April 24, Birthday of Roxanna Panufnik (b. 1968)

Roxanna Panufnik lives in London where she is a president of a choral society and has been composer in resident with the London Mozart players.

Zen Love Song

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April 19, Birthday of Dame Ethel Mary Smyth (1858 – 1944)

Dame Ethel Mary Smyth is probably best known for her work, “The March of Women” (1911), which was composed for the Women’s Social and Political Union, and which became the anthem of the women’s suffragette movement in Great Britain and elsewhere.

The song was sung by suffragettes during demonstrations and to show solidarity in prison after they were arrested. Supposedly, thre is a picture of Smyth conducting the song with a toothbrush from the window of her prison cell, but I can’t find it.

Here’s a link to the video, below it are the words, and below that are four works for orchestra, choirs, and string quartet.

The March of Women (words by Cicely Hamilton):

Verse 1

Shout, shout, up with your song!
Cry with the wind, for the dawn is breaking;
March, march, swing you along,
Wide blows our banner, and hope is waking.
Song with its story, dreams with their glory
Lo! they call, and glad is their word!
Loud and louder it swells,
Thunder of freedom, the voice of the Lord!

Verse 2

Long, long—we in the past
Cowered in dread from the light of heaven,
Strong, strong—stand we at last,
Fearless in faith and with sight new given.
Strength with its beauty, Life with its duty,
(Hear the voice, oh hear and obey!)
These, these—beckon us on!
Open your eyes to the blaze of day.

Verse 3

Comrades—ye who have dared
First in the battle to strive and sorrow!
Scorned, spurned—nought have ye cared,
Raising your eyes to a wider morrow,
Ways that are weary, days that are dreary,
Toil and pain by faith ye have borne;
Hail, hail—victors ye stand,
Wearing the wreath that the brave have worn!

Verse 4

Life, strife—those two are one,
Naught can ye win but by faith and daring.
On, on—that ye have done
But for the work of today preparing.
Firm in reliance, laugh a defiance,
(Laugh in hope, for sure is the end)
March, march—many as one,
Shoulder to shoulder and friend to friend.

 

Serenade in D Major
Cello Sonata #2
Mass in D
The Wreckers Overture
Concerto for Violin, Horn and Orchestra
String Quartet in E Minor

April 19, Birthday of Germaine Tailleferre (1892 – 1983)

If the name, Germaine Tailleferre, sounds familiar, it’s because she was hailed by Jean Cocteau as being one of “Les Six” (the six), all 20th century composers active in Paris between the two World Wars. The others were:  Georges Auric (1899–1983), Louis Durey (1888–1979), Arthur Honegger (1892–1955), Darius Milhaud(1892–1974), and  Francis Poulenc (1899–1963).  

She was born Germaine Taillefesse (ass cutter) but changed her name to Tailleferre (iron cutter) because her father refused to pay for her studies at the Paris Conservatory where she won prizes for Solfège and later piano playing. There she met most of the composers in The Six and palled around with them and other painters, writers, and poets in Montmartre and Montparnasse between the wars.

The Six didn’t collaborate much and didn’t collaborate much, nor did they copy each other or try to outdo one another like Picasso–a contemporary–did with Matisse or Braque. She was friends with and encouraged and probably influenced most by Ravel, which I hear a lot of in her music.

She married an American, cartoonist Ralph Barton, and moved to Manhattan in 1925. The marriage ended after they returned to France and Barton, a manic-depressive, committed suicide.

In 1942, she fled France, first to Spain, then Portugal, and finally Philadelphia. Along the way, she had to abandon unpublished manuscripts of a substantial number compositions. After the war, she returned to France where she flourished composing up to her death.

Youtube has about 50 pieces of her music. You really should poke around and listen.

Concertino pour harpe et piano (1927)
Pastorale (1919)
Rêverie (1964)
Sonata per 2 pianoforti (1974)
Image (1918)
Partita Pour Piano (1957)

April 16, Birthday of Erika Radermacher (b. 1936)

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any Swiss composers. Artists of course include Paul Klee, Alberto Giacometti, Jean Tinguely, and HR Giger. A quick search in google found a number of male composers, including Arthur Honegger (whose work Pacific 231 I have featured), but no women.


I did find a reference in “Women Opera Composers: Biographies from the 1500s to the 21st Century,” and a web page dedicated to contemporary Swiss music.
Youtube only has one video of her compositions and four of her performances as a pianist. The video on the left is of her performing a work by Clara Schumann with a trio, and her composition starts around 29 minutes in.
Wikipedia tells us she also studied and performed as a soprano and now teaches music theory and composition in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Problem (1984) Trio for Piano, Cello, and Violin
Starts at 28:48
As a Performer
Flocking by James Tenny (1993)

April 5, Birthday of Diana Nasution (1958-2013)

Diana Nasution was an Indonesian pop singer. I can’t find much on her except the link to her obituary in the Jakarta Post. She was the mother of Marcello ‘€œEllo’€ Tahitoe and wife of musician Minggus Tahitoe. There is a wikipedia entry for Nasution, but it’s in Bahasa Indonesia, which I cannot read. Anyone want to take a stab at translating it for me? A to Z Challenge
BENCI TAPI RINDU
Tembang Kenangan (Full Album)

April 4, Birthday of Chen Yi (b. 1953)

Chen Yi, was a gifted child prodigy, playing both piano and violin. However, when the Cultural Revolution occurred in 1966, education stopped, her house was raided, all the instruments “liberated,”and she was packed off to the countryside to labor as a peasant. There she was influenced by Chinese folk music, and after returning to Beijing when the cultural revolution ended, she became the first woman in China to earn a Master of Art in Composition. She and her husband now live and teach at the University of Missouri-Kansas-City. I included two versions of Spring Dreams, one a studio recording and another live version, which I think is amazing. A to Z Challenge
“Ning” for violin, cello and pipa
As In A Dream (如梦令)
Spring Dreams
Spring Dreams (Live performance by Chanticleer)

April 3, Birthday of Elisabetta Brusa (b.1954)

Elisabetta BrusaIs an Italian composer, who as a child wrote over 30 pieces for piano before entering the Music Conservatory in Milan. Starting in her twenties, she travelled to London where she was tutored by Peter Maxwell Davies for many years. She received a Fulbright and taught at Tanglewood, where she also studied under Hans Werner Henze. This is how Wikipedia describes her work. If someone can explain it to us, I’d be very grateful: Neo-Tonality and in particular to Neo-Romanticism, but in the original sense of the word, which is nowadays often confusedly assimilated to other ones,” and her harmony as “essentially pandiatonic with panchromatic moments.” A to Z Challenge
“Belsize” String Quartet, Op.1
Sonata per pianoforte, Op. 6
Simply Largo, for String Orchestra
Marche Funèbre, per Pianoforte (2001)
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