Beach, Amy. (1867–1944)

Group of Autograph Postcards

Three autograph postcards from the important American composer to a Mrs. Attwood, ca. 1904–1905, two related to her piano work Variations on Balkan Themes, op. 60. Two of the postcards are invitations to attend a musical gathering at Beach's home; in the first (n.d., 2 pp.), she writes: "Knowing your interest in national folk-songs of all countries, I write to ask if you and Mr. Attwood will not come to us on Thursday the 28th at a little before four o'clock. Mrs. Ruggles, contralto, and her brother, Rev. Mr. Sleeper, will give us some interesting Bulgarian folk-songs gather by Mr. Sleeper during his missionary days..." In the second (n.d., 2 pp.) she writes: "I am asking just a few friends to hear my new 'Variations on Balkan Themes' on Thursday afternoon June 1st at four o'clock [...] I think that you will find the 'themes,' at least, interesting." The final postcard (August 14, 1905) sends best wishes from Cape Cod. Some light toning and edge wear; overall fine. 5.5 x 3.25 inches (14 x 8.2 cm) and 5 x 4 inches (12.8 x 10.3 cm). Together with an envelope bearing a collector's note.

The most prominent female composer of her time, Amy Beach was one of the first women composers to write in the larger forms and to receive genuine recognition abroad, and the first prominent American woman musician to receive all her training in the United States. Her piano work Variations on Balkan Themes, first performed in 1905 and published in 1906, is based on four themes which evoke "the tragedy and happiness of a wondrous people and a primitive life." Beach learned the Balkan themes from the Sleeper family, as she writes in her preface to the published work: "The composer gratefully acknowledges her indebtedness to the Reverend and Mrs. William W. Sleeper for the folk-songs obtained during their missionary life in that region; also to them and to Mrs. May Sleeper Ruggles for interesting historical details of words and music." (15518)

Autograph Letter
Classical Music