The Spring has come
is typical of White’s feisty creativity—ebullient and irresistible in its rhythmic impetus and in the seemingly inevitable shape of its melody, virtues that many a more famous composer would have envied. The poem is by the composer herself. Women of her time were discouraged from bold creative activity and White probably never reached her full potential. A male composer with similar gifts would have made his way with far less difficulty and won for his music a more permanent place in the repertoire. One senses that the composer may have lived a happier and more fulfilled life in the bohemian Paris of the Princesse de Polignac and George Sand, but that she was constrained by the proprieties of an upper-class English upbringing. Unlike her contemporary Ethel Smyth, she lacked the outré confidence to press her cause with anything approaching militancy, although both composers were friends of the Empress Eugénie, exiled in England. Not especially physically favoured, she was notoriously camera shy. White’s autobiography is superficially that of a cheery soul, but her writing is suffused with an undertone of loneliness.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2012