Lehmann, Elizabetta Nina Mary Frederika

(called Liza)


Gifted singer and composer; born in London. Her father, Rudolf, was a distinguished artist, and her mother was the daughter of Robert Chambers, of Edinburgh, well-known for his Encyclopaedia and writings. She received her first lessons in singing from her mother, who was well known in the musical world as a song composer. These songs, also arrangements of old classical songs, were published over the initials A. L. Liza continued her instruction in singing under Randegger, composition afterwards under Raunkilde at Rome, Fraudenberg at Wiesbaden, and the Scottish composer, MacCunn. Her voice is a light soprano, not large, but with the extensive compass from low A to B in alt. It carries well and the tones are perfect. Her debut was made in 1885 at the Monday Popular concerts. She was well received, and remained a favorite throughout the nine years she sang in public. Much of her fame lies in her varied repertory in four languages and her revival of many fine old songs, especially by the early English composers She also sang at the Crystal Palace, Philharmonic, Novello's Oratorio concerts, Norwich Festivals, and all the chief concerts in the kingdom, besides appearing frequently in Germany. She received much encouragement from Frau Clara Schumann and Dr. Joachim. However, in spite of her successful career, she was always so very nervous when appearing in public that at her marriage, in 1894, to M. Herbert Bedford, she retired from the stage. She then devoted herself to composition, and at the beginning of her married life she published several song-cycles and quartets, such as In a Persian Garden; The Daisy Chain, for four voices; and the In Memoriam cycle, for barytone solo. In the first named cycle, the words are taken from Fitzgerald's translation of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat. Strange to say, this work, which has been so enthusiastically received in Europe and America, was at first refused by all London publishers. It was introduced at a private concert, the performers being Ben Davies, Albani, Hilda Wilson and David Bispham. It was later produced at the Monday Popular concerts and elsewhere. Madame Lehmann has written many songs, and in all of them the convenience of the singer is duly consulted. She made the song-cycle popular in England, and was the first woman commissioned to undertake the composition of a musical comedy. This was Sergeant Brue, the book of which was by Owen  Hall. Her compositions also include incidental music for plays, ballads for voice and orchestra, pianopieces, suite for violin and piano.