A woman’s chamber music, never heard before

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

If you haven’t heard of Grace Williams, it’s not entirely down to vicious male suppression. The Welsh composer (1906-1977) studied in London with Ralph Vaughan Williams around the same time as Elizabeth Maconchy and Imogen Holst. Women composers were emerging in the 1920s and receiving strong encouragement.

Grace Williams was particularly friendly with Benjamin Britten, as their extant letters attest. She remained in London through the 1930s and was a visible part of its musical life. During the War she began to suffer from depression….

Read on here.

And here.

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  • If you haven’t heard of Grace Williams you obviously haven’t been to Wales, where she is frequently performed. My (Welsh) amateur orchestra alone has played Penillion, Carillons, Sea Sketches and (on many occasions) the Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes (also a favourite with youth orchestras in the Principality). She’s far from forgotten. This is, of course, still a very welcome disc!

  • There is a good, and enjoyable, selection of her music on Lyrita, containing the Trumpet Concerto, Sea Sketches, and Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes.

  • Norman and Slipped Disc have done much to enhance our knowledge of women composers. By all means, carry on doing so!

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