Louise Farrenc & Beethoven

Beethoven: Triple Concerto; Louise Farrenc: Symphony No 3
Insula Orchestra, Laurence Equilbey
The Barbican. 8 March 2018

A phrase that I occasionally use when reviewing a revival of music by a little-known composer is that the composer was “plucked from well-deserved obscurity”. That is a phrase that definitely cannot be used to describe the music of Louise Farrenc (1804-1875), the focus of the Barbican concert give, appropriately, on International Women’s Day by the Insula Orchestra, all wearing suffragette ribbons, apparently made by the same company that made the original purple, white, and green colours.  Born six months after Berlioz, she was a pioneering French composer, pianist, and teacher. Although she was highly esteemed during her lifetime, her impact was almost certainly reduced by not managing to write an opera, a requisite for Parisian composers in her time. Her work was almost entirely forgotten after her death until very recent years, when the long-awaited recognition of female composers and musicians led to some recordings and concerts of her composition.

Studying, working, composing and teaching at a time when the female contribution to arts, and life in general, was given little prominence, Farrenc resolutely ploughed her own course as a teacher and composer. At the time, females were not allowed to join the composition class at the Paris Conservatoire, so she took private lessons with the teacher. But she eventually became Professor of Piano at the same institution, remaining as such for 30 years, although only achieving parity of pay with her male colleagues for the last 20, and that after campaigning.  Continue reading

Conversations

Conversations
Nevermind
Alpha 235. 74’09

Quentin: Concerto a 4 parties, oeuvre XII; Quatuor; Sonata III, oeuvre XV; Sonata IV a 4 parties, oeuvre VIII; Trio Sonata 5, oeuvre X
Guillemain: Sonata no.3, 1er livre; Sonata no.4, 2eme livre 

Nevermind: Conversations | Alpha ALPHA235Nevermind is a rather quirkily named group of four musicians (Anna Besson, flute, Louis Creac’h, violin, Robin Pharo, viola da gamba, Jean Rondeau, harpsichord) who met while studying at the Conservatoire Supérieur National de Paris (CNSM). They share an interest in early music, jazz and traditional music. In 2014, they won the Special Price of the Van Wassenaer Competition in Utrecht. They take their name from a quotation by the 19th century poet, Musset – “To love is what counts, never mind who the partner is! Never mind the bottle as long as it makes us drunk”.  In this, their debut CD, they present the music of two little-known French composers, Jean-Baptiste Quentin (1705-1770) and Louis-Gabriel Guillemain (c1690-c1750).

Jean-Baptiste Quentin (c1690-c1750) was a violinist and viola player in the Académie Royale de Musique and at the Paris Opéra. He was Continue reading