August 24, birthday of Ronee Blakley

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

Ronee Blakley (b. 1945) is a singer-songwriter and actress, probably best known for her performance in Robert Altman’s 1975 film, “Nashville.” Her first album was written, performed and produced by herself and featured this song with Linda Ronstandt backing. She was married to the German film maker, Wim Wenders.

“Bluebird”

August 23, birthday of Malvina Reynolds

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

Malvina Reynolds (1900 – 1978) is probably best known for her song, “Little Boxes,” which she wrote as she and her husband were driving by a new housing development in California. The song was recorded by Pete Seegar, and I remember listening to it as a boy on the radio when it came out in 1963. It’s always made me feel a bit sad, being about middle America conformity and the shoddy construction of the buildings, “made out of ticky tacky.” Though everyone hates the suburbs, perhaps they made housing affordable for the first time for massive amounts of people.

“Little Boxes” performed by Peet Seegar

August 20, birthday of Elisabeth Sophie of Mecklenburg

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

Duchess Elisabeth Sophie of Mecklenburg (1613 – 1676) was a German composer an poet. She is probably the first female composer whose work was published. She wrote mostly hymns and collaborated with the composer Heinrich Schütz.

Once again, I can’t find any recordings of her works.  Do any of you, dear readers, have any leads?

 

August 16, birthday of Dora Bright

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

Dora Estella Bright, married name Knatchbull, (1862 – 1951) was the first woman to receive the Charles Lucas Medal in 1888 (for her musical composition, Air and Variations for String Quartet).  She toured as a pianist until the early 20th century when she devoted most of her time to composing.  In the 1940s, the began writing for the journal Musical Opinion, which had previously reviewed her works quite favorably.  Many of her works have not survived.

 

August 15, birthday of Marion Eugénie Bauer

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

Marion Eugénie Bauer (1882 – 1955) has the distinction of being the first American composer to study with Nadia Boulanger.  She was born to French-Jewish immigrants, who were also musical.  The story is that as a baby, she was placed atop the piano in a basket while her older sister Emilie practiced and gave music lessons.

She travelled to Paris and Berlin for a number of extended periods to study music.  As she was fluent in both French and English she gave language lessons to her teachers and their children.

Back in the State, she was offered a position teaching at New York University.   There she championed other 20th century composers by having her student perform her work or by writing about them.  Her music is more impressionistic than atonal.  That may be due to pressure from her publisher to tone it down or because one of her compositions was removed from first place in a competition for being too modernistic.  Bauer founded the American Music Guild, the American Music Center, and the American Composer’s Alliance, and served on their (and other music organization) boards, often as the only female.  She composed over 160 pieces in her life, and counted among her pupils the composers,Ruth Crawford Seeger and Milton Babbitt.

Four Piano Pieces

August 11, birthday of Carrie Minetta Jacobs-Bond

I have been concentrating lately on female composers, who are under-represented online, which reflects how there is a bias against women in general against female composers and conductors.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

Carrie Minetta Jacobs-Bond (1862 – 1946) composed an incredibly popular song, which you’ve probably heard, named “I Love You Truly,” often played at weddings.  In her lifetime, she wrote more than 170 more, and by 1910, she had become a millionaire from the royalties.

Sadly, her son committed suicide to one of her songs, “A Perfect Day.”  (No, not Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day.”)

A Perfect Day

August 9, birthday of Michèle Bokanowski (born 9 August 1943)

Michèle Bokanowski is a French composer who was classically trained, and later studied electronic music in Vincennes, France. She is married to Patrick Bokanowski, an Algerian-born French experimental film maker, and the two have collaborated on a number of his films.

“Pour Un Pianiste”

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