CJ Hazel

Musician | Composer | Educator

New Horizons for Piano - Podcast

A rediscovery of music and methods of the past and what they can teach us today through the work of eleven composers who also happened to be women.

Further Reading

Louise Farrenc (1804-1875)

00:08 - Etude No. 15 - Op. 50* - Mouvement de valse
01:24 - Etude No. 7 - Op. 26
02:07 - Etude No. 11 - Op. 42**
03:16 - Etude No. 12 - Op. 41

Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665-1729)

04:11 - Menuet - Suite in Dm (1687)*

Anna Bon (1738-c.1767)

07:02 - Sonata No. 2, 1st movt - Allegro non molto
07:41 - Sonata No. 2, 2nd movt - Andante*

Marianna Martines (1744-1812)

09:10 - Sonata in G, 3rt movt - Allegro assai
10:06 - Sonata in A, 2nd movt - Rondo adagio
11:41 - Sonata in A, 3rd movt - Tempo di Minuetto**

Elisabetta de Gambarini (1730-1765)

13:43 - Tambourin - Lessons and Songs, Op.2**

Hélène de Montgeroult (1764-1836)

Cours complet pour l'enseignement du forte piano:

17:29 - Etude No. 26**
21:36 - Etude No. 19
22:03 - Etude No. 107
22:19 - Etude No. 96
22:35 - Etude No. 62
23:10 - Etude No. 28
23:32 - Etude No. 37
23:51 - Etude No. 8*
24:30 - Etude No. 110
26:47 - Etude No. 54

Maria Szymanowska (1789-1831)

29:31 - Polonaise in F minor - 18 Danses de Différent Genre

Fanny Hensel (1805-1847)

30:56 - July - Das Jahr

Marie Jaëll (1846-1925)

35:39 - Le pâtre et l'écho - Les Beaux Jours**
37:41 - Poursuite - Ce qu'on entend dans l'Enfer
39:16 - Apaisement - Ce qu'on entend dans le Paradis

Amy Beach (1867-1944)

40:24 - Hermit Thrush at Morn - Op. 92, No. 2

Mel Bonis (1858-1937)

42:55 - Monsieur Vieuxbois... - Op. 103, No. 10*
45:10 - Mélisande - Op. 34 (1898)

 * featured in New Horizons For Piano: Early Grades
** featured in New Horizons For Piano: Intermediate  (available soon)

Welcome to the "New Horizons for Piano" Podcast which accompanies the "New Horizons for Piano" anthologies.

"Etude No. 15, Op. 50" by Louise Farrenc.

Louis Farrenc, born in 1804, had achieved considerable fame as a performer by the time she was appointed Professor of the Piano at the Paris Conservatoire in 1842, a position which she held for the next 30 years. Her advanced etudes were adopted by the Conservatoire from 1845 as required study for all piano students to mold their techniques and their musical taste. They were also adopted by other European Conservatories.[1] For the first eight years of her tenure she was paid less than the male professors but in 1850 she wrote to the director of the Conservatoire, Daniel Auber, and argued for equal pay. The Conservatoire agreed and her salery was raised. This was after the sensational premiere of her "Nonet in E flat", featuring the violinist Joseph Joachim. This work cemented her reputation as a composer. Along with many pieces for piano her other works include 2 overtures, 3 symphonies, chamber music, songs and choral music. She was also a pioneer in the study and performance of early keyboard music.

It is often said that Louise Farrenc was the second female piano professor to be hired at the Paris Conservatoire, and the only one to be hired in the 19th century. Which raises the question, who was the first? And was this mystery professor, who often remains unnamed, also a composer? Also, how did the idea of a Conservatory education arise in the first place?

In order to answer these questions I'll need to start with a little background.

There's a large historical repertoire, yet to be fully explored, of music written by women. Many of these composers achieved great popular and critical acclaim during their lifetimes and sustained international careers. Some also made significant contributions the art of piano teaching with original music, and musical insights, that could lead to a better understanding of piano technique, history and aesthetics. The purpose of this podcast is to outline the legacy of a handful of these composers with a focus on keyboard music from late 17th to the early 20th century.

The Parisian composer, Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, was born in 1665 into a family of musicians and instrument makers. As a child she sang and played the harpsichord before King Louis XIV who would later become her patron. Educated at the French court, her works include an opera, a ballet, violin sonatas, and sacred and secular cantatas. She was one of the first French composers to experiment with the Italian genres of sonata and cantata. She published two collections for the harpsichord in 1687 and 1707. Her work is highly sophisticated, often very contrapuntal, and her keyboard music, in common with most French keyboard music of the time, is heavily ornamented and poses significant interpretive challenges to modern players. This "Menuet" is from the "Suite in Dm" from her 1687 collection.[2]

There are two things you need to keep in mind about 18th century European Music in order to understand the narrative that follows. The first is the widespread adoption of librettos by the Italian poet Metastasio in European Opera. Metastasio wrote around 60 opera librettos which were eventually set over 800 times by over 300 composers. Singing students today might be familiar with Nicola Vaccai's singing method which uses exclusively Metastasio's words and comes directly from this tradition.[3]

The second is the influence of the Italian Conservatori. The Italian Conservatori were founded as orphanages and later become more known as music schools for orphans and fee-paying pupils. These were the first music conservatories and this model of musical education flourished in 18th century Italy, especially in Naples and Venice. Neapolitan musical training was central to the education of many of the 18th centuries most celebrated composers and performers.[4] The Venetian Conservatori, known as the Ospedali, were particularly famed for performances featuring all women ensembles, for which Vivaldi wrote so many of his concertos. The standard of music making and training was so high that these places soon became a magnet for talented composers, musicians, patrons and tourists, generating a substantial income at their peak. A number of women from Venetian Ospedali also composed. One of them was Anna Bon.

