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14 books about women composers


    Louise farrenc, compositrice du xix siecle ; musique au feminin

    Le présent ouvrage se propse de faire découvrir une personnalité musicale importante à plus d'un titre. Exacte contemporaine de Berlioz, Louise Farrenc a fait preuve des plus grandes qualités tant dans les domaines de l'interprétation et de la composition que dans ceux de l'éducation et de la recherche en musicologie. Applaudie et honorée de son vivant, elle est pourtant oubliée aujourd'hui. Sa vie et son oeuvre sont ici situées dans le contexte artistique, historique, politique et social de l'époque.

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    Clara Schumann

    This absorbing and award-winning biography tells the story of the tragedies and triumphs of Clara Wieck Schumann (1819-1896), a musician of remarkable achievements. At once artist, composer, editor, teacher, wife, and mother of eight children, she was an important force in the musical world of her time. To show how Schumann surmounted the obstacles facing female artists in the nineteenth century, Nancy B. Reich has drawn on previously unexplored primary sources: unpublished diaries, letters, and family papers, as well as concert programs. Going beyond the familiar legends of the Schumann literature, she applies the tools of musicological scholarship and the insights of psychology to provide a new, full-scale portrait. The book is divided into two parts. In Part One, Reich follows Clara Schumann's life from her early years as a child prodigy through her marriage to Robert Schumann and into the forty years after his death, when she established and maintained an extraordinary European career while supporting and supervising a household and seven children. Part Two covers four major themes in Schumann's life: her relationship with Johannes Brahms and other friends and contemporaries; her creative work; her life on the concert stage; and her success as a teacher. Throughout, excerpts from diaries and letters in Reich's own translations clear up misconceptions about her life and achievements and her partnership with Robert Schumann. Highlighting aspects of Clara Schumann's personality and character that have been neglected by earlier biographers, this candid and eminently readable account adds appreciably to our understanding of a fascinating artist and woman. For this revised edition, Reich has added several photographs and updated the text to include recent discoveries. She has also prepared a Catalogue of Works that includes all of Clara Schumann's known published and unpublished compositions and works she edited, as well as descriptions of the autographs, the first editions, the modern editions, and recent literature on each piece. The Catalogue also notes Schumann's performances of her own music and provides pertinent quotations from letters, diaries, and contemporary reviews.

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    Kaija Saariaho: Visions, Narratives, Dialogues

    Kaija Saariaho is internationally recognized as a leading figure in contemporary music, enjoying a well-deserved reputation for works that are both creatively original and of considerable appeal. Her music communicates with a refreshingly broad audience, and this special achievement deserves careful consideration. In the first symposium book in English to be dedicated exclusively to this single figure, scholars from both the UK and Saariaho's native Finland bring a range of perspectives to her richly varied output. Uncovering the compositional, historical, cultural and sociological issues that have resulted in such critical acclaim lies at the heart of this collection of essays. Saariaho's approach to composition is an interdisciplinary one; it embraces a number of art forms - visual, literary and musical - in works that explore a creative dialogue between image, continuity and time. While such diversity is readily accommodated in a multi-authored collection, the consistency of an underlying compositional identity and integrity is also an important trait. The grouping of these essays into three strands - 'visions', 'narratives' and 'dialogues' - reflects the wide range of Saariaho's creative preoccupations while subscribing to a carefully structured succession of commentaries.

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    Voice of the Living Light

    Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) would have been an extraordinary person in any age. But for a woman of the twelfth century her achievements were so exceptional that posterity has found it hard to take her measure. Barbara Newman, a premier Hildegard authority, brings major scholars together to present an accurate portrait of the Benedictine nun and her many contributions to twelfth-century religious, cultural, and intellectual life. Written by specialists in fields ranging from medieval theology to medicine to music, these essays offer an understanding of how one woman could transform so many of the traditions of the world in which she lived. Hildegard of Bingen was the only woman of her age accepted as an authoritative voice on Christian doctrine as well as the first woman permitted by the pope to write theological books. She was the author of the first known morality play; an artist of unusual talents; the most prolific chant composer of her era; and the first woman to write extensively on natural science and medicine, including sexuality as seen from a female perspective. She was the only woman of her time to preach openly to mixed audiences of clergy and laity, and the first saint whose biography includes a first-person memoir. Adding to the significance of this volume is the fact that Hildegard's oeuvre reflects the entire sweep of twelfth-century culture and society. Scholars and lay readers alike will find this collection a rich introduction to a remarkable figure and to her tumultuous world. With the commemoration of the 900th anniversary of Hildegard's birth in September 1998, the publication of Voice of the Living Light is especially welcome.

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    Francesca Caccini at the Medici Court

    A contemporary of Shakespeare and Monteverdi, and a colleague of Galileo and Artemisia Gentileschi at the Medici court, Francesca Caccini was a dominant musical figure there for thirty years. Dazzling listeners with the transformative power of her performances and the sparkling wit of the music she composed for more than a dozen court theatricals, Caccini is best remembered today as the first woman to have composed opera. Francesca Caccini at the Medici Court reveals for the first time how this multitalented composer established a fully professional musical career at a time when virtually no other women were able to achieve comparable success. Suzanne Cusick argues that Caccini's career depended on the usefulness of her talents to the political agenda of Grand Duchess Christine de Lorraine, Tuscany's de facto regent from 1606 to 1636. Drawing on Classical and feminist theory, Cusick shows how the music Caccini made for the Medici court sustained the culture that enabled Christine's power, thereby also supporting the sexual and political aims of its women. In bringing Caccini's surprising story so vividly to life, Cusick ultimately illuminates how music making functioned in early modern Italy as a significant medium for the circulation of power.

    Amy Beach, Passionate Victorian

    Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1867-1944), the most widely performed composer of her generation, was the first American woman to succeed as a creator of large-scale art music. Her "Gaelic" Symphony, given its premiere by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1896, was the first work of its kind by an American woman to be performed by an American orchestra. Almost all of her more than 300 works were published soon after they were composed and performed, and today her music is finding new advocates and audiences for its energy, intensity, and sheer beauty. Yet, until now, no full-length critical biography of Beach's life or comprehensive critical overview of her music existed. This biography admirably fills that gap, fully examining the connections between Beach's life and work in light of social currents and dominant ideologies. Born into a musical family in Victorian times, Amy Beach started composing as a child of four and was equally gifted as a pianist. Her talent was recognized early by Boston's leading musicians, who gave her unqualified support. Although Beach believed that the life of a professional musician was the only life for her, her parents had raised her for marriage and a career of amateur music-making. Her response to this parental (and later spousal) opposition was to find creative ways of reaching her goal without direct confrontation. Discouraged from a full-scale concert career, she instead found her metier in composition. Success as a composer of art songs came early for Beach: indeed, her songs outsold those of her contemporaries. Nevertheless, she was determined to separate her work from the genteel parlor music women were writing in her day by creating large-scale works-a Mass, a symphony, and chamber music-that challenged the accepted notion that women were incapable of creating high art. She won the respect of colleagues and the allegiance of audiences. Many who praised her work, however, considered her an exception among women. Beach's reaction to this was to join with other women composers of serious music by promoting their works along with her own. Adrienne Fried Block has written a biography that takes full account of issues of gender and musical modernism, considering Beach in the contexts of her time and of her composer contemporaries, both male and female. Amy Beach, Passionate Victorian will be of great interest to students and scholars of American music, and to music lovers in general.

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    Germaine tailleferre ; la dame des six

    Oeuvre de femme, de femme modeste et discrète : faut-il voir là une cause de la curieuse disparition de Tailleferre de nos programmes ? Précisions - des programmes français. Car les étrangers semblent redécouvrir pour cette musique, jugée très française, l'émerveillement dont ont témoigné ses contemporains.

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    Joanna has twice won certificates of honour (and a free beer) for demonstrating “extraordinary courage against the unsurmountable Phaal”, a ludicrously spicy curry.