HISTORY

Peggy Glanville-Hicks (1912-1990)

 
 

Peggy Glanville-Hicks won an international reputation as composer in particular for her works for opera. She was the first of the few women who have achieved such distinction in this field.

Born in Melbourne on December 29th, 1912, Peggy Glanville-Hicks' creative gift was manifest from early childhood, and at the age of fifteen she began lessons in composition with Fritz Hart. In 1931 she won an open scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, where for five years she studied with Vaughan Williams in composition, Arthur Benjamin for piano, and with Constant Lambert and later Sir Malcolm Sargent in conducting. In 1936, she was awarded the Octavia Travelling Scholarship for studies in Vienna with Egon Wellesz, and in Paris with Nadia Boulanger.

In 1938 Sir Adrian Boult conducted her Choral Suite in the I.S.C.M. Festival in London, the first time Australia had been represented in this Festival. In 1942 she moved her base of operations to America, and in 1948 again represented Australia in the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) Festival at Amsterdam, when the Concertgebouw Chamber Group performed her Concertino da Camera. Most of her works were written in America in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, and most have been recorded, including two of the four operas. Her name built steadily through the appearance of works such as the Three Gymnopedie, the Sinfonia da Pacifica, Letters from Morocco, Etruscan Concerto and Concerto Romantico. But it was The Transposed Heads, her opera with libretto by Thomas Mann, premiered in Louisville in 1954, and in New York in 1958, which established her securely in her unique status.

 
Photograph courtesy of the Australian Music Centre.

Photograph courtesy of the Australian Music Centre.

 

Following this premiere, the composer was commissioned to write a ballet score for the First Spoleto Festival - The Masque of the Wild Man choreographed by John Butler. She subsequently wrote several ballet scores for this renowned choreographer, which were produced in New York. From 1950 to 1976, Glanville-Hicks made her home in Athens, from whence in 1959-1960 a Fulbright Research Fellowship and a Rockefeller Grant made possible a comparative study of the Demotic music of Greece and the musical system of India.

The outcome of these years was Nausicaa - an opera based on Greek Demotic musical materials, with libretto from the novel Homer's Daughter by Robert Graves. The premiere, presented by the Greek Government in the Athens Festival of 1961, was a triumph, achieving international recognition and coverage. Following this success, the Ford Foundation commissioned a new opera for the San Francisco Opera House, and with Lawrence Durrell as librettist she wrote Sappho, again a work on a Greek subject.

Peggy Glanville-Hicks, in a sense, enjoyed a double career, for her activities on behalf of contemporary music and musicians were an outstanding contribution to her era, and her trendsetting influence was felt in many musical directions. As early as during WWII, she was active with the League of Composers, while the War's end found her acting Delegate to the ISCM Festivals in Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Resulting from her observation of the post-War plight of Europe's musicians, it was her ideas and initiative in collaboration with Dr Carleton Sprague Smith that sparked the creation of the International Music Fund and saw her involvement in its early activities.

As member of the Junior Council of the Museum of Modern Art, she organised musical events of an avant garde nature for the Museum's Auditorium, notable among these being two concerts in 1952 - The Hispanic Influence in Modern Music and Music for Percussion, which helped to introduce European composers to American audiences. For the Italian pianist Carlo Bussotti and American violist Walter Trampler she wrote her Etruscan Concerto and Concerto Romantico respectively, organising concerts where these premieres could create a concert debut for the young artists. The concerts in New York in 1956 and 1957 presented also for the first time in the U.S.A. young Scandinavian composers, Vagn Holmboe and Karl Birger Blomdahl in works discovered by Glanville-Hicks while working on the Scandinavian Section of the new Grove's Dictionary Edition. (Glanville-Hicks was also the author of all the American entries of the new Grove).

With Yehudi Menuhin she was co-M.C. to the concerts of Indian Music given at the Museum of Modern Art in 1955 and because of her extensive knowledge of oriental music she was in demand as consultant in the East-West musical affairs that touched the USA. From 1948 to 1958 Glanville-Hicks was one of the outstanding critics working on the New York Herald Tribune, and her reviews, as well as articles appearing in many other publications, displayed penetrating writing on contemporary musical topics.

