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celebrating three hundred years of music by women


Mabel Daniels (1879-1971)

Daniels was a New England composer. She studied at the newly founded Radcliffe College at Harvard, and was later the first women in Ludwig Tuille's score-reading class at the Munich Conservatory. She was head of music at Simmons College, Boston, and a Fellow of the MacDowell Colony for 24 summers from 1914. She worked for women's suffrage and was endlessly generous to other musicians, giving anonymous composition prizes, and establishing a scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music. She preferred writing for voices, and choral pieces are among her best known works. She also wrote stage, orchestral and instrumental music. Her musical language includes triadic harmony with occasional diatonic dissonance; the melodic lines are sometimes angular, due partly to modal shifts and unpredictable triads.


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Deep Forest, Op 34 No 1. 1931
fl, ob, cl, bn, hn, tpt, timp, strgs, 10 mins
This has the subtitle Prelude for Little Symphony. It was originally written for chamber orchestra in 1931, and revised for full orchestra in 1934. Like many of her New England colleagues, Daniels spent several summers at the MacDowell Colony and was inspired by the New Hampshire woods. She wrote of this, and the companion piece 'Pirate's island': "I had no program in mind for these pieces. The idea came to me when looking out from the windows of an old tower on a cliff by the ocean during a summer's day stroll. Through the window towards the land I saw in my imagination 'Deep Forest'. It is impossible not to be inspired by the magnificent surroundings at the Colony. I so constantly heard a flute against a background of muted strings, whenever I walked, that I finally had to put it on paper." It was frequently performed in her lifetime; the important conductors who took it up included Serge Koussevitsky and John Barbirolli.
The Ambache Chamber Orchestra gave its European première in London in May 2004.

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