Ethel Smyth, 1858-1944

String Trio in D op.6
  Facsimile of the Autograph


Smyth, String Trio


  Kassel, 2010. 8°, 82 pp. full-color facsimile of the autograph fair copy. Hardbound. $88

ambitious 4 movement trio in D major is full of vitality and displays an extraordinary eagerness to experiment with regard to the specific conditions and potential of the genre. At the same time it is permeated by a kaleidoscopic variety of themes, which is typical for this spirited composer with her broad education. She intentionally takes on the themes from different traditions and uses them to express many facets of her feelings and ability.
      Smyth, Strings Trio, cover


For example, one theme conjures up associations with the popular melody 'Glory, glory, Hallelujah' from the 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' (1862), whose topical significance but also prophetic and revolutionary references from Isaiah 63,3 would have been immediately obvious to the listener of the day. An amusing and bizarre main motif taken from 'The Crabfish', a Scottish folk song whose suggestive text goes back to the novel 'Moyen de parvenir' by François Béroalde de Verville (1556–1626), forms the main theme of the second movement Allegretto grazioso. The Adagio on the other hand contains a very concentrated adaptation of the chorale 'Vater Unser im Himmelreich' by Johann Sebastian Bach. The closing Allegro molto, containing hunting and dance themes, may refer melodically to the English folksong 'The trees they do grow high, and the leaves they do grow green'. The composer's handwriting is clearly formed and very inspiring, so that this facsimile score—in addition to the parts written out in full—will be both helpful to the performing musician and of interest to the musicologist for research purposes.

OMI - Old Manuscripts & Incunabula  PO Box 6019 FDR Station New York NY 10150
tel/fax 212/ 758-1946 • •