Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) has been featured by us a number of times previously with her music for orchestra, voice, and strings, however today we look at one of her few works for organ, the Short Chorale Preludes.

Smyth was an active and proponent of the women's suffrage movement, but faced many challenges as a woman in the male dominated world of composers. At times her music was sidelined as too masculine and not appropriate for a "lady composer" (as critics of the time dismissed her), while her lighter compositions were often dismissed as not being up to the standards of her male counterparts.

In her Short Chorale Preludes, Smyth takes on five hymns that have been previously taken on by composers from Bach to Brahms and gives us five short, but substantial works for the organ.

In Du, O schönes Weltgebäude!, Schwing dich auf zu deinem Gott, and Erschienen ist der herrlich' Tag, we get three short chorale preludes that show Smyth's finesse. For O Gott, du frommer Gott and O Traurigkeit, O Herzeleid, we get not only the preludes, but a skilled canon and fugue. As can be seen in the video above of O Traurigkeit, O Herzeleid, Smyth was clearly able to hold her own when it comes to interpreting these hymns when compared to her counterparts!