This selective annotated bibliography places Alma Mahler with three other female composers of her time, covering the first generation of active female composers in the twentieth century. It uncovers the wealth of resources available on the lives and music of Mahler, Florence Price, Yuliya Lazarevna Veysberg, and Maria Teresa Prieto and supports emerging scholarship and inquiry on four women who experienced both entrenched sexual discrimination and political upheaval, which affected their lives and influenced composers of subsequent generations.
Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1867-1944), the most widely performed composer of her generation, was the first American woman to succeed as a creator of large-scale art music. Her "Gaelic" Symphony, given its premiere by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1896, was the first work of its kind by an American woman to be performed by an American orchestra. Almost all of her more than 300 works were published soon after they were composed and performed, and today her music is finding new advocates and audiences for its energy, intensity, and sheer beauty. Yet, until now, no full-length critical biography of Beach's life or comprehensive critical overview of her music existed. This biography admirably fills that gap, fully examining the connections between Beach's life and work in light of social currents and dominant ideologies. Born into a musical family in Victorian times, Amy Beach started composing as a child of four and was equally gifted as a pianist. Her talent was recognized early by Boston's leading musicians, who gave her unqualified support. Although Beach believed that the life of a professional musician was the only life for her, her parents had raised her for marriage and a career of amateur music-making. Her response to this parental (and later spousal) opposition was to find creative ways of reaching her goal without direct confrontation. Discouraged from a full-scale concert career, she instead found her m#65533;tier in composition. Success as a composer of art songs came early for Beach: indeed, her songs outsold those of her contemporaries. Nevertheless, she was determined to separate her work from the genteel parlor music women were writing in her day by creating large-scale works--a Mass, a symphony, and chamber music--that challenged the accepted notion that women were incapable of creating high art. She won the respect of colleagues and the allegiance of audiences. Many who praised her work, however, considered her an exception among women. Beach's reaction to this was to join with other women composers of serious music by promoting their works along with her own. Adrienne Fried Block has written a biography that takes full account of issues of gender and musical modernism, considering Beach in the contexts of her time and of her composer contemporaries, both male and female. Amy Beach, Passionate Victorian will be of great interest to students and scholars of American music, and to music lovers in general.
Granddaughter of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn and sister of the composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Fanny Hensel (1805-1847) was an extraordinary musician who left well over four hundred compositions, most of which fell into oblivion until their rediscovery late in the twentiethcentury. In Fanny Hensel: The Other Mendelssohn, R. Larry Todd offers a compelling, authoritative account of Hensel's life and music, and her struggle to emerge as a publicly recognized composer.
A contemporary of Shakespeare and Monteverdi, and a colleague of Galileo and Artemisia Gentileschi at the Medici court, Francesca Caccini was a dominant musical figure there for thirty years. Dazzling listeners with the transformative power of her performances and the sparkling wit of the music she composed for more than a dozen court theatricals, Caccini is best remembered today as the first woman to have composed opera. Francesca Caccini at the Medici Court reveals for the first time how this multitalented composer established a fully professional musical career at a time when virtually no other women were able to achieve comparable success. Suzanne G. Cusick argues that Caccini's career depended on the usefulness of her talents to the political agenda of Grand Duchess Christine de Lorraine, Tuscany's de facto regent from 1606 to 1636. Drawing on Classical and feminist theory, Cusick shows how the music Caccini made for the Medici court sustained the culture that enabled Christine's power, thereby also supporting the sexual and political aims of its women. In bringing Caccini's surprising story so vividly to life, Cusick ultimately illuminates how music making functioned in early modern Italy as a significant medium for the circulation of power.
Libby Larsen has composed award-winning music performed around the world. Her works range from chamber pieces and song cycles to operas to large-scale works for orchestra and chorus. At the same time, she has advocated for living composers and new music since cofounding the American Composers Forum in 1973. Denise Von Glahn 's in-depth examination of Larsen merges traditional biography with a daring scholarly foray: an ethnography of one active artist. Drawing on musical analysis, the composer 's personal archive, and seven years of interviews with Larsen and those in her orbit, Von Glahn illuminates the polyphony of achievements that make up Larsen 's public and private lives. In considering Larsen 's musical impact, Von Glahn delves into how elements of the personal "a 1950s childhood, spiritual seeking, love of nature, and status as an important woman artist "inform her work. The result is a portrait of a musical pathfinder who continues to defy expectations and reject labels.
Marianna Martines (1744-1813) was one of the most accomplished, prolific, and highly honored female musicians of the eighteenth century. She spent most of her life in a remarkable household that included celebrated librettist Pietro Metastasio, who supervised her education and remained a powerful and supportive mentor. She studied with the young Joseph Haydn, and Vienna knew her as a gifted, aristocratic singer and keyboard player who performed for the pleasure of the Empress Maria Theresa. The regular private concerts she held in her home attracted the presence and participation of some of Vienna's leading musicians; Mozart enjoyed playing keyboard duets with her. She composed prolifically and in a wide variety of genres, vocal and instrumental, writing church music, oratorios, Italian arias, sonatas, and concertos. Much of that music survives, and those who study it, perform it, and listen to it will be impressed today by its craftsmanship and beauty. This book, the first volume fully devoted to Martines, examines her life and compositional oeuvre. Based largely on eighteenth-century printed sources, archival documents, and letters [including several by Martines herself, most of them published here for the first times, examines her life and compositional oeuvre. Based largely on eighteenth-century printed sources, archival documents, and letters [including several by Martines herself, most of them published here for the first times, examines her life and compositional oeuvre. Based largely on eighteenth-century printed sources, archival documents, and letters [including several by Martines herself, most of them published here for the first times, examines her life and compositional oeuvre. Based largely on eighteenth-century printed sources, archival documents, and letters [including several by Martines herself, most of them published here for the first time] the book presents a detailed picture of the small but fascinating world in which she lived and demonstrates the skillfulness and creativity with which she manipulated the conventions of the gallant style. Focusing on a limited number of representative works, and using many musical examples, it vividly conveys the nature and extent of her compositional achievement and encourages the future performance of her works. The late Irving Godt was Professor of Music at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. John A. Rice, independent scholar, is a member of the Akademie für Mozart-Forschung in Salzburg.
Pioneers in their fields and two of the best-known women in music in the twentieth century, Nadia and Lili Boulanger have previously been considered in isolation from one another. Yet, as Caroline Potter's new book demonstrates, their careers were closely linked during Lili Boulanger's short life (1893-1918) and there are several intriguing connections between their musical works. This biography also provides the first full analysis of the Boulanger sisters' musical styles, placing them within the context of French musical history. Their lives are also a case study in the issues of gender which surround music making even to the present day. Despite an unusually privileged upbringing, Nadia and Lili Boulanger exemplify the struggle women experienced when attempting to enter the professional music world. Lili became the first woman to win the Prix de Rome in 1913, and Nadia gained second place in 1908. Yet in spite of this initial success, Nadia Boulanger was to give up composing in her thirties and devoted the remainder of her long life to teaching. Her pupils included several of the great composers of the century, including Aaron Copland and Elliott Carter. This book, focusing on their musical careers, is essential reading for anyone interested in French music of the twentieth century.