Anna Bon was born in 1738 in Bologna into a family of international opera artists. The Bon family were employed by various courts in Europe and Russia in the staging and performing of operas. At the age of four she was admitted to the Ospedale della Pieta. Here she became a pupil of Candida, who herself had been a pupil of Vivaldi. While still in her teens she starred in a number of European operatic productions and as a composer published collections for flute and harpsichord. Along with four other musicians, she took part in the composition of a pasticcio opera called "Artaserse". A pasticcio opera is one which has been put together using the works of many composers. Something that was very common in the 18th century. The libretto adapted for this production was by, Metastasio, but the music has not survived. Details about her later life, including the exact date of her death, remain unknown. This is the second movement from the second of six harpsichord sonatas.[5]

Another composer who worked with Metastasio's texts was Marianna Martines. Martines was an Austrian composer, with some Spanish ancestry, born in 1744. As it happened Metastasio was an old friend of her father and it was the poet who oversaw her early musical and literary education after her musical talent began to emerge. He engaged a young Joseph Haydn, then a struggling composer, as her first music teacher, and Nicola Porpora, a famous opera composer and singing teacher who had taught at both the Neapolitan Conservatori and the Venetian Ospedali, and who would teach Martines and Haydn. Haydn would later credit Porpora with teaching him the "true fundamentals of composition".[6][7]

In contrast to Anna Bon, who travelled and starred in European opera, Marianna Martines never travelled and only performed at the private musical gatherings that were a mainstay of the Viennese musical scene in the mid-18th and early 19th century. However, though she never travelled, her music did. Her masses and oratorios were often performed in Vienna and Italy and in 1773 she was admitted, by correspondance, to the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna. As a composer and musician she had an extraordinarily high reputation throughout Europe and the weekly musical soirees she hosted attracted many international artists. She was also frequently asked to perform before the Empress Maria Theresa.

Musically she was a master of the 18th century Galant Style which she combined with the older style of church composition in her sacred music. Evidence suggests she was a prolific composer but much of her music has been lost. It is thought that she wrote 31 keyboard sonatas of which only 3 survive, and 12 keyboard concertos of which only 4 have survived. The 4th concerto was rediscovered by Melanie Unseld in 2009. Her other surviving works include 27 arias, 7 cantatas, 2 oratorias, 4 masses, 6 motets and a three movement overture. Her musical phrases exude energy in a way that it is important for any performer to try and capture. This is the last movement of her "Keyboard Sonata in A".[8]

Musicians such as Anna Bon and Élizabeth Jacquet de La Guerre demonstrate that, with the right circumstances, careers for women composers in the 18th century were possible. Other examples include the violinist, singer and composer Maddelena Sirman, another very successful musician from the Venetian Ospedali, whose six string quartets were published in Paris as early as 1769 (she also wrote 6 violin concertos among other things) and the London composer Elisabetta de Gambarini.

Gambarini was the first women in Britain to publish a collection of keyboard music in 1748. This was followed by two more volumes of keyboard compositions and songs. She was very active on the London musical scene in the mid 18th century as a singer, organist and conductor, though her organ concerto remains lost. This dance movement, "Tambourin", is from her second published collection.

For most of the 18th century, France was ruled by the monarchy, the aristrocracy and the Catholic Church. The French Revolution from 1789 swept them away and France became a republic. Having done away with the old regime there was now no system in place to train musicians who traditionally came up either through the Church or the noble courts. The Paris Conservatoire was created to fulfil this need and in its original incarnation to train musicians for the National Guard bands who took part in the popular outdoor concerts put on by the Revolutionary Government during the Reign of Terror. It was partly modelled on the Italian Conservatori and in its early years the teaching materials used to train composers in Naples were imported into the French system. These included large collections of partimento exercises. Derivatives of these materials were taught well into the 20th century.[4] The Paris model in turn was copied and adapted by other European and American Conservatories.

One composer who was caught up in the Reign of Terror was Hélène de Montgeroult. Born in 1764 into the aristocracy, her idyllic life was thrown into chaos during the revolution and she was in serious danger in the 1790s especially after she and her husband, the Marquis de Montgeroult, were publicly denounced in 1793. That same year on a trip to Italy they were detained by Austrian forces and he was killed. On her return to France she was jailed and reportedly only spared the guillotine due to her exceptional musical abilities.

Hélène de Montgeroult was the first female Piano Professor appointed to teach at the Paris Conservatoire in 1795. Here she taught a number of students who would later become important musicians such as Louis Pradher and Alexandre Boëly.[9] She left after less than three years much to the regret of her colleagues. As a composer, she published nine piano sonatas and a set of 6 nocturnes for voice and piano but her most substantial work is the "Complete Course For the Instruction of the Piano Forte", published in 1820, an 800 page work spread over three volumes. Volume 1 contains preparatory exercises. Volumes 2 and 3 are entirely made up of original compositions, 3 fugues, 4 sets of variations and a fantasie but most significantly a collection of 114 etudes. In addition each piece includes detailed written observations from the composer on its purpose and challenges. According to her biographer Jérôme Dorival she may have began work on the Complete Course as early as 1788, after one of her pupils the pianist John Baptist Cramer requested original studies, and she finished composing it no later than 1812.

