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Analytical Essays on Music by Women Composers: Concert Music, 1900-1960

edited by Laurel Parsons & Brenda Ravenscroft

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

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Through musical analysis of compositions written in the first half of the twentieth century, Analytic Essays on Music by Women Composers: Concert Music, 1900-1960 celebrates the achievements of eight composers: Alma Mahler-Werfel (1879-1964), Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979), Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944), Ruth Crawford (1901-53), Florence B. Price (1887-1953), Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006), J. M. Beyer (1888-1944), and Peggy Glanville-Hicks (1912-90). Written by outstanding music theorists and musicologists, the essays provide thought-provoking in-depth explorations of representative compositions, often linking analytical observations with questions of meaning and sociohistorical context. Each essay is introduced by a brief biographical sketch of the composer by editors Laurel Parsons and Brenda Ravenscroft.

This collection - Volume 2 in an unprecedented four-volume series of analytical studies on music by women composers - is designed to challenge and stimulate a wide range of readers. For academics, these thoughtful analytical essays can open new paths into unexplored research areas in the fields of music theory and musicology. Post-secondary instructors may be inspired by the insights offered in these essays to include new works in music theory and history courses at both graduate and upper-level undergraduate levels, or in courses on women and music. Finally, for soloists, ensembles, conductors, and music broadcasters, these detailed analyses can offer enriched understandings of this repertoire and suggest fresh, new programming possibilities to share with listeners.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Laurel Parsons is Full Teaching Professor of Music Theory and Co-ordinator of Aural Skills at the University of Alberta. Her research interests focus on the music of British composer Elisabeth Lutyens, Danish composer Else Marie Pade, and aural skills pedagogy related to post-secondary students with learning differences. From 2012-15 she chaired the Society for Music Theory's Committee on the Status of Women.

Brenda Ravenscroft is Professor of Music Theory and Dean of the Schulich School of Music at McGill University. Her research focuses on post-tonal American music, text and music, rhythmic organization, and pedagogy. She chaired the Society for Music Theory's Committee on the Status of Women from 2006 to 2009.

Editorial Reviews

"Laurel Parsons and Brenda Ravenscroft have edited another important volume of analytical essays on music by women composers. With eight chapters on composers as different as Alma Mahler-Werfel, Florence Price, Ethel Smyth, Ruth Crawford, and Galina Ustvolskaya, this volume explores a wide variety of musical structures common to analytical texts - including harmony, motive, form, process, and text setting - and it also meaningfully integrates feminist theory. Everyone who cares about music, analysis, and a fuller representation of composers should have this volume close at hand."

--Michael Buchler, Professor of Music Theory, Florida State University College of Music

"Through its compelling analyses by distinguished scholars, this latest addition to the esteemed series on music by women composers will surely inspire readers to listen to, perform, and teach the exceptional works that its authors present with such care."

--Lynne Rogers, Mannes School of Music at The New School

"With a rewardingly pluralistic approach to analysis, chapter after chapter demonstrates the fresh insights to be gained from their authors' application of their chosen methods to the works under close analytical scrutiny here, whose composers vary from the better-known (Ethel Smyth, Rebecca Clarke) to the less familiar (Johanna Beyer), and genres range from solo Lied to symphony, all this presented together with carefully assembled contextual information providing added insights into biographical, socio-cultural, and political factors, further enriching the analytical discourse."

--Susan Wollenberg, University of Oxford, Faculty of Music and Emeritus Fellow, Lady Margaret Hall