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Where to start with the music of Ethel Smyth

The eccentric Edwardian was the only English composer of her generation to achieve real international status in opera

I’m reminded of an old Irish joke. A tourist approaches a local for directions to Dublin. The local, after much teeth-sucking and head-scratching, eventually replies: ‘Well, I wouldn’t start from here…’. The news that, 75 years after her death, English composer Ethel Smyth has won a Grammy Award for her last large-scale work The Prison is…

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