As others have observed, many of her etudes appear to be at least 20 years ahead of their time as this kind of piano writing only became widely established in the 1830s. As a player, she was renowned for her touch and for her ability to make the piano "sing". Reportedly she modelled her style of phrasing after the opera singers Marchesi and Creschentini and she encourages students to seek out their own vocal models. Cultivating a "singing" style is the focus of her piano method and of most of her etudes. Other methods of the era tend to focus more on the development of finger independence, speed and strength, and while some of Montgeroult's studies also deal with these things, a singing legato tone is always the main priority, even at speed.[10]

Another aim is to steer pianists away from a purely mechanical finger strike which dulls finger sensitivity and thereby limits a player's expressive range. She observes that the keys should be "felt" rather that "hit".

She also makes comparisons with the use of illusion in art. Just as artists use calculated deceptions which alter the proportions and forms of objects, in order to make them appear what they ought to be, pianists should use the art of illusion to allow the piano to say more than it's mechanism seems to allow it to say, imitating the phrasing and breathing of singers in the melody, for example, along with tasteful use of ornamentation in the vocal style. For Montgeroult, to quote from her introduction, "[the Piano's] purpose like that of singing itself, is to express the various emotions of the soul."[11]

This material was at one time very well known in professional piano circles.[12] The Complete Course was reprinted four times including publications in Germany in the early 1830s. A first edition in Cambridge University Library is virtually identical to the one in the Paris Libary which appeared online in 2016. Today, Jérôme Dorival has republished many of the etudes and pianists are starting to perform and record her work.

Her music contains the ghosts of composers past, present and future, but with a sound all of its own. Here's a sample, to demonstrate how rich and varied a composer she was, starting with "Etude No. 19", which appears to be a homage to the first prelude in Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier". No. 107 which is often seen as a forerunner to Chopin's "Revolutionary Etude" from 20 years later. Numbers 96, 62, 28, 37, 8 and 110. There are also multi-movement Etudes such as No. 112 which is a whole sonata in itself. Overall this represents a large original creative output housed in a single systematic piano method.

Hélène de Montgeroult's birth date of 1764 suggests a composer from an altogether different era to the one who emerges over the course of these 114 etudes which combine 18th century lyricism and counterpoint with 19th century modulations, experimental harmonies, unusual textures and advanced techniques for vocal imitation.

Take "Etude No. 54" for example and let's listen to bars 27-31. Here the music modulates from A major to Bb major in an unusual way. Without the arpeggiation the basic harmonic scheme for these 5 bars sounds like this. Listen in particular to the third chord with its two suspensions in the outer voices. And here's the original again.

The piano itself was undergoing a revolution during the time she was composing. In the years following publication, and taking advantage of the instruments increased sustaining power, techniques found in her method informed a general aestetic shift away from "piano as orchestra" towards "piano as vocalist with accompaniment". This is evident in the genres of short lyrical pieces, like songs without words, nocturnes, romances, impromptus, and many other poetical character pieces, which became more and more popular in the 1830s, as piano sales continued to grow. It's enlightening therefore when studying this music to look to Montgeroult's teaching, part of the technical, theoretical and aesthetic underpinnings of the Romantic style. What's clear from her work is that this style evolved in Paris much earlier than was previously supposed.

Another celebrated pianist/composer who taught using Montgeroult's method was Maria Szymanowska.[13] She was one of the first professional virtuoso pianists and did much to establish the solo piano recital, touring throughout Europe between 1815 and 1827, her concerts drawing the admiration of many of the leading musicians, artists and intellectuals of the day including Pushkin and Goethe, in a career that forshadowed those of later pianists, such as Clara Schumann and Franz Liszt. She was a formative influence on, and champion of, her fellow countryman Frederick Chopin. She wrote around 100 compositions most of which were published during her lifetime. They include the first Polish concert etudes and nocturnes, as well as mazurkas, polonaises, walzes, marches, minuets, fantasies and variations. In the early 19th century the Galant Style was giving way to the Brilliant Style, with much more in the way of virtuosic display, sentimentality and humour. This is Maria Szymanowska's Polonaise in F minor.

During one of Queen Victoria's audiences with Felix Mendelssohn, in an incident recorded in both of their diaries, the Queen chose to sing the third song from his Opus 8 collection, a song called, "Italien". Which she sang, according to Felix, "quite charmingly, strictly in time and in tune, and very nicely enunciated". After she had finished, he felt compelled to confess that the song was actually composed by his sister, Fanny Hensel. The song itself represented a long standing dream of Fanny's to visit Italy. In 1841 she and her husband Wilhelm were able to fulfil this dream in what for her turned out to be an artistically rejuvenating journey.[14] That year she composed one of her largest works, the piano cycle "Das Jahr" which depicts the months of the year. A technically demanding work lasting around 50 minutes. The fair copy was written on coloured paper with illustrations by Wilhelm and poems introducing each month. A truly multimedia work. One of many highlights from over 450 works by this composer. This is "July".

Towards the end the 19th century neuroscience, psychology and physiology were emerging sciences. Ideas from these fields would gradually make their way into piano education and around the turn of the century a whole host of publications appeared which were critical of piano methods that over-emphasised finger exercises and mechanical repetition and instead advocated approaches to teaching which take into account the physiology of the performer.[15] One of the earliest was "The Touch" by Marie Jaëll.

