note, too, that this symphony was composed the year before W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan began to collaborate regularly!) Don't miss the second movement, which starts out rather understated but blossoms as the orchestration fills out and the melody itself become more expansive.

The recording is by the London Mozart Players, from a disc that also includes Smith's first symphony and a charming Andante for clarinet and orchestra (an orchestration by the composer of the slow movement from her clarinet sonata).

Recording below the cut... )

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Andrew

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