Women musicians and composers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Women musicians and composers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Below is Mozart’s sister, Maria Anna, often known as Nannerl.

Maria_Anna_Mozart_(Lorenzoni)

Maria Anna Mozart as a child (1763) (portrait said to be by Lorenzoni) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Anna_Mozart#mediaviewer/File:Maria_Anna_Mozart_%28Lorenzoni%29.jpg

Nannerl, was said to be as talented as her famous brother, and even composed. Yet when their father Leopold found out, he was displeased and forbade her to compose again.  We can only imagine the effect this must have had on this talented girl! And girl she was- being a child at the time. Like her brother Wolfgang, Nannerl had talent, but unlike his which was encouraged, nurtured and celebrated, hers was to be suppressed. What amazing works has the world lost due to this unfair treatment?

For a great article on Nannerl and other women composers and musicians such as Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn:

If Clara Schumann Had Only Been a Man!

http://www.secularwoman.org/clara

And this was even discussed by men in the last century. Ernest Newman, a well regarded music critic wrote about this in The London Musical Times in the early 1900s, which is reproduced here:

Have Women Had Just Opportunities in Music?

http://musicofyesterday.com/history/women-just-opportunities-music/

Interestingly, or perhaps alarmingly,  this entry is not listed in his wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Newman#Bibliography

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for women composers. Some like the English composer Alice Mary Smith ( 19 May 1839 – 4 December 1884) had some degree of success and recognition for their work. In November 1867, the year that she married a lawyer (which was often the demise of a woman’s career) she was elected an associate of the Royal Philharmonic Society. This was an opportunity that was completely unthinkable for Nannerl Mozart.

Alice wrote many works and  her first symphony in C minor, written when she was 24 was performed at the Musical Society of London in 1863.

150px-Alice_Mary_Smith.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Mary_Smith

Here is the symphony:

Advertisements

About EdwardianPiano

I am a classical music enthusiast, history geek, artist and writer.
This entry was posted in Composers and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s