Variation on Ethel Smyth’s March of the Women

[recording coming soon!]

Wind quintet

Program notes:

My variation is one of eight movements of “Theme and Variations on the March of the Women by Ethel Smyth,” a piece conceptualized and compiled by 5th Wave Collective’s Ashley Ertz. Here are Ashley’s notes on the project:

“Smyth had been sent to jail after lobbing a rock through the window of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lewis Harcourt, who had made a condescending remark about women. Smyth had earnestly embraced the Votes for Women cause. She was a friend of Mrs. Pankhurst, and wrote the March of the Women, which became the suffragettes’ rallying cry.”
“Above the courtyard, Smyth stood in her jail cell and proudly listened to the women below. They were singing “The March of Women,” a piece she had composed two years earlier as the anthem for the Women’s Social and Political Union. Smyth grabbed a toothbrush, reached her arms beyond the bars of her prison window, and conducted the chorus below.”
Ethel Smyth’s march is still so relevant that we wanted to tie it into the current day. Based on its simplicity, I had the inspiration to turn it into a theme and variations, so I asked 7 amazing female composers to write variations to their own heart’s content based off of this original theme. The product is a cacophony of styles, inspirations and melodies all tying back to Ethel Smyth.

The piece includes Ethel Smyth’s original theme followed by seven variations by Mariana Gomez, Zoe Holbrook, Cara Haxo, Kelley Sheehan, Ann Warren, Kristina James, and me.

Recording Information:

Performed and recorded live at DePaul University’s Holtschneider Performance Center on October 21, 2018.

Erin Wallace, flute
Ashley Ertz, oboe
Jesse Bruer, clarinet
Emily Whittaker, French horn
Jamael Smith, bassoon