From 1950 to 1960 she was also Director of the Composers Forum, organising a series of concerts annually in New York, for young composers, many of which led to recordings. She was also responsible for the performance, publication and recording of works by a number of composers, particularly those who used in some way the modes and methods of the Oriental or Antique world. In 1976, she returned to Australia and was a major figure in the national music scene until her death in June 1990. In her will she established a fund and residency for young Australian composers at her former home in the Sydney suburb of Paddington.

 
 
Peggy-Glanville-Hicks-Address-700x530.jpg
3177738-3x2-340x227.jpg
 

A complete listing of Peggy Glanville-Hicks' compositions.

Carlos Among the Candles 
Year: 1962
Opera for solo male voice and orchestra. Text by Wallace Stevens.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Choral Suite 
Year: 1937
Instrumentation: Female voices, oboe and string orchestra. Text by John Fletcher (Five Poems, 1579) 
Rights:L'Oiseau Lyre

Choral Suite 
Year: 1932
Text by David McKee Wright.
Rights:PGH Composers' Trust

Clouds 
Year: 1938
Film Score.
Rights:PGH Composers' Trust

Come Sleep
Year: 1931
Instrumentation: Voice, piano
Duration: 3 min.
Rights:L'Oiseau Lyre

Concertino Antico
Year: 1955
Instrumentation: Harp, 2 violins, viola, violoncello
Rights:PGH Composers' Trust

Concertino da Camera
Year: 1946
Instrumentation: Flute, clarinet, bassoon, piano
Duration: 9 min.
Rights:L'Oiseau Lyre
Available: Score, American Music Centre Library

Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
Year: 1937
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Concerto in D minor for Violin and String Orchestra 
(Mendelssohn arr.) 
Year: 1952
Rights:PGH Composers' Trust

African Story
Year: 1956
Film Music
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Akhnaton
Year: 1957
Opera
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Aria Concertante 
Year: 1945
Instrumentation: Tenor, women’s chorus, oboe, piano, gong.
Text by Mario Monteforte-Toledo.
Rights:PGH Composers' Trust

Ballade
i. Yet in No Sleep
ii. How Is This Garden
iii. But No! A slow Unchanging Circle
Year: 1945
Three songs for voice and piano.
Text by Paul Bowles, 1930.
Rights: Hargail Music Press
Available: Score, American Music Centre Library

Be Still You Little Leaves
Year: 1938
Instrumentation: Voice, piano
Rights:L'Oiseau Lyre

Beckett 
Year: 1990
Opera in two acts.
Text by Wendy Beckett
Rights:PGH Composers' Trust

Birthday Piece for Miss Annmarie HarrisYear: 1984
Rights:PGH Composers' Trust

Caedmon
Year: 1933
Opera in one act of three scenes, for soloist, chorus and orchestra. 
Text by the composer.
Rights:PGH Composers' Trust


Night is the Colour of a Woman's Arm
Year: 1955
Instrumentation: Soprano, alto, tenor, bass. Text by Wallace Stevens.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Not All the Knives of the Lamp Posts
Year: 1955
Instrumentation: Soprano, alto, tenor, bass. Text by Wallace Stevens.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Pastoral 
Year: 1951
Instrumentation: SSAA choir, clarinet
Rights:G Schirmer/Music Sales

Pastoral for Piano 
Year: 1935
Instrumentation: piano
Duration: 2 min
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Title: Piano Sonata
Year: 1934
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Poem for Chorus and Orchestra 
Year: 1933
Text by John Fletcher.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Postman's Knock 
Year: 1938
Ballet for chamber orchestra
Rights:PGH Composers' Trust

Pre Columbian Prelude and Presto 
Year: 1957
Instrumentation: Piccolo, flutes, pan pipes, whistles, owl, armadillo, maracas, scraper, drums, conch, handclapping.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Prelude and Scherzo 
Year: 1937
Instrumentation: Large orchestra.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Prelude for a Pensive Pupil
Year: 1958
Instrumentation: Piano
Rights: Lawson Gould/ Allans Music Publishing (AUS)

Prelude for Orchestra
Scene I: Ballet of Ritual Dancers
Scene II: Nocturne and Caedmon’s Song
Scene III: Early morning
Year: 1936
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Profiles from China
Year: 1945
Instrumentation: Voice, piano
Duration: 7 min
Rights: G Schirmer/Music Sales
Available: score, American Music Centre

