A to Z: J is for Betsy Jolas

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0 It’s day 10 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge in which I attempt to blog every day (excepting Sundays) throughout the month of April. For this challenge, I am curating a collection of “classical” music pieces, which are lesser known or by lesser known composers (to me at least).

Today’s composer is Betsy Jolas (b.1926 ).


Jolas grew up in a very literary family. Her father had a literary magazine called “Transitions,” which among other new works, published “Finnegan’s Wake.” The young Jolas grew up with visits to her house by Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and other Lost Generation writer.

Jolas: Quartet for Clarinet and String Trio (1997)

After studying in the US, she returned to France and studied with Darius Milhaud and Olivier Messiaen, though later she became much more influenced by Stockhausen, Boulez and the Avant Garde in music.


Today’s piece reminds me of the work of Webern and Schoenberg. Jolas was a professor and taught in France as well as at Yale, Harvard and Tanglewood.

The composer’s Wikipedia page Betsy Jolas

A to Z: L is for Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0 This is day 12 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge in which I attempt to blog every day (excepting Sundays) throughout the month of April. For this challenge, I am curating a collection of “classical” music pieces, which are lesser known or by lesser known composers (to me at least).Today’s composer is Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665 – 1729).



Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre came from a family of musicians who happened to live in the very heart of Paris on the Ile St. Louis, which is right behind the Ile de la Cite, on which Notre Dame Cathedral sits. A prodigy on the harpsichord (taught by her father) she captured the attention of Louis XIV when she played before him. She was accepted into the French court and studied under the King’s mistress. She’s notable for composing in the then new forms cantata and sonata which came from Italy. Also, she was the first French woman to write an opera. La Guerre wrote in almost every form and became very well known. Today’s piece is a cantata about the parting and crossing of the Red Sea from book one of her Cantates françoises sur des sujets tirez de l’Ecriture, French Cantatas on subjects taken from Scripture (Paris, 1708).

Cantate le passage de la mer Rouge

The composer’s Wikipedia page Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre

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