Sounds and Sweet Airs

Sounds and Sweet Airs

The Forgotten Women of Classical Music

Book - 2016
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Perseus Publishing
Throughout history female composers have been subjected to ludicrous criticisms, had their sex lives scrutinized and the veracity of their authorship questioned. Fanny Mendelssohn, who established one of the most important musical salons of the nineteenth century, spent much of her life seeing her few published compositions credited to her brother. Seven years after writing that she would never become a composer, Clara Schumann, with four children under five and a husband struggling with mental illness, wrote the poised and lyrical Piano Trio in G Minor.

From Andalucía to Berlin, this is a celebration of the great forgotten women who evaded, confronted and ignored the ideologies and practices that sought to exclude them from the art they loved. They composed in times of war and revolution, plague and exile, working in convents and castles, salons and princes’ courts, townhouses and conservatoires, their lives entwined with European history. Long-overdue, Composer paints a complex and inspirational picture of artistic endeavor and achievement which deserves to be part of our cultural heritage.

The featured composers:

Francesca Caccini, Barbara Strozzi, Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Marianna Martines, Fanny Hensel (née Mendelssohn), Clara Schumann, Lili Boulanger, Elizabeth Maconchy

Publisher: London : Oneworld Publications, c2016
ISBN: 9781780748566
Branch Call Number: 780.922 BEE
Characteristics: xi, 368 p. :,ill. ;,23 cm.


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Sep 09, 2016

Unfortunately, as interesting as this topic might have been, the writing is generally dry and uninspiring. Moreover, while the book has a bibliography, the text itself has no footnotes, even though the author quotes individuals throughout the book, refers to other works, and makes questionable statements and allegations.
The book, consequently, has a decided lack of authenticity; nevertheless, the book probably is unique in its scope, so I would give it a lukewarm recommendation to those who might be interested.

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