The Songs of Miriam Hyde (CD)

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Charlotte De Rothschild, Adrian Farmer

Undoubtedly, Miriam Hyde is best known for her piano works for students ranging from beginner to advanced, such as Valley of Rocks, but what of her songs? Often overlooked these charming, often inspirational and personal works evoke Hyde's love of nature, of the landscape, of emotions, of life itself. A lover of the English language and its poetry and a writer of hundreds of poems herself, Hyde's choice of poets is an eclectic one, ranging from the well-known to the obscure, the composer preferring to set words that have meaning and passion for her rather than what will appeal to the commercial market.

The songs on this disc represent 50 years of Hyde's writing, the first Dream Land written in 1933 and Yorkshire Picture in 1982. Thirteen poets are represented in this collection, including the composer herself.

Miriam Beatrice Hyde was born in Adelaide on 15 January, 1913 into a prodigious musical and artistic family that helped shape her own musical tastes. A child prodigy, Hyde's musical education began at an early age with her mother as her first teacher. After gaining the Bachelor of Music at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide, she won the Elder Overseas Scholarship in 1931 for study at the Royal College of Music, London from 1932-35.

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Miriam Hyde:

  1. Dream Land
  2. My Sorrow Stirs
  3. The Apple Tree
  4. Music
  5. Rhyme After Rain
  6. Lullaby
  7. The Cedar Tree
  8. Three Mediaeval Latin Lyrics: Fire in My Heart
  9. Three Mediaeval Latin Lyrics: Take Thou This Rose
  10. Three Mediaeval Latin Lyrics: At Beauty's Altar
  11. In the Rose Garden
  12. The Constant Pool
  13. Leaves in the Wind
  14. Thoughts at Dusk
  15. Winter Willow Music
  16. Sea Fantasy
  17. Nightfall by the River
  18. Twilight Beach
  19. A Song of Autumn
  20. When our Wattle-Tree Blooms
  21. The River and the Hill
  22. Camellia
  23. Festival Flowers
  24. Late June
  25. September Camphor-Laurels
  26. Yorkshire Picture

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The Classical Music Collector:

Portrait CDs of Australian women composers are fairly rare, particularly of the generation born around WWI. Given the quality of their work this is all the more puzzling. Lyrita’s new CD of the songs of Miriam Hyde introduces us to another side of a composer mainly known for her educational activities and piano music. The lyrics for her songs cover the gamut from Helen Waddell to Hyde’s own texts, and the music has a sophisticated, if traditional, cast, to which soprano Charlotte de Rothschild and pianist Adrian Farmer do full justice. Not major masterpieces, perhaps, but a thoroughly enjoyable collection of works from an older Australia.

- Chris Dench