Marie Jaëll was born in Alsace in 1846. From winning First Prize for Piano at the Paris Conservatoire in 1862, after only four months as an official student, she went on to pursue a hugely successful career as a concert pianist, composer and pedagogue. She was a composition student of Camille Saint-Saëns and learned much from a close professional association with Franz Liszt, whose music she and her husband, the pianist Alfred Jaëll, did much to popularize.[16] In the mid 1890s at the height of her powers she retired in order to concentrate on teaching and research. Along with many piano pieces and two piano concertos her other works include a cello concerto, chamber works, songs, a symphonic poem and an opera. Her 11 books on piano teaching draw on her knowledge of music, physiology and psychology but their main emphasis is on the education of the brain through the education of the hand. Encouraging pianists to become more consciously aware of their sense of touch, its relationship to sound, mental imagery, consciousness and musical thinking.[17][18]

Her teaching pieces offer a way into this unique, tactile musical world. In 1894 she published two 12-movement piano-cycles for her students, "Les Beaux Jours" (the Good Days) and "Les Jours Pluvieux" (the Rainy Days). This piece, from "Les Beaux Jours", is called "The Shepherd and the Echo".

Also in 1894 she published an hour long cycle of 18 pieces based on Dante's Divine Comedy, divided into three groups of six movements, "What we hear in Hell", "What we hear in Purgatory" and "What we hear in Paradise". The music veers between thematic devolopment of the "Dies Irae" motif and musically static passages more akin to soundscapes. This is the first movement of "What we hear in Hell".

Jaëll's stark sonic visions of "Hell" and "Purgatory" eventually give way to "Paradise". The six pieces in the Paradise suite are mostly in time signatures that are multiples of five. 5/8, 15/8, 5/4, with the last movement being in 5/8, 7/8 and 9/8. This is quite unusual for European music in 1894 and possibly has something to do with the spiritual significance of the number "five" or it could be intended to lift the listener out of time itself.[19]

Moving forward pianists might like to consider the piano music of American symphonic composers Amy Beach and Florence Price, the Russian composer Leokadiya Kashperova and the music of Cécile Chaminade which was enormously popularity in the early 20th century on both sides of the Atlantic. At this point any number of British, European and American women composers were appearing.[20] Here is "A Hermit Thrush at Morn" by Amy Beach.

Another French composer from this era, who wrote a considerable amount of piano music was Mel Bonis. Born in 1858, she was self-taught until the age of twelve before being allowed to have piano lessons. Another Paris Conservatoire alumni, her music was regularly performed and published in Paris from the 1890s up until the outbreak of the First World War. She wrote over 300 compositions, including piano solos and duets, organ pieces, chamber music, songs, choral music, a mass, and works for orchestra. She also wrote prolifically and very imaginatively for children. Here is one of her children's pieces called "Monsieur Veauxbois". This character piece is probably a musical portrait of a popular French comic character from one of the earliest comic books, written and drawn by Rudolfe Töppfer and first published in 1837. It might make more sense if I tell you that Monsieur Veauxbois spends a lot of time riding around on a long suffering horse.[21]

This piece might be a miniature fugue. Listen again to the entry of the second voice, imitating the first voice a 5th higher, giving a brief aural illusion of two part writing. Here in her Opus 103 collection she succeeds in paring down ideas from more complex forms into music that can be played by beginners, something that isn't easy to do.

When I first started noticing that a number of significant women composers wrote large piano methods or a lot of music for their students, in particular those composers with connections to the Paris Conservatoire, and that their music was mostly absent from modern methods, I became intrigued and started down this path of research that led back to Montgeroult and many others.

In putting together my own teaching anthologies of their music I've tried to provide as much variety as possible in terms of style, technique, rhythm and harmony while presenting music with a clear didactic purpose by composers who, in most cases, had a significant cultural presence. So that if students were minded to explore their back catalogues they would find many musical treasures.

"Mélisande" by Mel Bonis, inspired by the character from Maeterlink's play "Pelléas and Mélisande". Composed in 1898 as her Opus 34, notably before any of Debussy or Ravel's mature piano works were in print.[22] The piece marks the beginning of her most creative years.

If you've enjoyed this podcast please consider purchasing one of the "New Horizons for Piano" anthologies. You can order them from cjhazel.co.uk.

I'm indebted to the work of many musicologists over the past 40 years for uncovering most of this information. Be sure to check out the reading list at cjhazel.co.uk if you want to learn more.

Thank you for listening.

June 2020.

[1] It was Louise Farrenc's Op. 26 collection of 30 Etudes in all keys which became required study for piano students at the Paris Conservatoire from 1845. See Friedland, B. 2001. (Jeanne-)Louise Farrenc [née Dumont]. Grove Music Online.

[2] More detail on Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre's life and work can be found in Catherine Cessac's Grove article and biography, and Anna Beer's Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women of Classical Music. (2016) Published by Oneworld.

[3] Metodo pratico de canto (Practical Vocal Method), Nicola Vaccai (1832)

[4] For Neapolitan Conservatori, musical training, Partimento and subsequent influence see Gjerdingen, Sanguinetti et al.

[5] For recent research on Anna Bon, see Michaela Krucsay's Zwischen Aufklärung und barocker Prachtentfaltung. Anna Bon di Venezia und ihre Familie von "Operisten" (Between enlightenment and baroque splendor. Anna Bon di Venezia and her family of "Operisten"). 2015. Sophie Drinker Institute. Oldenburg

[6] Diergarten, F. 2011. 'The True Fundamentals of Composition' : Haydn's Partimento Counterpoint. Eighteenth-Century Music 8/1, 53-75. Cambridge University Press.

