Featuring the voices of Clare Balding, Helen Pankhurst and Dame Penelope Keith
Released digitally on Decca Records on 8 March 2019
To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March 2019, Decca Records releases a collection of heritage tracks featuring previously unrecorded words and music from women involved in the British suffrage movement in the early 20th century.
This is the first time an album has been performed, composed, produced and engineered in entirety by women. The project covers a breadth of musical forms, including hymns, spoken word poetry and instrumental compositions, all written by women at the forefront of the suffrage movement. ‘The Lost Women of Music’ commemorates and honours women’s suffrage, a topic that continues to be at the forefront of society following the centenary celebrations that took place throughout 2018.
The digital release also recognises female composers and instrumentalists who confronted discrimination head-on and challenged the conventions which placed the artistic output of men above their own. By re-orchestrating the music and poetry of history’s bravest women, Decca presents music that provided the soundtrack to a momentous shift in society.
Decca sifted through archives at the British Library, LSE Women’s Library and the Helen Blackburn Collection at Cambridge University’s Girton College seeking ‘lost’ music to be revived to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage in Britain. Among other treasures, the team discovered sheet music from Ethel Smyth, the only female composer to have her work produced at the Metropolitan Opera in New York before 2016, Alicia Needham, the first woman to conduct at the Royal Albert Hall, and Katharine Eggar, who at 19 became the first woman to perform her own chamber works at a London public concert.