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Women Composers

Ugh, I dislike the combination of words found in this post's title, which seems to imply that we should listen to the music of such composers only because they are female voices all too rare in the disappointingly male pantheon of the canon of "notational music" (to borrow the euphemism for classical music coined by Alex Ross). Even so, the best work of the feminist branch of musicology has been the resurrection of these women composers from the dustbin of history. Don't think that this is a bygone phenomenon, however: have you heard of Elinor Remick Warren? If the answer is no, thanks to the Library of Congress and Thomas Hampson (see my post on December 9, 2004), you may soon. She died in 1991.

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Available at Amazon
Louise Farrenc, Two Piano Quintets, Schubert Ensemble of London (2002)
An article by Pierre Gervasoni (Musique classique : Fanny et Clara, des consœurs sacrifiées, January 7) in Le Monde previewed concerts and radio programs this month dedicated to two of the greats across the aisle, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and Clara Wieck Schumann, in relation to a lesser-known 19th-century example, Louise Farrenc (1804–1875). In an article in the same issue (Musique classique : six concerts pour Mme Farrenc, compositrice pionnière, January 7) of Le Monde, Pierre Gervasoni writes (my translation):
The career of the very Parisian Louise Farrenc was duly appreciated by her contemporaries, but it has long been passed over in silence in studies devoted to the 19th century. After the centenary of her death, in the United States (where she inspired a thesis in musicology), in Germany (where in 1996 the critical edition of her complete works was begun), and in Belgium (where a Trio Louise Farrenc has just been founded) there began a process of rehabilitation in which, from January 5 to 26, the Auditorium of the Louvre is participating. Six chamber music concerts should contribute to the recognition already begun by compact discs, principally thanks to the German label CPO.
There is more information on the concerts at the Louvre, if you want to know. The chamber works on the plate will include the two piano quintets (shown here), the nonet and sextet, violin and cello sonatas, piano trios, a clarinet trio, and works for piano, plus her First Symphony in C Minor. Each program pairs Farrenc's music with pieces for similar forces by Robert Schumann. Neat idea.

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