July 16-22. Female Composers born this week: Eve Beglarian, Pauline Viardot, Elisabeth Meyer, Marie de France, Marianna Auenbrugger.

It’s funny, I was talking to a friend today, telling her about how I’ve been featuring female composers, and she said, well there’s Pauline Viardot, who’s birthday is today.” The biography of Pauline Viardot (18 July 1821 – 18 May 1910) reads like a who’s who of 19th century composers and writers. She wanted to become a concert pianist, but her mother forced her to become a singer. Her looks and voice caught the attention of many writers and composers, many of whom fell in love with her or created works of art based on her life or to feature her voice. For example, George Sand’s, based her novel,
Consuelo, on Viardot. Gounod wrote wrote his opera Sapho, to feature her, as did Meyerbeer and Saint-Saëns

Here, Cecilia Bartoli sings Viardot’s Hai luli

Another nice piece is her Romance for Violin

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July 9-15. Female Composers born this week: Catherine Emingerová, Anna Cramer, and Hedwige (Gennaro)-Chrétien

Liza Lehmann (11 July 1862 – 19 September 1918) was an English operatic soprano and composer, known for her vocal compositions.

Bird Songs

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July 3, birthday of Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953)

Ruth Crawford Seeger is a surprise and delight. Originally a pianist, she began studying composing after moving to Chicago from Jacksonville, Florida. In the windy city, she came under the influence of Alexander Scriabin’s music and Theosophy. After marrying Charles Seeger (a musicologist and father of Pete), she moved with him to Washington, DC, where she worked closely with John and Alan Lomax at the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress to preserve and teach American folk music. Her later life saw her arranging folk songs. Her work is breathtakingly varied and is a real find.

Sonata for Violin and Piano

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June 30, birthday of Adriana Hölszky (b. 1953)

Adriana Hölszky is Romanian-born and lives in Berlin. She’s received a number of awards in Italy, France, and Netherlands for her compositions. Her biographical info in English is scant save for what other sites have copied from Wikipedia. Very modern and experimental. I hope my friend Marie Marshall likes these.

Stefan Hussong plays: Adriana Hölszky “High Way For One”

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June 25, birthday of Katherine Kennicott Davis (1892-1980)

Katherine Kennicott Davis composed mostly vocal music, and is perhaps best known for “The Carol of the Drums,” popularly known as “The Little Drummer Boy.” Youtube has over 100 different recordings of this piece recorded in nearly every country and by every singer including a very cringeworthy version by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Pity. She received a classical education, studying at Wellesley
and in Paris under Nadia Boulanger. There are scant recordings of her other works on Youtube, but here’s the ones I could find, followed by (I had to include one) a version of Little Drummer Boy.

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June 16, birthday of Jeanne Beijerman-Walraven (1878-1969)

The Wikipedia page on Jeanne Beijerman-Walraven gives precious little information about this composer. She was a Dutch national born in Indonesia. Another page says she studied piano with her mother and then returned to Holland. Her teacher there was Frits Koeberg. Her early compositions were in the romantic tradition, but then she turned expressionist coming under the influence of Schoenberg’s music. I could only find one work on youtube dating from 1910. This website in Dutch has a longer entry about her under the name Jeanne Walraven translated badly to English here.

Concert-Overture

June 14, birthday of Olga Gorelli (1920-2006)

My apologies for the earlier version of this page. Please see the Wikipedia page on Olga Gorelli. I regret I couldn’t find more works by her on line. She was prolific and from this one piece, I’m sure there’s a fascinating body of work.

I Carry Your Heart With Me

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