Barbora Vacková

Assuming the Supporting Role. Scottishness and Womanhood in the Music of Geraldine Mucha

Graduate from the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Scottish composer Geraldine Mucha (1917-2012) ranks among the very few professional women composers in Czech music history. Until recently, nevertheless, she has been portrayed almost exclusively as a woman entirely void of ambition, fortunate enough to marry into the renowned Czech artistic family of Mucha. In my paper, I wish to present her otherwise – as a talented artist and prolific author of more than one hundred pieces in which she often turned to her Scottish roots both in subject matter and style.

I shall concentrate in more detail on her most successful composition, the 1961 Piano Concerto. Analysing Mucha’s handling of the supremely gendered sonata form, I argue that her ingenious citation of a Scottish folksong offers precious insight into her precarious position as a woman author in the patriarchal world of composition, whether it be in Interwar England or communist Czechoslovakia. Linking Mucha‘s identity as a Scot to that as a woman, the Concerto gives powerful testimony of an age-old story – story of a female creative mind that, owing to various layers of gender-based opression, was forever compelled to assume the supporting role.

Barbora Vacková, University of Huddersfield