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9 - Choral Music

from Part II - Profiles of the Music

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 October 2023

E. Douglas Bomberger
Affiliation:
Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania
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Summary

From the ambitious Mass in E-flat, op. 5 (1890) through Pax nobiscum (1944), choral music played an ongoing role in Amy Beach’s creative life. The works are stylistically varied, ranging from typical Victorian harmonies and textures in the early works, through sacred anthems and services inspired by Anglican choral traditions during her middle period, and finally to spare, harmonically experimental late works. Her most important secular choral works were written during the years of her marriage, when she was also composing her major instrumental works. After the death of her husband in 1910, she turned increasingly to religion for solace and inspiration, finding a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church. Her association with St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York and its music director, David McKay Williams, proved crucial in shaping the music of her later years. The Canticle of the Sun, op. 123 (1924) was exemplary of the sacred choral works that were her most performed compositions in later years.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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