Beach, Mrs. H. H. A.


American composer and pianist. Born in Henniker, New Hampshire, of colonial ancestry. Her maiden name was Amy Marcy Cheney. Her musical ability, which she inherited from her mother's family, showed itself at a very early age. At the age of two she was able to sing Handel's See the Conquering Hero Comes, and at four began composing little pieces, which she was able to play correctly. When six years old she began studying with her mother and was soon able to play difficult music, including Beethoven and Bach. At seven she played in public several times in New Hampshire. When she was eight, her parents took her to Boston to begin her musical studies in earnest. She first attended Mr. W. L. Whittemore's private school, where she made great progress, and afterward studied under Mr. Ernest Perabo; Junius W. Hill, of Wellesley College; and Carl Baermann. Almost all of her work in harmony, composition, counterpoint and orchestration was done alone. In 1883, at the age of sixteen, she made her debut in Boston as a pianist. Her success was such, that the same year she gave several recitals and the next year she played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Thomas Orchestra. Since then, she has appeared in all the large cities of the country, often giving entire programs of her own works. In 1885 she married Dr. Beach and has since lived in Boston. Mrs. Beach's large works are her Gaelic Symphony, first given in Boston in 1896; a Mass in E flat, sung at the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston in 1892; a Festival Jubilate, composed for the dedication of the Woman's Building at the Columbian Exposition in 1893; also three cantatas, The Rose of Avontown; The Minstrel and the King; .and Sylvania. Her piano works are many, some of the most important being a Cadenza to Beethoven's C minor concerto; a Valse Caprice; Danse des Fleurs; Menuet Italien, and Barcarolle; six duets, called Summer Dreams; a concerto in C sharp minor; a Bal Masque Waltz; and a Children's Carnival and Children's Album. For violin and piano she has composed a Romance; a sonata; Berceuse; Mazurka; and La Captive. Of songs she has not been sparing, having written over sixty, many of them very beautiful. Some of the best known are Dark is the Night; Across the World; My Star; Fairy Lullaby; Hymn of Trust; Spring; A Secret; Empress of the Night; and Wilt Thou Be My Dearie. She also wrote a cantata, The Sea Fairies; and an aria, Jephtha's Daughter.