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Susan Spain-Dunk

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Phantasy Quartet

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Phantasy Quartet
Wikipedia
Susan Spain-Dunk (22 February 1880 Folkestone, England – 1 January 1962 London) was an English violinist/violist and composer.
Susan was the third of four children (Ethel K Dunk b. 1876; John De Lanoy Dunk b. 1878; Susan Spain Dunk b. 1880; William Major b. 1882). Their father was a house builder. Her second name, Spain, was added as the Dunk family were related to the Spain family. She studied violin and composition at The Royal Academy of Music, London with Stewart Macpherson and Richard Walthew and later taught composition and harmony there. For a time she played the viola in a private quartet of Walter Cobbett. She also played (violin or viola) in the Winifred Small Quartet and Cobbett made suggestions for "Anthology" programmes for the quartet (p. 26). She conducted some of her own works at The British Women's Symphony Orchestra, at The London Promenade Concerts (1924-1927) and also at Bournemouth, Eastbourne and Torquay. In 1908 she married Henry Gibson (7 October 1882 - 22 July 1954). He was a minor composer, violinist, organist and pianist. The marriage lasted about sixteen years and she had one son, The Reverend Alan Henry Gibson (November 1911-September 1999), and two grandchildren. She died on 1 January 1962 aged 81.
Spain-Dunk appears in the book Some Folkestone Worthies by C.H. Bishop.
Her orchestral works include the Suite for String Orchestra (1920), the Idyll for Strings (1925), the overtures Water Lily Pool (1925) and Kentish Downs (1926), two symphonic poems: Elaine (1927) and Stonehenge (1929) and the Cantilena for clarinet and orchestra (1931). The Suite was premiered at the Proms on Thursday 21 August 1924. The Idyll and Water Lily Pool (for flute, harp and strings) were both premiered at a British Women's Symphony Orchestra concert at Queen's Hall on 25 May 1925, and repeated at the Proms on 13 October 1925. Kentish Downs, first performed at the Proms on 30 August 1926 was revived on BBC Radio 3 in 1997 with the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Barry Wordsworth with a further BBC Radio 3 broadcast in 2001. Elaine was conducted by the composer at the Proms on 25 August 1927, and Stonehenge was produced at the Eastbourne Festival in 1929, and played again in Bournemouth in 1931. It was revived by the BBC Concert Orchestra in a broadcast from Watford Colosseum under conductor Anne-Marie Helsing on 19 January 2019. The Idyll, Kentish Downs and Elaine are mentioned in the book containing the letters of Gerald Finzi and Howard Ferguson (p. 12). The Cantilena for clarinet and orchestra (sometimes known as Poem) was revived by the Folkestone Symphony Orchestra with soloist Peter Cigleris on 16 March 2019, its first performance since 1931.
One of Susan Spain-Dunk's most popular chamber works is the Phantasy for String Quartet in G minor (1915). An analysis can be found at the Edition Silvertrust. A recording was made by the Archaeus String Quartet on the Lorelt Label and released on 27 June 2003. A review of this recording was given by Steve Arloff. Another review was posted by Manor House Music on 21 April 2009. The autograph manuscript of the Quartet in B flat minor was written and dated March 1914 with an address of 49 Castletown Road, West Kensington, London. A review was posted in The Chamber Music Journal (Spring 2003, Vol. XIV No. 1; p. 2). More information about Susan Spain-Dunk's chamber music can be found in the book: Seddon, Laura (2013): British Women Composers and Instrumental Chamber Music in the Early Twentieth Century pp. 134–141.
Andred's Weald - for military orchestra (1925) – was conducted by Spain-Dunk on 28 February 1929 with the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra.
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ISBN 9780851158235