Author Topic: Female composers  (Read 15386 times)

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Offline Diletante

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Female composers
« on: January 26, 2009, 07:58:30 PM »
Hello.

I've listened to pieces by dozens of composers, and the only female composer I've stumbled upon is Sofia Gubaidulina. To me it seems that female composers in the standard repertoire are practically non-existent.

I can understand that in past centuries women's musical capabilities weren't taken seriously, but how do things look like for women in this time and age? I mean, there are/have been talented and recognized female classical performers like Martha Argerich, Hilary Hahn, Jacqueline du Pr, Vanessa-Mae (kidding)... But to me it seems that female composers haven't had such a breakthrough. Or am I missing something?
Orgullosamente diletante.

Offline Renfield

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2009, 08:27:23 PM »
Clara Schumann, Lili (and Nadia) Boulanger, Fanny Mendelssohn, off the top of my head. :)

There's a few around, they're just a little hard to spot.
"If they know what to do, they will do it themselves: don't disturb it." - Herbert von Karajan, Kapellmeister

"when it is truly time [...] it will do it by itself and it will keep on doing it until you die or it dies in you." - H. C. Bukowski

And the world is still everything that is the case.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2009, 08:46:41 PM »
Hi Tanuki - there are plenty of female composers to appreciate - I've probably only explored a limited number but will simply list some that I currently own w/ specific recordings that I have:

Beach, Amy - Chamber & Orchestral Works + Songs
Bon, Anna - Flute & Harpsichord Sonatas
Bonis, Mel (a.k.a. Melanie) - Piano Quartets & Flute Music
Clarke, Rebecca - Choral Music & Piano Trio
Farrenc, Louise - Piano Quintets & Symphonies
Hildegard von Bingen - ancient & so many if you're into medieval
Maconchy, Elizabeth - String Quartets
Mendelssohn, Fanny - Piano Trio & String Quartet
Schumann, Clara - Piano Music

There are likely other offerings from the composers other, and of course plenty of other ladies that I've not explored!  ;D

Reason for edit: forgot to include Beach, who I just listened to a week ago!
« Last Edit: January 27, 2009, 08:11:18 AM by SonicMan »

Offline some guy

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2009, 09:45:13 PM »
Yes, you are missing something.

And judging from your comment about having listened to dozens of composers, I'd venture to guess that you've been missing a lot of male composers as well!

Let's see what I can do just off the top of my head (ignoring the "standard repertoire" part--I have no idea what's standard or not*):

Galina Ustvolskaya
Ana-Maria Avram
Roxanne Turcotte
Natasha Barrett
Christine Groult
Michele Bokanowski
Eliane Radigue
Annette Vandegorne
Lyn Goeringer
Pauline Oliveros
Bonnie Miksch
Laurie Spiegel
Iris ter Schiphorst
Isabel Mundry
Chaya Czernowin
Beatriz Ferreyra
Elainie Lillios
Elsa Justel
Meredith Monk
Zeena Parkins
Alice Shields
Pri Smiley
Gloria Coates
Anna Clyne
Diana Simpson

That's twenty-five without breaking a sweat. And I guess that qualifies for "dozens," too now, doesn't it? (There are lots more, by the way. A few minutes with my collection would unearth dozens more. (So at least 24.)

*And when I say "no idea," I mean that I do have some idea.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2009, 10:15:09 PM by some guy »

Offline Brian

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2009, 09:50:43 PM »
Farrenc, Louise - Piano Quintets & Symphonies
Farrenc's Symphony No 1 [1840] belongs near the very top of my list of the best symphonies written between 1825 and 1875.

pjme

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2009, 11:05:36 PM »
There are many more :

