July 6, birthday of Nancy Dalberg (July 6, 1881 – September 28, 1949)

Nancy Dalberg studied with Carl Nielsen and was the first Danish woman to write a symphony.

Nancy Dalberg : Scherzo for string orchestra op. 6

Read more of this post

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

Read more of this post

July 30, birthday of Alexina Diane Louie (b. 1949)

Alexina Diane Louie, OC OOntFRSC (born July 30, 1949) is a Canadian composer. She is of Chinese descent who has written many pieces for orchestra, as well as pieces for solo piano.

“O Moon”

I Leap Through The Sky With Stars

Warrior

Music for Piano

July 29, birthday of Sophie Menter (1846 — 1918)

From wikipedia: Sophie Menter (29 July 1846 — 23 February 1918) was a German pianist and composer who became the favorite female student of Franz Liszt.[1] She was called l’incarnation de Liszt in Paris because of her robust, electrifying playing style[1] and was considered one of the greatest piano virtuosos of her time.[2] She died at Stockdorf, near Munich.

Etude in A flat op. 9

Read more of this post

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”

Read more of this post

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.

Read more of this post

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

May 29, birthday of Franghiz Ali-Zadeh (b. 1947)

Wikipedia has precious little to say about Azerbaijani composer, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh. He biography on the liner notes of the first performance below, “Mugam Sayagi,” on the Kronos Quartet website, fills in the details of this quite well-know (in Europe and Central Europe at least.)

Mugam Sayagi

Read more of this post

May 27, birthday of Liana Alexandra (1947-2011)

Liana Alexandra was born in Bucharest where she lived and worked her entire life. Most of what has written about her is in Romanian, so I’d be grateful to anyone who can find more about her than this Wikipedia entry.

 

Hora
Concerto for Piano Four-Hands

Pastorale

x Read more of this post

May 14, Birthday of Emilie Mayer (1812-1883)

 

Emilie Mayer was born in 1812 in the town of Friedland, Germany, and died in Berlin at the age of 70. Considered the female Beethoven of the time, she enjoyed great popularity during her life, but lapsed into obscurity after her death. The first recording of any of works took place in 2001 as a result of a conference in Berlin on 19th century women composer. Since then quite a few of her works have been rediscovered and recorded.

She was the musically precocious daughter of a fairly wealthy pharmacist, whose mother died shortly after her birth. When she was taking piano lessons, she had a tendency to improvise, and her music teacher encouraged her to compose her own pieces–which she did starting at the ripe age of 7.

Around the age of 28, her father committed suicide, and distraught, she moved to Poland to restart her life. There she studied composition, and after her work started to gain attention, she moved to Berlin to continue her studies.

Over the next 42 years, she composed over 70 works including 8 symphonies, chamber music, lieder, and an opera.

In 2012, during which was the 200th anniversary of her birth, many more pieces were performed, however Amazon (even in Germany) lists only three CDs. Youtube turned up quite a few. I enjoyed her string quartet, and the symphonies, violin sonatas, and other works I’m sure will be a delight to listen to.

String Quartet in E minor

Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: