Showing posts with label Elizabeth Maconchy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elizabeth Maconchy. Show all posts

Sunday, March 08, 2020

International Women's Day: a celebration!

It's time to celebrate International Women's Day, and alongside a number of fantastic programmes on BBC Radio 3, which is playing works by female composers all day, there's a lot more going on besides. Catch the new film Beyond the Grace Note about conductors who are female, on Sky Arts, directed by Henrietta Foster - 3pm today. Writer Anna Beer and composer Debbie Wiseman are giving a talk later today at Kellogg College, Oxford. Kathryn Stott has just announced a terrific range of music by women that will be heard later in the year at her Australian Festival of Chamber Music (more about that very soon). The list could continue.

For our own celebration here on JDCMB, I've assembled some of my favourite pieces by female composers, for your musical delectation. They are in no particular order and have not been chosen for any representative geographical or temporal spread. I've picked some because they are specially well played, others because they will have wide appeal, one because it shows the composer playing the violin, and all of them because they are fantastic pieces that ought to be performed more widely, as should the other music by their composers. If you are a musician and enjoy these, please use the selection as a jumping-off point for further exploration of their works and consider adding them to your repertoire.

Have a wonderful IWD, everyone!


CLARA SCHUMANN: PIANO TRIO, Op. 17. I personally think this is her best piece, but feel free to pick another if you prefer!


LOUISE FARRENC: SYMPHONY NO. 3. Ought to be 'standard repertoire' the world over.


GRAZYNA BACEWICZ performs her own OBEREK (1952) - chose this one because it is rare film of the composer playing her own music, but there are MANY wonderful pieces by her


BARBARA STROZZI: L'ERACLITO AMOROSO. If you like Monteverdi, you'll adore this. A beautifully made music-video film performed by Heather Newhouse and Le Concert de l'Hostel Dieu.


ROXANNA PANUFNIK: FOUR WORLD SEASONS, smashing violin concerto written for Tasmin Little. Here's the last movement, 'Indian Summer'.


ERROLLYN WALLEN: MIGHTY RIVER. Wonderful piece combining spirituals and contemporary techniques to reflect on slavery and freedom.


NICOLA LEFANU: TOKAIDO ROAD, chamber opera performed at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. A spare, sensitive, magical work inspired by the life of the artist Hiroshige.


VITEZLAVA KAPRALOVA: PARTITA FOR PIANO & ORCHESTRA. Martinu's star pupil (and more), she should have been a leading Czech voice of the 30s, but she died tragically at the age of 25. This is a dazzling and ruggedly challenging piece...


ELIZABETH MACONCHY: STRING QUARTET NO. 1. This is the just the first of a major series of quartets that should by rights be heard as often as certain other 20th-century cycles. Next, hear all her others.


SOFIA GUBAILDULINA: CHACONNE. Performed by the magnificent Sofya Gulyak. Any pianist looking for a contemporary work by a female composer to add to their regular concert repertoire should have a look at this brilliant piece right away.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A missing tribute

We had an amazing day yesterday at the BASCA Women in Music discussion. It was a huge privilege to chair the event and find myself sharing a stage with seven extraordinary composers. I'll be writing it up in some detail for the BASCA journal, which will be out in mid December. The energy of the event was so excellent and the audience so engaged and responsive that it is possible there'll be another in the new year, but I can't confirm that yet - please watch this space.

Meanwhile, I was shocked to hear from Nicola LeFanu that yesterday was the 20th anniversary of her mother Dame Elizabeth Maconchy's death and while commemorative festivals of her music were held as far afield as Graz and Austalia, nothing - 00000 - was done about it anywhere in the UK. Please take a minute to listen to her gorgeous setting of Ophelia's Song, sung here by Caroline McPhie with pianist Joseph Middleton.