Quintet for Piano and Woodwind 
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Rationalists! Wearing Square Hats
Year: 1955
Instrumentation: Soprano, alto, tenor, bass. Text by Wallace Stevens.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Rest 
Year: 1931
Instrumentation: Voice, piano
Duration: 3 min
Rights: L'Oiseau Lyre

The Robot 
Year: 1936
Music for an abstract cartoon film, produced in London.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Sappho
Year: 1963
Instrumentation: opera in 3 acts
Duration: 135 min
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust 
Available: score, American Music Centre

Saul and the Witch of Endor
Year: 1959
Instrumentation: Ballet for trumpet, percussion, strings.
Duration: 20 mins.
Rights: C F Peters Corp
Available: score, Australian Music Centre
Concert version see 'Drama for Orchestra' (Peters 66124)

Scary Time 
Year: 1958
Music for an animated documentary film on the Suez crisis, produced for UNICEF. For clarinet, violin, percussion.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Season in Hell
Year: 1966
Ballet for orchestra. After the poem ‘Une saison en enfer’ by Arthur Rimbaud.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Sheiling Song
Year: 1932
Instrumentation: Voice and piano. 
Text by Fiona McLeod.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Sidi Amar in Winter
Year: 1947
Three songs. Text by Paul Bowles.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Sinfonia Da Pacifica 
Year: 1953
Instrumentation: Orchestra
Duration: 13 min
Rights: G Schirmer/Music Sales
Available: Material available in original manuscript form from Rental Library, NY office

Sinfonietta no. 1 for Orchestra
Year: 1934
Instrumentation: Small orchestra
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Sinfonietta no. 2
Year: 1938
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Sonata for Harp
Year: 1951
Instrumentation: harp
Duration: 10 min
Rights: G Schirmer/Music Sales
Available: score, American Music Centre

Concerto no. 1 for Piano and Orchestra
Year: 1936
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Concerto Romantico
Year: 1956
Instrumentation: Viola, orchestra
Duration: 21 mins.
Rights: C F Peters Corp
Available: Score and parts available for rental (Peters 66123); AUS: Allans Publishing.

Dance Cantata 
Year: 1946
Instrumentation: Tenor, baritone, narrator, spoken and singing chorus and orchestra. 
Rights:PGH Composers' Trust

Drama for Orchestra
Year: 1961
Instrumentation: Clarinet, trumpet, timpani, percussion, piano, xylophone, strings
Duration: 17 mins.
Rights:C F Peters Corp
Available: Score (no parts) available for rental (Peters 66124); percussion, strings (For ballet version see 'Saul and the Witch of Endor' (Peters 66129)

Etruscan Concerto 
Year: 1945
Instrumentation: Piano, orchestra
Duration: 14 min
Rights: C F Peters Corp
Available: score, hire and sale; parts rental only (Peters 66125); Score in American Music Centre Library.

Five SongsHe would not stay (1944) 
Homespun collars
Mimic heaven (1944) 
Stars
Unlucky love
Year: 1944
Instrumentation: voice, piano
Rights: G Schirmer/Music Sales

Frolic 
Year: ca. 1931
Instrumentation: voice, piano
Duration: 1 min
Rights: L'Oiseau Lyre

Girondelle for Giraffes
Year: 1978
Instrumentation: Double bass, drum, flute, suspended cymbal, trombone
Duration: 3 min
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust 
Available: Australian Music Centre (score)

Glacier 
Year: 1938
Music for a documentary film.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Glittering Gate
Year: 1956
IOpera
Duration: 26 min
Rights: G Schirmer/Music Sales Deshon Music Inc

He Reproves the Curlew 
Year: 1932
Instrumentation: Voice, piano.
Text by William Butler Yeats.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Hylas and the Nymphs
Year: 1935
Ballet for flute, harp, strings and percussion
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

In Midwood Silence
Year: 1935
Instrumentation: Soprano, oboe, string quartet
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Jephthah's Daughter
Year: 1963
IBallet for chamber orchestra.
Duration: 25 mins.
Rights:C F Peters Corp
Query whether score /parts still exist (Peters); Ballet version for large orchestra see 'Tragic Celebration' (Peters 66131)

Ireland 
Year: 1931
Instrumentation: Choir. 
Text by David McKee Wright 
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Killer of Enemies 
Year: 1946
Ballet in two acts for narrator, woodwinds, percussion. Text by Erick Hawkins.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Letters from Morocco 
Year: 1952
Instrumentation: Tenor voice, orchestra
Duration: 16 min
Rights: C F Peters Corp Score and parts available for rental (Peters 66126)

