The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Meet Dame Ethel Smyth –- a Victorian feminist and forceful composer as well as an advocate of women’s rights and same-sex relations.

August 12, 2015
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By Jacob Stockinger

You probably don’t know the name Ethel Smyth (pronounced smaith, below).

The Ear certainly didn’t.

ethel smyth

But then he came across this fascinating account of her life and work.

Smythe was friends with Peter Tchaikovsky and Johannes Brahms.

An early feminist leader for same-sex equality, she fell in love with the much younger writer Virginia Woolf.

And her muscular music and politically charged operas reminded people of Richard Wagner.

Now she has been resurrected thanks to Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College who also directs the American Symphony Orchestra and the Bard Music Festival. He staged her 1904 opera “The Wreckers.” (At bottom, you can hear a YouTube performance of the Overture to “The Wreckers.”)

Leon Botstein conducting USE

Tom Huizenga, of the outstanding Deceptive Cadence blog, wrote this profile and appreciation for NPR, or National Public radio:

http://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2015/07/23/410033088/one-feisty-victorian-womans-opera-revived


Classical music: Play the expert insider. Listen to excerpts and then vote in the BBC Music Magazine Awards for 2015.

January 18, 2015
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By Jacob Stockinger

It is the season of entertainment awards, what with the Golden Globes, the Oscars or Academy Awards, and the Grammys among others.

YL Oscar foods statue

grammy award BIG

Those awards are given out by privileged insiders, who work inside the various industries.

But when it comes to classical music, you — and the ordinary listeners or the “common listener,” as writer Virginia Woolf might term it — can also vote in the BBC Music Magazine Awards for 2015.

So here is your chance to play the expert insider.

True, only United Kingdom residents can win prizes. But anyone can listen to the 1,200 entries and vote for the 200 ultimate winners.

Here is a link to the introductory story:

http://www.classical-music.com/news/vote-bbc-music-magazine-awards-2015

And here is a link to the various excerpts:

http://www.classical-music.com/awards

BBC Music Magazine


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