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Dr Christopher Wiley writes on Dame Ethel Smyth for the OUP Blog

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Ethel SmythDr Christopher Wiley has contributed a text to the OUPblog, Oxford University Presss Academic Insights for the Thinking World, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the death of Dame Ethel Smyth, the pioneering composer and writer, on 8 May 1944.

Dr Wiley’s 1,000-word post, ‘Five facts about Dame Ethel Smyth’, may be read here: http://blog.oup.com/2014/05/facts-dame-ethel-smyth/

This blog entry follows Dr Wiley’s article on Smyth published in Oxford journal The Musical Quarterly last year.

To mark the anniversary, Dr Wiley also organized a lunchtime recital of Smyth’s music which took plan on 8 May 2014 in Woking, the town where she was resident from 1910 until her death.

Update: Dr Wiley’s blog entry was subsequently selected as one of the Editor’s Picks, appearing on the front page of the OUPblog for some weeks.

Dr Christopher Wiley leads recital of the music of Dame Ethel Smyth on the 70th anniversary of her death

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Christ Church WokingDr Christopher Wiley organized a recital of the music of Dame Ethel Smyth, given at Christ Church Woking by staff and students of the School of Arts at the University of Surrey, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the composer’s death in Hook Heath, near Woking on 8 May 1944.

The one-hour lunchtime recital of chamber, vocal, and solo keyboard works featured pianists Maureen Galea and Margaret Roberts, Isabella Stocchetti (flute), and Christopher Wiley (oboe, organ), as well as members of the University Chamber Choir. The full programme was as follows:

  • Two Interlinked French Folk Melodies (1928, from the opera Entente cordiale) for flute, oboe, and piano (Isabella Stocchetti, flute; Christopher Wiley, oboe; Margaret Roberts, piano)
  • Aus der Jugendzeit!! E. v. H. (c.1878–80) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • Nocturne (Kanon in Gegenbewegung) (c.1877–80) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • ‘O Gott du frommer Gott’ and Canon on ‘O Gott du frommer Gott’ (Nos. IIa & IIb from Short Choral Preludes, c.1882–4) (Christopher Wiley, organ)
  • Piano Suite in E major (c.1877–1880) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • Variations on Bonny Sweet Robin (Ophelia’s Song) (1928) (Isabella Stocchetti, flute; Christopher Wiley, oboe; Margaret Roberts, piano)
  • Overture to the opera The Boatswain’s Mate, Piano transcription (1913–14) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • ‘Laggard Dawn’ and ‘The March of the Women’ (Nos. 1 & 3 from Songs of Sunrise, 1910) (University Chamber Choir, dir. Isabella Stocchetti; Maureen Galea, piano)

Dr Wiley, who has been conducting research on Ethel Smyth for over a decade, also gave spoken introductions to each piece, and Surrey History Centre provided their ‘Musical Passions’ exhibition celebrating Smyth’s life.

Attended by some 50 audience members, this commemoration followed the Ethel Smyth Symposium hosted at the University in February of this year.

Update: The event was favourably reviewed by Sebastian Forbes, who wrote that ‘Senior lecturer Christopher Wiley, who has done much research into Smyth, not only devised and introduced the concert but also, very expertly, played oboe and organ.’

The review is available here: http://blogs.surrey.ac.uk/arts/2014/05/12/celebrating-the-life-and-work-of-dame-ethel-smythe-concert-at-christ-church-woking/