Masque of the Wild Man
Year: 1958
Duration: 18 mins.
Rights: C F Peters Corp
Available: Score and parts for rental (Peters 66128)
Ballet for chamber orchestra; flute, harp, piano. Celesta, timpani, percussion, strings; ballet version for large orchestra see Tapestry (Peters 66130)

Meditation for Orchestra
Year: 1956
Instrumentation: Orchestra
Duration: 12 min
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Mountain Regions(Gymnopedie III
Year: 1953
Instrumentation: Harp, strings
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Musica Antiqua no. 1
Year: 1957
Instrumentation: 2 flutes, harp, marimba, 2 percussion, timpani.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust 
Available: Score, Australian Music Centre

Nausicaa 
Year: 1961
Opera
Rights: Belwin Mills, (Warner Chappell for print)

Sonata for Harp, Flute and Horn
Year: 1950
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Sonata for Piano and Percussion
Year: 1951
Instrumentation: Piano, percussion
Duration: 12 min
Rights: G Schirmer/Music Sales
Available: Original manuscript from Rental Library, NY office.

Sonatina
Year: 1938
Instrumentation: Flute (or recorder) and piano or for treble recorder or flute and piano
Duration: 7 min

Sonatina for Piano 
Year: 1939
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Song in Summer 
Year: 1935
For chorus and orchestra. 
Text by John Fletcher.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Spanish Suite 
i. Pavan: In the Lion’s Court
ii. Serenade: Three Donkeys
iii. Siesta: Afternoon Impression 
iv. Fandango: Traditional Movements of Dance 
v. Nocturne: Low Sky, so named after the peasants of Granada for the City of Lights seen below from the rock citadel 
Year: 1935
Instrumentation: Chamber ensemble 
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

String Quartet no. 1
Year: 1937
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Tapestry for Orchestra
Year: 1958
Instrumentation: Woodwinds, brass, timpani, percussion, harp, celesta, piano, strings 
Duration: 18 mins
Rights: C F Peters Corp
Available: Score (no parts) for rental (Peters 66130) Ballet: Timpani, percussion, harp, strings, piano; Ballet version see 'The Masque of the Wild Man' (Peters 66128)

Tel 
Year: 1950
Music for a cartoon film produced by Film Graphics Inc.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

They Are Not Long
Year: 1932
Instrumentation: Voice and piano. 
Text by Ernest Dowson.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
Year: 1948
Instrumentation: Voice, piano
Duration: 13 min
Rights: G Schirmer/Music Sales

Thomsoniana
Year: 1949
Instrumentation: Voice, horn, piano
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust 
Available: score, Australian Music Centre

Three Gymnopedies
Year: 1953
Instrumentation: Harp, celeste, strings
Duration: 9 min
Rights: G Schirmer/Music Sales
Available: Original manscript form from Rental Library, NY office

Three Preludes for Piano
Year: 1932
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

To the Moon 
Year: 1932
Instrumentation: Voice and piano.
Text by Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Tragic Celebration
Year: 1964
Instrumentation: Orchestra
Duration: 25 mins
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust; reassigned to the Estate by publisher
Available: Score (no parts) for rental (Peters 66131); score also held at AMC; Ballet for alto clarinet, timpani, percussion, harp, strings; Ballet version for orchestra see 'Jephthah's Daughter' (Peters 66128)

The Transposed Heads
Year: 1953
Opera in six scenes
Duration: 75 min
Rights: G Schirmer/Music Sales
Available: Original manscript form from Rental Library, NY office; Score in American Music Centre Library.

Triad
Year: 1958
Ballet for small instrumental ensemble.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Trio for Pipes 
Year: 1934
Instrumentation: Treble pipe in D, alto pipe in G or A, tenor pipe in D.
Rights: L'Oiseau Lyre

Tulsa 
Year: 1949
Music for a documentary film produced by the U.S. State Department for circulation in occupied territories.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Violin Solo
Year: 1932
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Widow Bird 
Year: 1932
Instrumentation: Voice, piano. 
Text by Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust

Wild Bells 
Year: 1965
Instrumentation: Orchestra
Rights: PGH Composers' Trust