Why you've never heard of this composer

Title

Why you've never heard of this composer

Description

I appreciate that @BlachlyJames was honest when the NYT asked why he initially hesitated to conduct Ethel Smyth’s work. “I have to confess I had this sense that if I hadn’t heard of her, then she must not be very good.” Suffrage & 🎼🧵👇

Ethel Smyth knew this would happen. “The exact worth of my music will probably not be known till naught remains of the writer but sexless dots and lines on ruled paper.”

In 1903 Smyth was the first woman whose work was performed by @MetOpera - and until 2016, the only.😒 She’s not unrecognized - she was a Dame of the British Empire, and more importantly, she’s got a table setting at the Dinner Party!

In 1910 Smyth saw Emmeline Pankhurst speak, and fell in love with the woman and the cause. They traveled together, often in disguise. Here, Mrs. Pankhurst is being arrested in 1913 outside Smyth’s home - Ethel holding the umbrella; Emmeline on Ethel’s knee.

Smyth’s choral work “March of the Women” became a suffragette anthem. @fafnerthekite recounts that while jailed in 1912, she conducted a chorus of Holloway Prison inmates with a toothbrush. Imagine the fawning if a man wrote an anthem while jailed for acts of conscience.

American suffragists, at least, appreciated Smyth’s work. In 1916 a performance of the March was the centerpiece of a 1,000-guest gala. It honored the Chicago leg of the Suffrage Special, a cross-country journey for the budding National Woman’s Party. #19thAmendment #Suffrage100

Creator

Daily Suffragist

Date

10/08/2020

Files

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Daily Suffragist on Twitter- -I appreciate that -BlachlyJames was honest when the NYT asked why he initially hesitated to conduct Ethel Smyth’s work- “I have to confess I had this sense that if I hadn’t heard of he.png

Citation

Daily Suffragist, “Why you've never heard of this composer,” Daily Suffragist, accessed October 19, 2021, https://dailysuffragist.omeka.net/items/show/479.

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