By Paula Gillett
Musical girls in England, 1870-1914 delineates the jobs girls performed within the flourishing track international of late-Victorian and early twentieth-century England and exhibits how modern demanding situations to restrictive gender roles encouraged them to maneuver into new components of musical expression, either in composition and function. Their ambiguous social reception even though, the extreme skill and awesome self-confidence of those ladies encouraged fiction-writers to add musician heroines and prompted remarkable numbers of ladies and girls to pursue complex musical examine.
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Extra info for Musical Women in England, 1870-1914: ''Encroaching on All Man's Privileges''
The Brompton Hospital, opened in the 1840s when no other hospital would admit tubercular patients, served a pressing social need. A dramatic change in the understanding of the disease took place just a few years before Alexandra and her daughters entertained at Brompton. The barrier of flora, as well as the wary look on the faces of hospital personnel in The Graphic’s powerful image, convey a sense of potential danger were that barrier to be breached by the patients’ coughs. During this period, singing—especially by voices trained in proper breathing technique—was believed capable of preventing tuberculosis.
Echoing Schopenhauer, whose works he had read at Wagner’s recommendation, Praeger held that women, whose strength was in instinct and intuition, had weak powers of reasoning; it is these powers that enable a man to work logically through sustained mental effort. Lacking these powers, women composers cannot go beyond small-scale works, most notably, songs. Man’s brain, his highest attribute and that which differentiates him from other animals, has created all the arts. The absence of women from the very short list of truly eminent composers was more understandable if one remembered that only small numbers of women had made the studies requisite to such a pursuit, in comparison with the enormous numbers of men whose best efforts had left them in second or lower ranks.
In addition to the female-led charities listed in Lady Burdett-Coutts’s report, many of which included music in their educational and recreational programs for young people and for the sick and indigent, musical women planned and performed in concerts to raise money for these and a multitude of other causes, and took leadership roles in several organizations that put on concerts in underserved neighborhoods in London and other cities. The best-known popularizer of this point of view—the counterpart to John Ruskin in the field of painting—was the liberal clergyman (and amateur violinist) Hugh Reginald Haweis.
Musical Women in England, 1870-1914: ''Encroaching on All Man's Privileges'' by Paula Gillett