Amy Beach was a prominent composer of American music during her lifetime. While I was browsing UCLA’s Sheet Music Consortium I was led to some interesting findings. However, much to my disappointment all of the artifacts I found were not accessible online and therefore I felt the need to search outside sources. I browsed the library of congress for Beach’s works. In it I found a sound text that I was familiar with, but in a different musical context. Because of this I was intrigued by it and decided to take a closer look at it. This artifact is Beach’s setting of the Shakespearian text Take, O Take Those Lips Away. This score is the second of three scores from a collection of Shakespearian texts set by Beach. The first and third being O, Mistress Mine, and Fairy Lullaby.
Beach was not only significant because she was a composer of American music, but that she was the first female composer of American music to gain success and recognition in the art music world. She was a musical prodigy. According to Grove Music Online
“At the age of one she could sing 40 tunes accurately and always in the same key; before the age of two she improvised alto lines against her mother’s soprano melodies; at three she taught herself to read; and at four she mentally composed her first piano pieces and later played them, and could play by ear whatever music she heard, including hymns in four-part harmony.”
As a vocalist, it’s hard to believe that these statements aren’t exaggerated, but it certainly emphasizes the point that Beach was an amazing musician who is definitely worthy of our attention as musical scholars.
Beach, H. H. A., Mrs, and William Shakespeare. Take, O take those lips away. Op. 37, No. 2. Arhut P. Schmidt, Boston, 1897. Notated Music. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200215426/>.
“Beach, Amy Marcy.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 23 Oct. 2017.<http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/A2248268>.and .