Sunday, November 2, 2008

Amy Beach in the Classical Music Library

Recently the San Francisco Public Library has begun providing access to databases of streaming audio for library users and library card holders. These databases are African American Song, American Song, the Classical Music Library, Contemporary World Music and Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries. They are all found on the Library's Articles and Database page after following the link for Art & Music.

The Classical Music Library includes 38 works by Amy Beach. To find these works, follow the Search tab on the database's front page. From here it is possible to browse by composer's last name.

It is also possible to create playlists. Library staff have created a short playlist including some of Beach's birdsong-themed piano music, and her Piano Quintet. To listen to this playlist select the "Playlist Folders" tab. At the bottom of this page go to the "Course Folders" and select the playlist entitled Amy Beach.

Performed by Joanne Polk:

1) A Hermit Thrush at Eve, op. 92, no. 1
2) A Hermit Thrush at Morning, op. 92, no. 2
3) A Hummingbird, op. 128, no. 3

Performed by the Endellion String Quartet with Martin Roscoe, pianist.

Quintet in F-sharp minor for piano and strings, opus 67

4) 1st movement: Adagio - Allegro moderato
5) 2nd movement: Adagio espressivo
6) 3rd movement: Allegro agitato

Program cover from the October 28, 1915 San Francisco performance of Beach's Piano Quintet

Beach's music sounds not unlike Brahms, but her harmonic language is somewhat impressionistic like early Debussy. The two "Hermit Thrush" movements incorporate birdsong-like figures into the music, while "A Hummingbird" instead captures the bird's frenetic tempo.

Remember to attend programs of Beach's music and to visit our exhibit--Amy Beach: Her Blissful Years In San Francisco.

Program notes from the October 28, 1915 performance

No comments: