Amy Beach Canticles for SATB
Amy Beach Canticles pairs the Nunc Dimittis, one of Amy Beach’s earliest published works of 1891, with a newly-composed Magnificat by Olivia Sparkhall. The adaptation of phrases from Beach’s Nunc Dimittis, combined with portions of Tone VIII, provides a partner which is sympathetic to Beach’s style. The straight-forward SATB a cappella setting makes it ideal for a weekday Evensong, or for a choir of modest forces. A keyboard reduction is provided for rehearsal purposes, or to provide light support in the service if needed.
Amy Beach (1867-1944) was a child prodigy who was accustomed to giving public recitals on the piano from an early age. After initially receiving piano lessons from her mother she continued to study in her native America, benefitting from some composition lessons as a teenager. The education, and recitals, came to an abrupt end when she married, at 18, and was thus expected to behave like a society wife. Her professional musical activities were severely limited during her marriage. Her husband’s death, in 1910 (he was 24 years her senior), gave her the freedom to teach, perform, compose, and publish her work.