One of the ongoing Twitter hashtag groups I participate with is #ClassicsaDay. The idea’s pretty simple: post a link to a classical work, and – in the body of the tweet – provide a little info about it. For March 2017, some of the participants decided to include a theme.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we would only post links to works by women composers. We used an additional hashtag #WomensHistoryMonth to ensure a wider audience. It seemed to work. I received many comments on my March #ClassicsaDay posts.
And I believe we helped make the case that the concept of “women composers” is hardly a late-20th-century phenomenon. Women have been writing music as long as there has been a notation for it. Here’s the list of women composers and their works I shared during #WomensHistoryMonth
Part 3: The Romantic (1827-1910)
Sophia Maria Westenholz (1759–1838) – Morgenlied
– Composer and educator Sophia Westenholz entered the German court at an early age. Her husband was Kapellmeister at Ludwiglust, and after his death, she was appointed Kapellmeisterin. Her works were often performed at court and many of her compositions were published.
Cecilia Maria Barthélemon (c. 1769–after 1840) Piano Sonata Op. 1, No. 3
– Cecilia Barthélemon was an English opera singer and composer. Both her parents were professional musicians and composers as well.
Marie Bigot (1786–1820) – Suite d’Etudes
– Marie Bigot earned her living as a piano teacher. All of her compositions are for solo piano, written primarily for her students.
Maria Agata Szymanowska (1789–1831) – Nocturne in B-flat major
– Maria Szymanowska was one of the first piano virtuosos — of either sex — to be a professional touring artist. Clara Schumann would follow the same career path. Like many touring artists of the 19th century, most of her compositions were written primarily for herself to perform in concert.
Fredrica von Stedingk (1799–1868) – Noturno
– Little is known of Maria Fredrica von Stedingk, save that she was a maid of honor for the Queen of Sweden, Désirée Clary. Her music survives in manuscript.
Marianna Bottini (1802–1858) – Requiem Mass
– Bottini wrote a wide variety of works. She was admitted to the Accademia Filarmonica in Bologna as an ‘honorary master composer’. As if. The quality of her compositions renders the qualifier “honorary” completely unnecessary.
Louise Farrenc (1804–1875) – Symphony No. 3
– Louise Farrenc was one of the most prominent Parisian composers. During her lifetime her music was frequently performed, though her fame virtually disappeared after her death. Happily, her music has enjoyed renewed interest in the 21st Century.
Louise-Angélique Bertin (1805–1877) – Highlights from Esmeralda
– French composer Louise-Angélique Bertin wrote a number of operas, including “Esmeralda.” The opera was based on Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and she collaborated with the author (Hugo wrote the libretto) in the creation of the work.
Clara Schumann (1819-1896) – Piano Concerto
– Clara Schumann is one of the best-known women composers. She was a piano virtuoso and wife of Robert Schumann. Her compositions are mostly piano-centric.
Teresa Milanollo (1827–1904) – Lamento, Op. 7
– Teresa Milanollo was a violin virtuoso and a child prodigy. She enjoying a successful career as a touring performer and composer.
Tekla Badarzewska-Baranowska (1834–1861) – A Maiden’s Prayer, Op. 4
– Polish composer Tekla Badarzewska-Baranowska specialized in piano miniatures. She wrote and published 35 works, her career cut short by an early death.
Laura Valborg Aulin (1860–1928) – Piano Sonata in F minor Op. 14
– Swedish composer Laura Aulin wrote mostly lieder and works for solo piano. She did, however, write two exceptionally fine string quartets.
Clémence de Grandval (1828–1907) – Oboe Concerto, Op. 7
– Clémence de Grandval was a well-known French composer, but her fame diminished after her death. She wrote extensively for the oboe, and also composed several operas as well as other major works.
Alice Tegnér (1864–1943)- Ave Maria
– Alice Tegnér rose to prominence in the late 19th century as a composer of children’s songs. Virtually all of her works are vocal or choral.
Margaret Ruthven Lang (1867–1972) – Three Piano Pieces
– Margaret Lang was part of the Second New England School of American composers. She and Amy Beach were the first two women to have their works performed by American orchestras.
Signe Lund (1868–1950) – Prelude for piano
– Norwegian composer Signer Lund came from an artistic family. Her mother Birgitte Charlotte Carlsen was a pianist and a composer, and her brother was artist Henrik Lund. Over 60 of her compositions have been published.
Joséphine Boulay (1869–1925) – Prelude for organ
– Boulay was a French organist and composer of considerable talent. She studied with Cesar Franck and Jules Massenet.
Henriette Renié (1875–1956) – Harp Concerto
– Harp virtuoso Henriette Renié composed music primarily for her instrument. Her works have become part of the core repertoire for the harp.
Hélène Fleury-Roy (1876–1957) – Fantasie for violin and piano, Op. 18
– Hélène Fleury-Roy was a French composer of some reputation. She holds the distinction of being the first woman to win the prestigious Prix du Rome composition competition.
Jeanne Beijerman-Walraven (1878–1969) – Concert Overture
– Dutch composer Jeanne Beijerman-Walraven wrote an extensive amount of choral and orchestral music. When the romantic style of composition fell out of favor in the 1920s, performances of her works declined.
Johanna Müller-Hermann (1878–1941) – String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 6
– Johanna Müller-Hermann studied with Alexander von Zemlinsky and was renowned for her chamber and orchestral music.
Next week: The Modern Era