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Dare, Marie: Menuet (Double Bass & Piano)

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Dare was a Scotish composer and an amateur bassist. This piece was chosen by AMEB (Australian Syllabus).

Marie Dare was for many years a familiar and popular figure on the Scottish music scene as a professional cellist, composer, teacher and amateur double bassist. Born on 4 February 1902 at Newport-on-Tay, Fife, Scotland, she studied cello, piano and composition at the Guildhall School of Music in London where she won a Gold Medal for Instrumentalists, the Sir Landon Ronald Prize, and a Women Musicians Prize for her Piano Trio. She continued her cello studies in Paris with Paul Bazelaire and composition with Benjamin Dale. Whilst still in her teens, she played at the Victory Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London at the end of WW1, subsequently joining the Women’s Royal Naval Service in WW2. There were recitals in Vienna, Budapest and London and she played regularly with the Reid Symphony Orchestra at the University of Edinburgh, performing as soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Rococco Variations in 1946. She was also a long-standing member of the Scottish Trio with Wight Henderson (piano) and Horace Fellows (violin).

Marie Dare composed mainly chamber music, notably string quartets and a quintet from the 1930s, although there were also three ballet scores including Thumbeline scored for two pianos. Her output embraces a considerable number of cello pieces, many of them published, and one or two pieces for double bass including the Menuet (c.1970) and a Rhapsody for double bass and piano, from which Cradle Song appears in Time Pieces Vol. 2 published by ABRSM. She played both the Strathspey from the Rhapsody and the Menuet on the occasion of the retirement of her Edinburgh University colleague Prof. Sidney Newman in 1970. She wrote to me that she believed ‘the Professor was very taken with them’.

On her death on 4 February 1976 in Edinburgh a large personal archive of Dare’s manuscripts and recordings was bequeathed to the Scottish Music Centre, much of it now digitised.

Rodney Slatford, May 2022

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