The Voice of My Beloved, 1911. Mabel Wheeler Daniels, 1878-1971. Holograph in pen. A. P. Schmidt Collection, box 72, folder 17. Music Division, Library of Congress.
from Part-songs for Women's Voices, Two Violins, and Piano, op. 16 (1911)
In 1911, Mabel Daniels won the Brush Memorial Prize given by the National Federation of Music Clubs for her part-songs for women's voices, two violins, and piano, op. 16--Eastern Song and The Voice of My Beloved. The latter sets familiar words from the biblical Song of Solomon--"Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away." The text "And the time of the singing of birds is come" receives an extended treatment with graceful rocking figures in the voices and violins. Later, the violins paint "The voice of the turtle is heard in the land" with sixteenth-note arpeggiated triads containing added sixths and ninths. The voices reach a climactic, fortissimo, diminished chord at "Arise then and come," before a return to the opening music. An extended coda recalls the rocking figure and arpeggios. The violins conclude con sordini and the voices fade in a molto ritard singing "My love, come away."
Daniels's compositional career gained major status in 1913, when she presented her choral/orchestral work The Desolate City, op. 21, at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. Following that success, she returned to the MacDowell as a fellow for twenty-four successive summers. The wooded setting inspired one of her most widely played orchestral compositions, Deep Forest, op. 34, no. 1, (1932-33), which was the only piece by a woman composer performed at a 1939 Carnegie Hall concert of new American music. The work marked a shift from her Germanic style toward a more impressionistic musical vocabulary.
Daniels wrote her best-known work, Exultate Deo (1929), to celebrate Radcliffe's fiftieth anniversary and A Psalm of Praise (1954) for the college's seventy-fifth anniversary. Her Song of Jael, premiered at the 1940 Worcester Festival, marked her first venture into a modern musical idiom, using daring dissonances and highly original choral effects.