From Bernard Shaw’s January 25, 1893, review of Dame Ethel Smyth’s Mass in D:
Whenever I hear the dictum, “Women cannot compose,” uttered by some male musician whose whole endowment, intellectual and artistic, might be generously estimated as equivalent to that of the little finger of Miss Braddon or Miss Broughton, I always chuckle and say to myself, “Wait a bit, my lad, until they find out how much easier it is than literature, and how little the public shares your objection to hidden consecutives, descending leading notes, ascending sevenths, false relations, and all the other items in your index ex-purgatorius!”
…Since women have succeeded conspicuously in Victor Hugo’s profession, I cannot see why they should not succeed equally in Liszt’s if they turned their attention to it.
Shaw’s review of Smyth’s noble and impressive if conservative mass was somewhat condescending, though he preferred it to the choral music of Dvorak and Brahms, with a suggestion that that was faint praise. Upon convalescence from minor surgery, I’m contemplating a course on woman composers. I don’t even dare make a public repertoire list for fear of controversies.