[7] Anna Bon and Joseph Haydn were also acquainted. Bon worked in Haydn's ensemble at the Esterházy court in Eisenstadt between 1762 and 1765.

[8] For more on Marianna Martines see Irving Godt's biography or Beer's Sounds and Sweet Airs.

[9] Louis Pradher (1782-1843) would go on to teach Henri Herz, François-Joseph Fétis and Félix Le Couppey while Alexandre Boëly (1785-1858) would later instruct César Franck and Camile Saint-Saëns.

[10] This section on Hélène de Montgeroult relies heavily on an article by Maria van Epenhuysen Rose: Hélène de Montgeroult and the Art of Singing Well on the Piano. Women & Music, Annual (2001) and Jérôme Dorival's biography: Hélène de Montgeroult : La Marquise et la Marseillaise, Symétrie (2006). As well as the 2016 documentary film Hélène de Montgeroult, pianiste, compositrice et pédagogue which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_vCr6Totw0

[11] Use of vocal models in instrumental teaching methods has many precedents going back hundreds of years. Sylvestro Ganassi's recorder method of 1535, Opera Intitulata Fontegara, is one such example.

[12] Contemporary 19th century musicians known to have recommended Hélène de Montgeroult's studies include Moscheles, Fétis, Kalkbrenner, Szymanowska and Marie Bigot, a French pianist and composer who taught the Mendelssohns in 1816.

The piano teacher Antoine Marmontel, whose pupils included Georges Bizet, Louis Diémer, Marguerite Long, Théodore Dubois, Vincent d'Indy, Claude Debussy and Isaac Albeniz, said this in 1878: "It is with the method of Madame de Montgeroult that I began, more than fifty years ago, the study of the piano. This date might suggest that the theoretical part and the aesthetic considerations are entirely out of date. It is not so, however." Translated from Les pianistes célèbres (1878) by Antoine Marmontel, p258.

Sigismund Thalberg, one of the most famous pianists of the 19th century, and renowned for his singing tone, also learned from Hélène de Montgeroult's method. His own piano method, The Art of Singing Applied to the Piano, from 1853, begins: "The art of singing well, a famous women has said, is the same for every instrument to which it is applied." Though he doesn't credit her by name, the famous women could only have been Hélène de Montgeroult as he goes on to copy her introduction almost verbatim (see Maria Rose - Hélène de Montgeroult and the Art of Singing Well on the Piano). A feature on Thalberg in the September 1914 edition of Etude magazine entitled Sigismund Thalberg - Prince of the Salon directly quotes his introduction without the reference to "a famous women".

[13] According to Jérôme Dorival in the 2016 documentary Hélène de Montgeroult, pianiste, compositrice et pédagogue. See note [10].

[14] See Bar-Shany, M. 2006. The Roman Holiday of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg

[15] Gerig, R. 1976. Famous pianists & their technique. Newton Abbot : David and Charles, 1976.

[16] Ingelaere, M.L. 2012. Popularizing Liszt in his time: Alfred and Marie Jaëll, forgotten initiators. Revue d'Alsace, 138 | 2012, 113-125.

[17] Just before Marie Jaëll retired, in the early 1890s, she performed the complete solo piano works of Liszt and all of Beethoven's piano sonatas, one of the first pianists to do so, in a series of extraordinary concerts in Paris.

The use of mental imagery is key to Jaëll's teaching. Pianists must form as precise a mental image as possible of the movements of the hand about to be performed, training the hands and the brain over time to become more sensitive to these movements and the sounds they produced. Much of this training and visualisation is to be done away from the piano.

At times Jaëll's writing sounds more like neuroscience than music, which it partly was. She was probably the first pianist in Europe to call for an approach that puts piano teaching on a scientific footing. For ten years she collaborated with Dr. Charles Féré, studying the piano techniques of students and professionals, in the lab.

For a good introduction to Jaëll's pedagogy see Struber, L. 2017. The Education of Musical Thinking Through the Hand According to Marie Jaëll. Thesis. University of Washington.

[18] In Visualizing Piano Playing, 1890-1930, Julia Kursell describes how Jaëll's philosophy differs from a standard 19th century linear view of musical creation and audience reception. Instead of thinking of performance as a causal chain that begins with the musician's soul, travels through the instrument and out into the audience as music, Jaëll's model is a closed circuit between pianist and piano, within which musicality can grow as sensitivity increases via the feedback loops of touch and sound.

[19] An interpretation essentially taken from the CD Notes of Marie Jaëll - Complete Works for Piano 2 - Cora Irsen (Querstand, 2015) by Böhme-Mehner, T. Trans. Rosch, R. E.

[20] Composers such as Alice Mary Smith, Maude Valerie White, Ethel Smyth, Dora Bright, Liza Lehmann, Ethel Barns, and later Dorothy Howell and Avril Coleridge-Taylor among others, were a big part of the British musical scene during this era. See Fuller, S. 1998. Women composers during the British musical renaissance, 1880-1918. PhD dissertation. University of London, King's College. and Seddon, S. 2016. British Women Composers and Instrumental Chamber Music in the Early Twentieth Century. Routledge.

For more European, North American and South American composers who wrote and published keyboard music see the Timeline below.

[21] Histoire de M. Vieux Bois by Rodolphe Töpffer (1837) was published in English as The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck (1841). It can be viewed here: https://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/digital/

[22] Mélisande is first mentioned on December 15, 1898 in a letter from the composer Gabriel Pierné to Mel Bonis: "I made the exquisite acquaintance of your Mélisande, whose melancholy grace and beautiful piano writing I have appreciated, and I congratulate you wholeheartedly, and in all sincerity that I will report this work to all those whom I will judge capable of interpreting it." This extract is translated from a biography of Mel Bonis by her great-grand-daughter Christine Geliot.

