Amy Elsie Horrocks
Amy Elise Horrocks (February 23, 1867 – 1919) was an English music educator, composer and pianist. She was born to English parents (Francis James Horrocks July 8, 1829 - April 27, 1913) and Hannah Horrocks (née Allen 1833 - April 22, 1913) in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and in 1882 studied piano and composition at the Royal Academy of Music with Adolf Schlösser and Francis William Davenport. She won the Potter Exhibition prize in 1888 and the Bennett Prize in 1889. After completing her studies, she performed as a pianist and taught music in London. There are claims that she was proposed to by Sir Henry Wood, whom she turned down. One of her compositions, Romaunt of the Page, had its premiere at one of the Promenade Concerts on 6 October 1899.
She eventually married Nicholas Paramythioti (1871 - 1943) a businessman from Corfu, on 22 August 1903, one of many lodgers at the house in Hampstead (17 Goldhurst Terrace) that the family used to let rooms to. Around this time she and Nicholas moved to France (where her two children were born, John in 1904 and Pamela in 1906) and she divided her time between France and Margate (where her parents had retired to and where they are both buried, having succumbed to the influenza epidemic, dying within a few days of each other in 1913).
She kept a diary, (which spans the years 1907 to 1918) which she wrote as a sort of ‘life-guidance manual’ for her two children. These few entries give an insight into her opinions about music and composition.
October 24, 1907 “I’m afraid my composing days are practically over. I worked too hard once upon a time, & now I can only do very little without feeling my head spin round. And as regards the opera it really does not matter; these light things are usually written & composed by half a dozen different people; they have no consistency whatever, but nobody minds.”
March 21, 1908 “I have been filling up my time with composition I have from past songs in hand; because expenses are heavy & I want to help. I hope neither of my dears will want to take up music as a profession, by the way! Their Mummy should serve them as an awful warning. If you put aside prima donas, infant prodigies, & a very few composers who happen to be momentarily the sage, there is no profession worse paid; & certainly there are very few more injurious to the health.”
May 23, 1908 “All those things – hysterical religion, sentimental poetry, sad music – (of which I myself have written far too much!) all, as Ruskin says “waste your strength in artificial sorrow” – that strength which God gave you to bear your real troubles, to control your own nature, & to fight the battle of life.”
Her daughter, Pamela described Amy as a committed pacifist and the obituaries in The Stage and The Vote announcing her death both report that "shortly before her death a jury of musicians and literary men in Paris had awarded her the prize, open to the world, for a song in honour of the 'Drapeau Bleu' - the ensign of the League of Nations" (forerunner to the United Nations). The book, 'The Blind Horse of Corfu' a memoir of Amy's daughter, Pamela Morris (née Paramythioti) told to Anne Norrington, refers to Amy's composition "of a 'Song for Peace' which had apparently won an important prize."
Birth and Death Data: Born February 23rd, 1867, Died January 1st, 1920
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1917
Roles Represented in DAHR: composer
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||B-20672||10-in.||9/17/1917||The bird and the rose||Herbert Witherspoon||Bass vocal solo, with orchestra||composer|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Horrocks, Amy Elsie," accessed July 23, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111520.
Horrocks, Amy Elsie. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 23, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111520.
"Horrocks, Amy Elsie." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 23 July 2021.
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