Smyth: The Prison (CD) – Sarah Brailey, Dashon Burton

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Item: 095115527924

Description

Smyth: The Prison (CD) – Sarah Brailey, Dashon Burton

Composers: Dame Ethel Smyth
Artists: Sarah Brailey, Dashon Burton, Experiential Orchestra & Chorus
Conductor: James Blachly
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Chandos
CD Release Date: August 7, 2020

August 18th marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Constitutional Amendment, granting women in the US the right to vote. A fitting time, then, for the release of the World Premier Recording of Ethel Smyth’s late masterpiece, The Prison. Smyth left home at nineteen to study composition in Leipzig. In the company of Clara Schumann and her teacher Heinrich von Herzogenberg, she met and won the admiration of composers such as Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Dvorák, and Grieg.

Smyth was the first woman to have an opera performed at the Met, in 1903. (The second was not until over a hundred years later, with Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin in 2016.) Dame Ethel later became central to the Suffragette movement in England, writing the March of the Women. Her gender politics and sexuality were cause for attacks by critics, and she famously went to prison herself for throwing a stone through an MP’s window. Composed in 1930 and premiered in 1931 at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, The Prison is a symphony in two parts, “Close on Freedom” and “The Deliverance,” set for soprano and bass-baritone soloists, chorus, and full orchestra. The text is taken from a philosophical work by Henry Bennet Brewster and concerns the writings of a prisoner in solitary confinement, his reflections on life and his preparations for death.



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History

Music Notes

Most Western music is based on a system of notation that evolved around 1600 out of earlier practices. The starting point for any opera is the full score, which contains all individual voices and instruments arranged in a specific order on the page. The written music—representing the sounds a composer creates in his head—then comes to life performed by singers onstage and played by the orchestra.

 

 

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