Mélisande was included in 5 Pièces pour piano, Op. 109 (1925) and more recently in Piano Music Vol.1: "Femmes de Légende" (2003) edited by Eberhard Mayer and published by Furore, seven pieces by Mel Bonis depicting legendary females from plays and mythology: Mélisande, Desdemona, Ophelie, Viviane, Phoebe, Salome, and Omphale.


Composers featured in the Podcast:-

Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665-1729)

Beer, A. 2016. Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women of Classical Music. Oneworld Publications.

Cessac, C. Jacquet de La Guerre, Elisabeth. Grove Music Online, Oxford University Press.

Cyr, M. Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre: Myth or Marvel? Seeking the Composer's Individuality. The Musical Times. Vol. 149, No. 1905 (Winter, 2008), pp.79-87.

Elisabetta de Gambarini (1730-1765)

Mathiesen, P. 1992. Elisabetta de Gambarini: The Vocal Option. Continuo: the Magazine of Old Music. 16 (2).

Noble, A. 2000. A Contextual Study of the Life and Published Keyboard Works of Elisabetta de Gambarini, together with a Recording, Fascimile of the Music, and Commentary. Thesis. University of Southampton.

Noble, A.F. 2008. Gambarini, Elizabeth. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online Edition. Oxford University Press.

Winton, D. 1995. Gambarini, Elisabetta de. The New Grove dictionary of Women Composers. London, Macmillan

Anna Bon (1738-c.1767)

Abromeit, K. 1985. A profile of Anna Bon, 18th Century Venetian Composer. Lawrence University Honors Projects. Paper 31. http://lux.lawrence.edu/luhp/31

Berdes, J.L. 1994. Anna Bon, The New Grove dictionary of Women Composers. London, Macmillan

Hettrick. 2001. Anna Bon. New Grove Dictionary Music and Musicians.

Jackson, B.G. 1989. Introduction to the new edition of the op. 2 sonatas Fayetteville, AR: ClarNan Editions.

Krucsay, M. 2015. Zwischen Aufklärung und barocker Prachtentfaltung. Anna Bon di Venezia und ihre Familie von "Operisten" (Between enlightenment and baroque splendor. Anna Bon di Venezia and her family of "Operisten"). Sophie Drinker Institute. Oldenburg.

Marianna Martines (1744-1812)

Beer, A. 2016. Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women of Classical Music. Oneworld Publications.

Godt, Irving (John A. Rice, ed.) 2010. Marianna Martines: A Woman Composer in the Vienna of Mozart and Haydn. Gloucester, Mass. : Rockport ; Hove : RotoVision

Hélène de Montgeroult (1764-1836)

Berger, T. 2016. Vocal Materiality and Expression in Intentionally Compromised Vocal Physiology: The Cause and Effect of the Castrato Superstar Luigi Marchesi. Music & Politics 10, Number 2 (Summer 2016)

Dorival, J. 2017. CD notes of Helene de Montgeroult - Edna Stern. Orchid Classics, London.

Dorival, J. 2006. Hélène de Montgeroult : La Marquise et la Marseillaise. Symétrie.

Frakes, S. L. 2012. Chopin's 'Cantabile' in Context. PhD Thesis. Ohio State University.

Rose, M. Hélène de Montgeroult and the Art of Singing Well on the Piano. Women & Music, Annual 2001

Sadie, J.A. 1994. Montgeroult, Hélène de Nervo de. The New Grove dictionary of Women Composers. London, Macmillan

Maria Szymanowska (1789-1831)

Chechlińska, Z. Szymanowska [née Wołowska], Maria Agata. Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press

Dobrzanski, S. Maria Szymanowska (1789--1831): Pianist and composer. 2001. ETD Collection for University of Connecticut.

Dobrzanski, S. Maria Szymanowska and the Evolution of Professional Pianism. Chopin Foundation of the United States. www.chopin.org

Fierro, N. 1987. Maria Agata Szymanowska, 1789-1831, Briscoe, J.R. (ed). New Historical Anthology of Music by Women. Indiana University Press, 2004.

Kijas, A.E. 2010. Maria Szymanowska (1789-1831) : a bio-bibliography. Lanham : Scarecrow Press.

Leung, J. 2017. Revisiting History: Maria Szymanowska - The Polish Pioneer. Piano Performer Magazine. Spring 2017, Vol 5.

Swartz, A. 1985. Maria Szymanowska and the Salon Music of the Early Nineteenth Century. The Polish Review, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp 43-58. University of Illinois Press on behalf of the Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences of America.

Louise Farrenc (1804-1875)

Briscoe, J.R. (ed). New Historical Anthology of Music by Women. Indiana University Press, 2004.

Friedland, B. Apr 1974. Louise Farrenc, 1804-1875: Composer, Performer, Scholar. The Musical Quarterly. Vol. 60, No. 2. Oxford University Press

Friedland, B. 1994. (Jeanne-)Louise Farrenc [née Dumont]. The New Grove dictionary of Women Composers. London, Macmillan

Pendle, K.(ed). 1991. Women & Music: A History. Indiana University Press.

Fanny Hensel (1805-1847)

Bar-Shany, M. 2006. The Roman Holiday of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. Min-Ad: Israel Studies in Musicology Online, 5:1

Beer, A. 2016. Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women of Classical Music. Oneworld Publications.

