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Three major works

During the following few years after her breakthrough with Lamia, a remarkable number of Dorothy’s works were performed at The Proms and other important London concerts, and major venues countrywide. Throughout her musical career she would compose over 130 pieces. Three works in particular deserve special mention:

  • Koong Shee ballet, 1921
  • Piano Concerto in D Minor, 1923
  • The Rock overture, 1928

Dorothy composed in a conventional way, essentially classical or romantic in style, but each of her pieces shows a unique style all of its own. Her ballet Koong Shee, based on the oriental story of the Willow Pattern Plate (although never danced), was premiered in 1921.

Her piano concerto had its first public performance on 23 August 1923 with Dorothy playing the solo part herself. It is very different in conception from her earlier orchestral works, using the idea of the continuous flow of music, joining all three movements into one as a unified work. The Daily Mail reported (24 August 1923) “Girl Composer Plays Solo Part In Her Own Concerto”.

It would have been recognised as a fantastic achievement for a woman at that time to have accomplished such an amazing thing. The review went on to say “The new work... is a distinct advance on her ‘Lamia’ which so quickly made her reputation about two years ago... Altogether it is a work of remarkable promise for so young an artist”.

Another highly acclaimed work is her orchestral overture The Rock, inspired by a visit to Gibraltar. It was premiered at the last night of the Proms in 1928. The critics wrote “It is a charming picturesque, imaginative little work. Local colour is deftly suggested, and the whole thing is touched off with lightness and skill”. 'The Rock' was further performed at Bournemouth.

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