She Wrote the Songs
by Patricia Hammond
A collective biography of the forgotten female hit-makers of the Victorian parlour.
Patricia Hammond recently appeared on BBC Radio 4 'Woman's Hour' talking about this book; if you missed the interview live, you can catch up here. You can also click here to hear a sumptuous sample of the companion CD, with the author singing a variety of songs discussed in the book.
Parlour songs were the pop hits of the Victorian era – and some of the biggest hit-makers of the day were women. Barred from positions in universities, cathedrals and orchestras, this intimate, home-based musical genre was their only outlet. Sadly, their extraordinary contribution has largely been forgotten, overlooked by historians and marginalised in the timeline of music.
Now, British-Canadian singer Patricia Hammond is putting the record – or, rather, the sheet music – straight, telling tuneful tales of political reform, personal empowerment and the unique role women played in a fascinating period of British musical history.
‘Patricia Hammond rescues the songs and lives of female composers from ephemera, sheet music and weekly magazines. In doing so, she gives us a new insight into these working women and challenges the dismissal of their music as homely or amateur.’
— Dr Debbie Challis, The Women's Library / Library of the London School of Economics
‘Superb, well-researched ... Hammond makes a strong case for this "domestic" music, having sifted through the archives – including her own impressive collection of parlour sheet music – to tell the stories of this overlooked genre and its talented composers.’
– Claire Jackson, BBC Music Magazine
Date Published: 2020-08-20
Catalogue Number: VP0116
Number of Pages: 128
Cover design by Fitzpatrick Designs
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