Agnes Tyrrell

20/09/1846 Brno, 18/04/1883 Brno  

Although Vítězslava Kaprálová (1915–1940) is today considered the most important composer of the Czechoslovak interbellum, she is far from being the first: this is shown by Agnes Tyrrell (1846–1883), who was born in Brno some 70 years earlier and became the first great woman composer of the Czech lands. She was closely associated with her hometown, but as a child prodigy and later virtuoso also famous beyond the borders of the city and the country. She studied with Josef Dachs (1825–1896), Adalbert Pacher (1816–1871) and Otto Kitzler (1834–1915), among others, spoke three languages and was in contact with leading composers of her time, including Franz Liszt (1811–1886). She was among the first women to write symphonies before 1900. For a long time, large orchestral forms in particular were considered the domain of men. When women wrote music, it was thought to be more salon-like, songs, piano pieces, or chamber music. Not so Tyrrell, the highly educated and well-read composer, whose opera, Bertran de Born, was rejected by the New German Theater in Prague in 1882 because the music was appealing, but the subject was not. Until today it remained unperformed. Her oeuvre includes a total of more than 300 compositions: songs, piano pieces, orchestral music and much more.

Předehra c moll z oratoria Die Könige in Israel. Orchester L'anima giusta řídí Jessica Horsley © Swiss Radio

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