RTÉ MUSIC: The Lyric Feature

Augusta Holmes Women of Note Prog 1 Image Name: Augusta Holmes Women of Note Prog 1

Women of Note                                            

A series of programmes on composers from the 19th and 20th centuries whose music is rarely, if ever heard. All are women, all Irish or with strong Irish connections. Many overcame family and society disapproval to pursue their careers as composers. Some of these women never left Ireland, while others achieved international careers. Some proclaimed themselves Irish, others British, or even French, but sought inspiration from Ireland in their music. Perhaps it is because some made their careers outside Ireland that it is often non-Irish scholars who have begun the task of reviving their reputations, but now Irish musicologists, too are rediscovering these women and their music. Each programme is richly illustrated with the music of these composers, using both existing recordings and new performances.

Programme 1: Augusta Holmės (1847-1903).

Axel Klein, the author of ‘Irish Music in the Twentieth Century’ and Jo-Ann Falletta, principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra, talk about the particular obstacles which women composers faced in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

They introduce us to the music of Augusta Holmės who was forced to use a male pseudonym in the early years of her career in order to be taken seriously as a composer. In time, her reputation grew to the extent that she was chosen to compose an ode to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution. The programme includes a new performance by contralto Elizabeth Pink, accompanied on piano by Anthony Byrne, of Augusta Holmès’s “Noël d’Irlande”.

A Rockfinch Production for RTÉ lyric fm made with the support of the Sound & Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme, a Broadcasting Authority of Ireland initiative.