Mace, A.R. 2013. Fanny Hensel, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, and the Formation of the Mendelssohnian Style. PhD dissertation, Duke University.

Todd, L. R. 2010. Fanny Hensel: the other Mendelssohn. Oxford University Press.

Marie Jaëll (1846-1925)

Briscoe, J.R. 1994. Jaëll, Marie. The New Grove dictionary of Women Composers. London, Macmillan.

Guichard, C. 2004. Marie Jaëll: The Magic Touch, Piano Music by Mind Training. Algora Publishing.

Ingelaere, M.L. and Böhme-Mehner, T. Trans. Rosch, R. E. 2015. CD Notes of Marie Jaëll - Complete Works for Piano 2 - Cora Irsen. Querstand

Ingelaere, M.L. 2012. Popularizing Liszt in his time: Alfred and Marie Jaëll, forgotten initiators. Revue d'Alsace, 138 | 2012, 113-125.

Kursell, J. 2011. Visualizing Piano Playing, 1890-1930. Grey Room 43, Spring 2011, pp.66-87. Grey Room, Inc. and MIT.

Leuchtmann/Timbrel. 2001. Jaëll, Marie. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. London, Macmillan.

Ramaut, A., Troester, S., Ingelaere, M.L., Launey, F., Jaëll, M. 2016. CD notes of Marie Jaëll: Musique Symphonique - Musique Pour Piano. Box set. Palazzetto Bru Zane - Centre de musique romantique française. Ediciones Singulares

Schmidt-Rogers, L. 1994. Marie Jaëll: Pianist, Composer and Pedagogue. American Music Teacher, Vol. 43, No. 4 (Feb/Mar 1994). pp. 18-21. Music Teachers National Association.

Struber, L. 2017. The Education of Musical Thinking Through the Hand According to Marie Jaëll. Thesis. University of Washington.

Mel Bonis (1858-1937)

Daum, J. 2013. Mel Bonis, Six Works for Flute and Piano. Doctoral dissertation. Arizona State University.

Geliot, C. 2000. Mel Bonis. Femme et compositeur (1858-1937). Univers musical.

Rosenman, R.H. 2017. A Rosary Among the Roses: Tracing Pastoral Allusions and Spiritual Resonances in Chamber Music by Mel Bonis. Thesis. Wesleyan University.

Tsou, J.S. 1994. Bonis, Mélanie Hélène. The New Grove dictionary of Women Composers. London, Macmillan.

Amy Beach (1867-1944)

Block, A.F. 1998. Amy Beach, Passionate Victorian: The Life and Work of an American Composer, 1867-1944. Oxford University Press.

Block, A.F. 2001. Beach, Amy Marcy. The New Grove dictionary of Women Composers. London, Macmillan.

Gates, E. 2010. Mrs H. H. A. Beach: American Symphonist. The Kapralova Society Journal, Vol. 8, Issue 2.

Other composers relating to this project:-

Elfrida Andrée (1841-1929)

Öhrström, E. 2018. Trans Grosjean, A. Elfrida Andrée. Swedish Female Biographical Dictionary. https://skbl.se/en/article/ElfridaAndree

Öhrström, E. 2014. Trans. Tanner, R. Elfrida Andrée (1841-1929). Swedish Musical Heritage. http://www.swedishmusicalheritage.com/

Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) and Lili Boulanger (1893-1918)

Potter, C. 2006. Nadia and Lili Boulanger. Ashgate Publishing Company.

Marie Bigot (1786-1820)

Schwarz-Danuser, M. 2007. Marie Bigot. MUSGi: Music und Gender im Internet. Hamburg.

Maria Rosa Coccia (1759-1833)

Caruso, M. 2014. Ten Fugues Shed Light on an Old Debate. Il Saggiatore Musicale, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 5-43. Casa Editrice Leo S. Olschki s.r.l.

Agathe Backer Grøndahl (1847-1907)

Backer, T. 1905. A Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. New York: G. Schirmer.

Dahm, C. 1998. Agathe Backer Grøndahl: komponisten og pianisten. Oslo: Solum.

Hambro, C. 2007. Were Agathe Backer Grøndahl's Performative Strength Wasted upon "Scrappy Works like Edvard Grieg's"-?. Paper presented at the Grieg Conference in Bergen June 2, 2007.

Hubbard, W. L. 1908. The American history and encyclopedia of music - Vol. 5

Francesca (Chiquinha) Gonzaga (1847-1935)

Simoes, A. P. M. 2018. A Pedagogical Approach to the Waltzes and Tangos for Piano by Francesca Gonzaga. DMA dissertation. Louisiana State University.

Emilie Mayer (1812-1883)

Maslovaric, Aleksandra. 2012. CD notes to Mayer: Violin Sonatas. Feminae Records

Rieger, E. 1994. Mayer, Emile. The New Grove dictionary of Women Composers. London, Macmillan.

Maria Hester Park (1760-1813)

Morgan, E. 2012. The Accompanied Sonata and the Domestic Novel in Britain at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century. 19th-Century Music, vol. 36, no. 2, pp.88-100. University of California Press.

Florence Price (1887-1953)

Ege, S. 2018. Florence Price and the Politics of Her Existence. The Kapralova Society Journal, Vol. 16, Issue 1.

Alice Mary Smith (1839-1884)

Graham-Jones, I. 2010. The life and music of Alice Mary Smith (1839-1884), a woman composer of the Victorian era : a critical assessment of her achievement. Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, N.Y.