From France : Edith Canat - de Chizy, Thrse Brenet, Germaine Tailleferre, Adrienne Clostre, Yvonne Desportes, Suzanne Demarquez, Betsy Jolas, Ginette Keller...
Britain: Elisabeth Lutyens, Elisabeth Maconchy, Grace Williams, Judith Weir, Minna Keal
Belgium : Jacqueline Fontyn, Annelies Van Parys, Petra Vermote Denise Tolkowsky, Nini Bulterijs, Jos Vigneron en Chris Whittle. Mieke Van Haute, Erika Budai, Gwendolyn Sommereyns, Hanne Deneire, Kristin Desmedt, Ingrid Meuris, Antoinette Tronquo en Kaat Dewindt
the Netherlands : Tera De Marez-Oyens, Henriette Bosmans,Anna Cramer,Elisabeth Kuyper
Germany : Babette Koblenz, Ilse Fromm-Michaels,Adrianna Hlszky
Austria : Olga Neuwirth
and



Jennifer Higdon.

Or, from the 19th century, the formidable Augusta Holms



etc.

P.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2009, 04:39:30 AM by pjme »

Offline Moldyoldie

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2009, 07:04:16 AM »
Not mentioned as yet, Joan Tower.

"I think the problem with technology is that people use it because its around.  That is disgusting and stupid!  Please quote me."
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Offline Superhorn

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2009, 07:55:11 AM »
  There have been women composers since Hildegard von Bingen, who lived in the 12th century. Unfortunately, given the sexist attitudes of the past, they never got the exposure that they may have deserved.
  But things have been changing vastly in recent years; there are more women composers than ever before, and they are being performed more often then ever before. In addition, music by women composers of the past has been revived, and there is now a considerable amount of music by female composers on CD.
  New York Times chief music critic Anthony Tommasini has reported that about half of all the composition students at music schools,colleges and universities are now women.

Homo Aestheticus

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2009, 08:04:38 AM »
New York Times chief music critic Anthony Tommasini has reported that about half of all the composition students at music schools,colleges and universities are now women.

That's pretty amazing.   

:o

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2009, 08:09:06 AM »
That's pretty amazing.   

:o

No it's not. For an explanation, refer to Elder George:

http://www.mensaction.net/video/Vagina-Vocational-Centers.html

Unfortunately, given the sexist attitudes of the past, they never got the exposure that they may have deserved.

Or maybe they did receive the exposure they deserved, just like every other obscure male composer who's works have been laid aside in the trash bin of history, which essentially includes all of them except for the few geniuses who's compositions endured the test of time. In the words of Camille Paglia:

"Male conspiracy cannot explain all female failures. I am convinced that, even without restrictions, there still would have been no female Pascal, Milton, or Kant. Genius is not checked by social obstacles: it will overcome."

« Last Edit: January 27, 2009, 08:19:28 AM by Josquin des Prez »

Bulldog

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2009, 08:32:12 AM »
Yes, you are missing something.

And judging from your comment about having listened to dozens of composers, I'd venture to guess that you've been missing a lot of male composers as well!

Let's see what I can do just off the top of my head (ignoring the "standard repertoire" part--I have no idea what's standard or not*):

Galina Ustvolskaya
Ana-Maria Avram
Roxanne Turcotte
Natasha Barrett
Christine Groult
Michele Bokanowski
Eliane Radigue
Annette Vandegorne
Lyn Goeringer
Pauline Oliveros
Bonnie Miksch
Laurie Spiegel
Iris ter Schiphorst
Isabel Mundry
Chaya Czernowin
Beatriz Ferreyra
Elainie Lillios
Elsa Justel
Meredith Monk
Zeena Parkins
Alice Shields
Pri Smiley
Gloria Coates
Anna Clyne
Diana Simpson


A nasty little remark followed by some pumped-up praise for yourself. ::)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2009, 08:43:45 AM »
......and Grazyna Bacewicz(Poland) and Dame Ethel Smyth(Britain); both recently being discussed in the Composer Discussion Forum :)

Offline some guy

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2009, 09:44:36 AM »
A nasty little remark followed by some pumped-up praise for yourself. ::)

And another nasty little remark, this one without even a nice list to redeem it!

Bulldog

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2009, 10:00:28 AM »
And another nasty little remark, this one without even a nice list to redeem it!

