Blogging from A to Z April Challenge: H is for Barbara Heller

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0 This is day 8 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 Barbara Heller(b. 1936).


I’ve been trying, this month, to alternate between male and female composers. It’s no easy task. Wikipedia lists composers by name, and really out of each alphabetical entry, among hundreds of men, there are normally only two or three women.

“In Bewegung”

My searches however are more than rewarded when I find a female composer. Take today’s composer, Barbara Heller. In WW II, Heller’s home was bombed in 1943 and her family moved to Mannheim where she studied music and taught herself composition. Since then she has promoted female composers, organizing one of the first big festivals on women in music in 1980. Since retiring from performing in 1990, she’s been part of a group, “Bluna Bluna,” which, according to Wikipedia, creates “tape compositions, sound installations, audio-visual exhibition projects and improvisations.”

The composer’s Wikipedia page Barbara Heller

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge: G is for Percy Grainger

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0 This is day 7 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 Percy Grainger (1882-1961).


Grainger was a good-looking Australian from Melbourne who’s father that emigrated there from London where he was an architect that built a famous bridge. He grew up in an upper class family who hobbed nobbed with the likes of Nelly Melba. His father however was a philanderer who gave his mother syphilis, and she left him and took young Percy to Frankfurt where, a prodigy, he studied music.

Faroe Island Dance Tune “Let’s Dance Gay in Green Meadow”

By all accounts his mother Rose was a stern disciplinarian, which eventually some theorize led to favor sado-masochism. Later in life after his father died, he became so close to his mother that there were allegations of incest. However, it seems he preferred whips, a collection of which along with a collection of his BSDM paraphernalia (including bloody shirts and ethnic music from Norway, England, Denmark and New Zealand), he installed in a museum he built to himself in Melbourne.

As mentioned, he did collect on Edison cylinders a vast work of ethnic music and was part of the English Folk-song revival, which included Ralph Vaughn Williams and Delius. He wove these melodies into his works and was performed his own works along with the standard repertoire of piano music in concerts he used to support himself quite handsomely.

Unfortunately, influence by Nordic culture, he became a raving anti-semite but ended up loathing German music, so that makes it all right, no? Not.

I’d never consciously listen to him, so I’d like my readers to tell me–does his music transcend his f***ed views and therefore warrant further listening?

The composer’s Wikipedia page Percy Grainger

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge: F is for Elena Olegovna Firsova

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0 This is day 6 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 Elena Olegovna Firsova (b. 1950).

Before the Thunderstorm (1994)”

This piece is very 20th Century a-tonal and it sets to music a poem by the poet Osip Mandelstahm.

The composer’s Wikipedia page Elena Firsova

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge: C is for Geneviève Calame

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0 This is day 3 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 Geneviève Calame (1946-1993).

Genvieve Calame was a Swiss composer who studied piano in Geneva and the Rome. From there she went on to London to study composition with Pierre Boulez. She was one of the key female composers of electronic music in its early days especially in combining with computer generated video as in today’s piece: Labyrinthes Fluides.

The composer’s Wikipedia page Geneviève Calame

%d bloggers like this: