Bostonian’s are proud of their city’s daughter Amy Beach; to my knowledge, her name does not reside next to Bach, Mozart and Beethoven in any other city’s music memorial. How many books have been written about Mozart? Bach? Beethoven? I had to wonder were the lack of books about Beach, the lack of critical analysis of her life’s work, and the lack of memorials bearing her name indications of the lesser quality of her music, or of a disregard for women composers that persists today.

I finally located one short chapter of musical analysis about Beach published in 2001, but knew that its Bostonian author, Nicholas Tawa might be inclined, like so many of Beach’s hometown critics during her lifetime, to present a favorably biased view of her work. I worried whether or not I would be even be able to decipher the work of a professional musicologist’s critique of Beach’s compositions – biased or not. And as I tried again to listen to Beach’s “powerful” symphonic and Mass passages, I wondered if my art school induced aversion to what I considered the sexist requirements for powerful art would bias my own interpretation of Beach’s music and intent, or bring clarity to it.

Whether I loved Amy Beach’s music or not, my time with her had begun to result in a sense of camaraderie and closeness. I wanted to be fair to her memory. continues on page 5, Working Powerfully