The Songs of Miriam Hyde

Miriam Beatrice Hyde was born in Adelaide on 15 January, 1913 into a prodigious musical and artistic family that helped shape her own musical tastes. A child prodigy, Hyde's musical education began at an early age with her mother as her first teacher. After gaining the Bachelor of Music at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide, she won the Elder Overseas Scholarship in 1931 for study at the Royal College of Music, London from 1932-35.

Undoubtedly, Miriam Hyde is best known for her piano works for students ranging from beginner to advanced, such as Valley of Rocks, but what of her songs? Often overlooked these charming, often inspirational and personal works evoke Hyde's love of nature, of the landscape, of emotions, of life itself. A lover of the English language and its poetry and a writer of hundreds of poems herself, Hyde's choice of poets is an eclectic one, ranging from the well-known to the obscure, the composer preferring to set words that have meaning and passion for her rather than what will appeal to the commercial market.

The songs on this disc represent 50 years of Hyde's writing, the first Dream Land written in 1933 and Yorkshire Picture in 1982. Thirteen poets are represented in this collection, including the composer herself.



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Portrait CDs of Australian women composers are fairly rare, particularly of the generation born around WWI. Given the quality of their work this is all the more puzzling. Lyrita’s new CD of the songs of Miriam Hyde introduces us to another side of a composer mainly known for her educational activities and piano music. The lyrics for her songs cover the gamut from Helen Waddell to Hyde’s own texts, and the music has a sophisticated, if traditional, cast, to which soprano Charlotte de Rothschild and pianist Adrian Farmer do full justice. Not major masterpieces, perhaps, but a thoroughly enjoyable collection of works from an older Australia. The Classical Music Collector

The disc very sensibly lays out the songs in chronological order (with a couple of exceptions near the end), covering the period 1933 to 1982. Thus the first, Dream land, was written when the composer was barely out of her teens, while the final Yorkshire Picture comes from her late sixties.  The piano accompaniments are, as one would expect from a composer best known for her piano works, effective and atmospheric and well played by Adrian Farmer. Charlotte de Rothschild is to be commended for the sense of exploration which she brings to her recordings of neglected repertory... Those who love English song will of course have to investigate this disc, a whole new area of the repertory for them to discover. The booklet contains the full texts and an informative biographical note by Rita Crews, who had interviewed the composer in 1985. MusicWeb-International

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