Amy Beach


B58, Op. 4

Recorded versions of this work

About this work

This is an attractive six-minute character piece. Mrs Beach was a twenty-year-old Boston society matron, married to Dr. H.H.A. Beach at the age of 18 after having attracted early attention as an excellent pianist and with great promise as a composer. She had promised when she married him, in keeping with her new status in society, to give only one or two concerts annually.

This Valse Caprice is the first original composition of hers that she played on one of these annual recitals, which took place on March 21, 1889 at Huntington Hall, Boston. The debut was a great hit, as well this charming piece should have been. Critics pointed out the exquisite workmanship and strong imagination in the piece, and also noted that the piano writing "teems with difficulties." Interest was thus aroused in the young woman composer. Eventually, these annual recitals became her showcase for many of the over 300 compositions she wrote in her life, and were eagerly anticipated, well-attended events.