by Ace Gangoso
The year’s at the spring,
Well, the year is not at the spring. Leaves are falling, the air is turning colder, and the sun sets earlier with each passing day. All is most certainly not right with the world. Am I delusional to have chosen to post this song at this time? With our reality being as it is, I think it’s reasonable to allow our minds to escape to such a vision of springtime beauty and optimism once in a while. I like to think of this poem as the Spring 2020 we had hoped to have. Maybe we can sing this song into existence by 2021.
I wonder what Amy Beach’s experience was with the 1918 pandemic. I’m curious about a lot of her life, actually, especially since I knew very little about her until I studied Three Browning Songs for this concert. I was instantly fascinated with her and her music. I learned that by the age of 2, Beach was probably a more skilled musician than I was at age 12—perhaps even 22. She was a piano prodigy and made her solo debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at age 16. When I was that age, I remember being nervous to the point of feeling nauseous to step on stage for my high school’s musical.
I wonder what it was like to be so gifted that early in life, and to have to find your way as a young American woman at the turn of the 20th century. I wonder what it was like to be the first American woman to publish a symphony, and to hear it premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I wonder what it was like to be hailed a pioneer, and to be welcomed as “one of the boys” in the illustrious Boston Six.
When I consider the audacious life and career of Amy Beach…
When I reflect on the calamity of the past eight months…
When I stop to take notice of the steadfastness, creativity, and goodwill that has continues to emerge in spite of it all…
…a part of me starts to believe that anything is possible. I invite you to join me in getting lost in wonder and daring to dream. There is new life ahead. Happy spring!
Hello, and welcome to the blog! We are Fourth Coast Ensemble, Chicago's classical vocal quartet. Join a different member of our ensemble each week for insights into our favorite art songs, links to archival and new recordings, and reflections on why we value and continue to come back to this musical medium. We proudly present, your weekly #artsongfix!