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Although composer Amy Beach (18671944) was precociously talented as a pianist (she made her professional debut at 16), she was largely self-taught as a composer. Through a careful study of the masters, she guided herself into a remarkably prolific and successful career. Her Gaelic Symphony, performed in 1896 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, was the first symphonic work by an American woman. Later identified in print as Mrs. H. H. A. Beach, she produced many other orchestral works as well, along with songs, piano pieces, choral works, and even a one-act opera, most in an unpretentious Romantic vein a catalog of more than 300 published compositions.
Some of Beach's most important work was written for solo piano. This volume of her piano music includes a rich selection of the elegant, stylish miniatures for which Beach is best known. Among them are Ballad, Op. 6; InAutumn, Dreaming, and Fire-Flies, all Op. 15; Barcarolle, from Op. 28; the well-known Scottish Legend, Op. 54, No. 1; the evocative A Hermit Thrush at Morn, from Op. 92; and more. Pianists and other music lovers are certain to prize this convenient, modestly priced compilation of works by an important, unjustly neglected American composer.