ClassicsaDay #ForgottenComposers Week 1

This month the Classics a Day team presents a real challenge. And that’s to remember forgotten composers. It’s a challenge, but remembering the forgotten can be important, too.

The idea here isn’t to lift up composers who always labored in obscurity. Rather, the goal is to recall composers that were once popular. 

Throughout this month, many of the composers I’ll be featuring will have the same story. During their lifetime they were famous and popular. People flock to hear them play, publishers fight for the rights to their music, and younger composers emulate their style. 

And yet, after their death, it all goes away — and quite quickly. Usually, within a decade their music’s out of print, no one performs or discusses them, and they’re virtually eliminated from music history.

Why? The reasons vary. Sometimes it’s gender or racial bias. Sometimes it’s political upheaval. Sometimes tastes just change. 

Here are my posts from the first week of #ForgottenComposers. I’ll leave it to you to judge if they deserve to remain so.

11/01/22 Louise Farrenc: Trio for flute, cello, and piano, Op. 45

In her lifetime she was feted as a virtuoso pianist and wrote symphonies, chamber works, and piano music. She was a Professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatory for 30 years and wrote several important piano technique books and etudes. Shortly after she died, her reputation and music disappeared.

11/02/22 Hans Huber: Symphony No. 2 “Böcklin Symphony”

At the turn of the 20th Century, Huber was the pre-eminent Swiss composer. His second symphony was part of the orchestral repertoire. After his death in 1921, his music and his reputation were quickly forgotten.

11/03/22 Marianna Martines: Keyboard Concerto in A major

In her lifetime Martines was renowned throughout Europe as a singer, harpsichordist, and composer. She had studied with Haydn and was the first woman to be admitted to the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna. After her death in 1812, her music all but vanished.

11/04/22 Niccolo Jommelli: Requiem

In his lifetime Jommelli was extremely influential among French and Italian operatic composers. He, along with Christoph Gluck, was credited with revitalizing the art form. And yet after his death in 1774 his music ceased to be performed. Very soon music histories credited only Gluck with the innovations they both championed.

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