Ethel Smyth (1858-1944)

Gates, E. 2006. Damned if You Do and Damned if You Don't: Sexual Aesthetics and the Music of Dame Ethel Smyth. The Kapralova Society Journal, Vol. 4, Issue 1.

Gates, E. 2013. Dame Ethel Smyth: Pioneer of English Opera. The Kapralova Society Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 1.

Pauline Viardot (1821-1910)

Waddington, P. Zekulin, N. G. 2013. The Musical Works of Pauline Viardot-Garcia. University of Calgary. https://prism.ucalgary.ca

Mary Wurm (1860-1938)

Burton, N. 1994. Wurm, Mary J.A. The New Grove dictionary of Women Composers. London, Macmillan.

Langley, L. Wurm, Mary Josephine Agnes - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Ann Young (1758-1826)

Ghere, D. and Amram, F. 2007. Inventing Music Education Games. British Journal of Music Education.

British Women Composers

Hayes, D. 2000. A Drawing-Room Concert in Georgian England. Early Music Colorado Quarterly 9, No. 1, pp 4-6.

Hayes, D. 2010. "Women Musicians of the Eighteenth Century". University of Colorado Online. https://spot.colorado.edu/~hayesd/Classic Women/repertoire.html

Fuller, S. 1998. Women composers during the British musical renaissance, 1880-1918. PhD dissertation. University of London, King's College.

Ritchie, L. 2008. Women writing music in late eighteenth-century England : social harmony in literature and performance. Aldershot : Ashgate.

Seddon, S. 2016. British Women Composers and Instrumental Chamber Music in the Early Twentieth Century. Routledge.

Venetian Ospedali

Arnold, D. 1988. Music at the 'Ospedali'. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, Vol. 113, No. 2, pp. 156-167. Taylor and Francis, Ltd.

Baldauf-Berdes, J. L. 1993. Women musicians of Venice : musical foundations, 1525 - 1855. Oxford : Clarendon Press.

Eanes, C. 2009. Research Report: Angels of Song: An Introduction to Musical Life at the Venetian "Ospedali". The Choral Journal, Vol. 49, No. 8, pp. 71-81. American Choral Directors Association

Whittemore, J. 1994. The Revision Repertoire of the "Ospedali Veneziani". The Choral Journal, Vol. 34, No. 8, March 1994, pp. 9-13. American Choral Directors Association.

Tonelli, V. M. 2013. Women and Music in the Venetian Ospedali. Thesis. Michigan State University.

Neapolitan Conservatori - including 18th Century Partimento and Solfeggio Theory

Arar, M. 2017. Going Old School: Using Eighteenth Century Pedagogy Models to Foster Musical Skills and Creativity in Today's Students. Thesis. University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Baragwanath, N. 2015. How to 'Solfeggiare' the Eighteenth-Century Way: A Summary Guide in Ten Lessons. University of Nottingham.

Cirillo, V. 1882. The Neapolitan School - A Lecture on the Art of Singing. George H. Ellis. Boston

Diergarten, F. 2011. 'The True Fundamentals of Composition' : Haydn's Partimento Counterpoint. Eighteenth-Century Music 8/1, 53-75. Cambridge University Press.

Gjerdingen, R. 2007. Music in the Galant Style. Oxford University Press. Website: partimenti.org

Guido, M. 2017. Studies in Historical Improvisation: from Cantare Super Librum to Partimenti. Routledge. Abingdon, Oxon : New York, NY.

Sanguinetti, G. 2012. The Art of Partimenti: History, Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press.


Belleman, J. 2001. Frédéric Chopin, Antione de Kontski and the 'carezzando' touch. Journal of Early Music, Vol. 29 No. 3, August 2001.

Cook, N. 1998. Music: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.

Ellsworth, T. and Wollenberg S. (eds). 2007. The piano in nineteenth-century British culture : instruments, performers and repertoire. Aldershot : Ashgate, c2007.

Gates, E. 2005. Where are all the women composers? Reclaiming a cultural heritage. The Kapralova Society Journal, Vol. 3 Issue 1, page 8.

Gerig, R. 1976. Famous pianists & their technique. Newton Abbot : David and Charles, 1976.

Head, M. 2002. Rethinking Authorship Through Women Composers: Women Writing Opera: Creativity and Controversy in the Age of the French Revolution by Jacqueline Letzter and Robert Adelson. Women & Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, Vol. 6, pp. 36FF.

Letzter, J and Adelson, R. 2001. Women writing opera : creativity and controversy in the age of the French Revolution. Berkeley ; London : University of California Press

McClary, S. 2000. Conventional wisdom : the content of musical form. Berkeley : University of California Press.

Schleifer, M.F. and Glickman, S. (eds). 1996-2006. Women composers : music through the ages. New York, G.K. Hall. London, Prentice Hall International.

Stras, L. 2018. Women and music in sixteenth-century Ferrara. Cambridge University Press.

Taruskin, R. 2010. The danger of music and other anti-utopian essays. Berkeley, Calif. ; London : University of California Press.

Walker-Hill, H. 1992. Piano music by Black women composers : a catalog of solo and ensemble works. New York : Greenwood Press.

Walker-Hill, H. 2002. From Spirituals to Symphonies: African American Women Composers and Their Music. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press.


Women of Note - http://www.womenofnote.co.uk/ - Diane Ambache

Re:dress Women Composers - https://oclw.web.ox.ac.uk/redress-women-composers - Oxford Centre for Life-Writing

This list was last updated in July 2020