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Hello and welcome to Sticky Notes: The Classical Music Podcast!  This podcast is for anyone who loves classical music, or is just getting ready to dive in for the very first time.  Thanks so much, and I hope you enjoy it!  

Feb 1, 2024

I’ve mentioned Ethel Smyth a few times in the past on this show. This is partly because of her music, and partly because she remains one of the most interesting people who ever lived. She was a composer of course, but she was also a conductor and an author, as well as a political activist. Specifically, she was a suffragette, fiercely advocating for the rights of women to vote in her home country of the UK. As a composer Smyth wrote dozens of works, all of which are starting to become better known as performers and administrators look to bring more music by female composers onto concert stages around the world. Smyth did not have it easy, constantly fighting for her place, battling conductors, other composers, and even her own father, all for the right to be a composer.  Today, after I introduce you to a bit more of Smyth’s amazing biography, we’re going to focus on her first orchestral work, her Serenade in D Major. This is a piece that certainly doesn’t sound like a first orchestral piece, and it is full of all of the qualities that make Smyth’s music so enjoyable to listen to - lush warmth, humor, raucous intensity, and the quiet passion that runs through the music of so many great British composers. Smyth’s Serenade in D is starting to be performed more, and I’m really proud to be using my own recording of the piece for the show today, which I made with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra in 2021. It is only the second professional recording of the piece, and the recording has just been released on Claves Records. So today, we’re going to go through this wonderful piece and also spend some more time in the wild and unpredictable world of Dame Ethel Smyth. Join us!