You're the one who insulted a fellow board member for making an innocent posting.  I suggest you apologize to him.

mozartsneighbor

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2009, 11:05:36 AM »
I would like to throw in two earlier female composers whose music is excellent beyond a shadow of doubt:

-- Barbara Strozzi (1619-1664): if you like Monteverdi you will respond to her music. This cd of her vocal music is wonderful and Kiehr is one of the top singers specializing in 17th century Italian music:


-- Camilla de Rossi (flourished 1707-10): very little is known about her except that she composed 4 oratorios during a short period for the court of Joseph I of Austria. This recording of one of those oratorios counts with generally pretty decent performers, and the music is of high quality and startling originality:


Drasko

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2009, 11:13:11 AM »

http://www.amazon.com/Ljubica-Maric-Byzantine-Concerto-Threshold/dp/B0006AZPZ4
http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//CHAN10267H.htm

[mp3=200,20,0,left]http://www.fileden.com/files/2008/7/24/2018019/MaricOstinato.mp3[/mp3]
Ostinato super Thema Octocha, for piano, harp & string orchestra
Ljubica Maric (piano), Josip Pikelj (harp) 
Belgrade Radio-Television Chamber Orchestra / Oskar Danon


Born on March 18, 1909, in Kragujevac, Serbia; died on September 18, 2003, in Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro. Education: Studied the violin and composition with Josip Slavenski at the Stankovic Music School in Belgrade; attended the Prague Conservatory (1929-37), where she studied composition with Josef Suk and Alois Hba, and conducting with Nikolay Malko.

Maric was still a student at the Prague Conservatory when she wrote her Wind Quintet, a work that brought her instant recognition. Although influenced by her teachers in Prague, including Alois Hba, known for his quarter-tone music, the Wind Quintet was recognized as a work of striking originality by audiences in Prague, Amsterdam, and Strasbourg. When she returned to Belgrade, she worked as a teacher at the Stankovic Music School, eventually obtaining a post at the Academy of Music, where she taught music theory.

Not long after Maric's return from Prague, World War II broke out in Europe. If wartime was hard, the postwar period in Yugoslavia brought further unexpected difficulties for creative artists. The new Communist government imposed the doctrine of socialist realism on all creative artists, including composers, stipulating that the artist's duty was to glorify reality. For musicians, this meant that only unsophisticated, simpleminded music was tolerated. Unwilling to conform, Maric devoted herself to studying traditional and medieval Serbian music. While these studies did not influence her later work in a literal sense, her affinity with the melancholy spirit of the Serbian Middle Ages obviously informed her artistic vision. During the 1950s, when artists regained some freedom, Maric started composing music inspired by medieval themes. A representative work from this period is the Songs of Space cantata, Maric's homage to the memory of the Bogomils, a religious sect that rejected the physical world as evil. Having admired Bosnia's mysterious Bogomil tombstones, Maric translated their enigmatic, yet compelling, symbolism, inscriptions, and images into music of rare suggestiveness.

Intending to underline the Byzantine background of Serbian medieval music, Maric developed the idea of the Byzantine oktoechos, the series of eight church modes, in her music. For Maric the oktoechos was not a literal technique but rather a symbol of archaic simplicity. And, as evidenced by works composed in the 1990s, Maric never stopped searching for her musical ideal of absolute archaic purity.

by Zoran Minderovic

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2009, 11:47:28 AM »
We shouldn't overlook Mahler's wife:




Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Homo Aestheticus

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2009, 11:55:05 AM »
No it's not. For an explanation, refer to Elder George:

http://www.mensaction.net/video/Vagina-Vocational-Centers.html

That was most amusing...   :D 

Thanks.




Offline matti

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2009, 12:06:29 PM »

Bulldog

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Re: Female composers
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2009, 12:09:58 PM »
That was most amusing...   :D 

Thanks.

Yes, very amusing.  George makes this big distinction between women using nouns and men using verbs.  It's just garbage, and please notice how the same accusations he lodges at women also apply to all the wonderful guys on Wall Street.

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