I get the BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE every month. It always comes with a CD that’s part of the subscription that I have had for a few years. The CD’s have augmented the collection on my shelves to the point that I have had to make presents of boxes of CD’s to many musician friends. I hope they are as happy with my gifts as I have been listening to them.
This month I got volume 27, number 9 of the BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE COLLECTION. It features the Atos Trio in two trios: Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio in G minor, opus 17 and Fanny Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor, op.11 interspersed by Robert Schumann’s Fantasie in C, Op. 17.
The playing is lovely, elegant, sensitive to a fault, and technically flawless. But what made me sit up and listen were the contents of this disc: two works by women composers! Is this a complete rarity? Not really, but nevertheless in this case a welcome and respectful nod to two women composers that I would not hesitate to call sadly neglected.
I cannot recall in recent years of concert-going when the last time was that a work by either Clara Schumann or Fanny Mendelssohn was heard here in our musically-rich Cincinnati.
How about Pauline Viardot…Nadia Boulanger…Germaine Taillefere…Teresa Carreño…Agathe Backer Grøndahl…Ruth Crawford Seeger…Florence Price…Amy Beach…? Those are names to begin with. Contemporary women composers is yet another dry oasis left abandoned and unexplored these days by many a concert series, quite a few symphony orchestras, and even college recital programs – both those of faculty and students.
This is not a blanket indictment from my soapbox but a call to action to our fellow musicians. Go outside the all-male box and dig out the music of some of these wonderful composers!
Rafael de Acha http://www.RafaelMusicNotes.com