Edith Swepstone

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Edith Mary Swepstone (4 January 1862 – 5 February 1942) was an English composer and music teacher. She was born in Stepney, London, the daughter of a London solicitor. She studied music at the Guildhall School and later worked as a lecturer at the City of London School. She died in Tonbridge, Kent.

She studied music at the Guildhall School in London, England and later worked as a lecturer at the City of London School. in 1895 she was giving music lectures at the City School of London.

As a composer, Swepstone wrote early 20th-century orchestral music, chamber music, and songs. During the first quarter of the 20th century, she had many of her orchestral works performed by the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra, the most by a single composer. Though the music is not located, 14 of Swepstone’s orchestral works were presented in a total of 24 performances, between 1899 and 1933. There are only two recorded instances of her orchestra music having been performed elsewhere; in March 1887 at Leyton (a movement from Symphony in G minor), and in February 1897 at Queen’s Hall in London (Les Tenebres).

At the South Place Concert Series, a weekly chamber music concert series in London, between 1887–1987, 1,121 works were performed and women composers make up for only 13 of those compositions. Swepstone’s piece, Piano Quintet in E minor, was performed a total of four times at the concert series. Swepstone’s influence is apparent in that, of all the pieces played at the series and written by women, over half were her compositions.

In total, seven of her chamber music compositions were performed at the series. In addition to Piano Quintet E Minor, played four times, the following works were each performed once: Quintet D Hn & String Quartet, Quintet E-flat Pf and Wind, String Quartet Lyrical Cycle, Piano Trio D minor, Piano Trio G minor, Piano Trio A minor.

Works[edit]

Swepstone wrote chamber music, and also songs and choral music. Selected works include:

  • The Four Ships
  • Foreshadowings
  • A Song of Twilight with A.R. Aldrich
  • Symphony in G minor
  • Robert Louis Stevenson's Songs for Children Set to Music
  • Three-Part Song for female voices, with Pianoforte Accompaniment, words by F.R. Haverga
  • Les Tenebres overture
  • Honour March
  • Lament, for Violin and Piano
  • The Crocuses' Lament, Two-Part Song for female voices
  • Requiem for Violoncello and Piano
  • A Song of Twilight with A.R. Aldrich
  • Robert Louis Stevenson's Songs for Children Set to Music
  • Three-Part Song for female voices, with Pianoforte Accompaniment, words by F.R. Haverga
  • The Crocuses' Lament, Two-Part Song for female voices
  • The Ice Queen, cantata, female voice
  • Idylls of the Morn, cantata, female voice

Orchestral works

· Daramona, symphonic poem, 1899

· The Ice Maiden, suite, 1900

· Symphony in G minor, 1902

· Les Tenebres overture, 1903

· Paolo and Francesca, prelude, 1904

· Mors Janua Vitae, funeral march, 1906

· The Wind in the Pines, symphonic poem, 1909

· The Horn of Roland, overture, 1910

· Moonrise on the Mountains, symphonic poem, 1912

· Woods in April, symphonic poem, 1914

· The Roll of Honour, march, 1916

· Morte d’Arthur, symphonic poem, 1920

· The Four Ships, suite, 1927

Chamber works

· Piano Quintet in F minor

· Piano Quintet in E minor

· Quintet D Hn & String Quartet

· Quintet in E flat, Piano and Wind

· String Quartet Lyrical Cycle

· Piano Trio D minor

· Piano Trio G minor

· Piano Trio A minor

Other works

· Lament, for Violin and Piano

· Requiem for Violoncello and Piano

· Foreshadowings, with violoncello accompaniment

References[edit]