Sunday, October 12, 2008

Amy Beach at the Panama Pacific International Exposition

Amy Beach (Mrs. H. H. A. Beach) was a regular fixture in San Francisco musical circles during 1915, the year of the Panama Pacific International Exposition. There were numerous salon concerts and receptions honoring Amy Beach and featuring her music throughout the spring and summer of 1915. Her Panama Hymn (op. 74) for mixed chorus and orchestra, organ, or piano, a setting of a poem by Wendell Phillips Stafford, was commissioned for the event. It was performed throughout the duration of the Exposition in an arrangement for military band.

Amy Beach was featured as a composer and pianist at the American Composers Day concert at the Festival Hall on August 1, 1915. Here she performed her Piano Concerto in C# minor, op. 45. On October 28, 1915 the San Francisco Quintet Club performed Beach’s Quintet in F-sharp Minor for Piano and Strings, opus 67 with the composer at the piano. Alfred Metzger wrote in the Pacific Coast Musical Review of November 16, 1915:

Mrs. Beach unquestionably understands how to create emotions of a stirring character. She played this piano part with splendid musicianship, securing from it every musical requirement which the score called for. Mrs. Beach is an executive as well as creative musician, and she is entitled to all the honor and respect which a grateful public is able to bestow upon her. She was surely deserving of the enthusiastic ovation which her audience so readily accorded her.

The San Francisco Quintet later renamed itself the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco and commission Beach’s Theme and Variations for Flute and String Quartet, op. 80.

The Chamber Music Society of San Francisco (1916)

We are very fortunate in San Francisco to have two performances of major works by Amy Beach scheduled for the near future.

The Ives Quartet, consisting of Bettina Mussumeli, violin, Susan Freier, violin; Jodi Levitz, viola; and Stephen Harrison, cello with perform the Quintet in F-sharp Minor with the assistance of pianist William Wellborn at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on October 27, 2008 at 8:00 PM. For more information about the Ives Quartet, visit their website. For ticket information about this concert visit the website for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

On Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 3 PM, Symphony Parnassus will perform Beach’s Piano Concerto with Dan Glover as the piano soloist and Dawn Harms guest conducting. They will perform at the Herbst Theatre at 401 Van Ness Street. Visit the Symphony Parnassus website for ticket information.

Remember to visit our exhibit, Amy Beach: Her Blissful Years in San Francisco, which will be displayed in the Steve Silver / Beach Blanket Babylon Room on the 4th floor of the Main Library through December 4, 2008.

No comments: