Past Shows

The Daffodil Perspective 19th February 2019

This week, ahead of the UK premiere of Arlene Sierra’s string chamber piece Avian Mirrors at London Festival of American Music, I explore Sierra’s work over the past 20 years along with contemporaries Kenneth Hesketh and Gordon Beeferman. Also music from Beethoven and his friend Marie Bigot.

Contemporary Corner – Lucy Hollingworth

Today I’m showcasing a piece by Lucy Hollingworth, a pHD student at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and trustee of Women in Music organisation.

Album of the Week – EntArteOpera

Phenomenal album of chamber music and art songs by composers persecuted by the Nazi party and almost forgotten through the tragedy of WWII, including music by Henriette Bosmans, Vally Weigl and Viteszlava Kapralova.

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News for my 100 day anniversary!!!

Today is 100 days since the 1st broadcast of The Daffodil Perspective, and to celebrate I’m taking it to the next level, so much exciting news to share.

1, I’ve launched my brand new logo everywhere. I think it looks really cool!

2. Also got a brand new and improved home page. Read all about my mission here.

3. I’m pleased to announce Contemporary Corner has its first monthly residency with PARMA Recordings! On the 3rd Tuesday of every month I will be showcasing a single composer album by one of their awesome composers. This is starting on the 19th March, in the meantime here’s a small taste of what’s coming up.

4. Im also excited to announce I’m now a contributor on Women in Music Blog, a fantastic organisation started 30 years ago by composers Odaline de la Martinez, Nicola leFanu and others to support and promote women working in the arts. Fingers crossed to be a full member soon too. Next week on the show I’m very excited to feature the music of Lucy Hollingworth, a brilliant composer and by happy coincidence a trustee of Women in Music.

5. I wrote a guest blog on Dame Elizabeth Maconchy for Illuminate Women’s Music, another trailblazing organisation supporting and promoting women composers. We have a great relationship and I’ve been pleased to feature some of their live recordings every month on the show. Check out my piece on Maconchy and find out more about Illuminate here.  They will be playing music by Maconchy at the Royal College of Music on Saturday 16th February, a concert not to be missed.

6. This week Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy mentioned my blog post on their Monday Link Round up. Check it out and find out about their amazing work here. Shout out to them and all the work they do seeing music by women gets performed.

7. I’ve been playing Florence Price a lot on my show so I’ve decided to make my celebration of her official, introducing Fun With Florence! Every month I’ll be showcasing a different piece by this amazing woman along with sharing her story, what inspires me so much about her and a few lessons she can teach us.

That will be happening on the 4th Tuesday of every month and I’m starting with a very special recording from pianist Samantha Ege, a fellow champion of Price and brilliant interpreter of Price’s music.  Her album Four Women was released in November, I was very excited to feature it as my album of the week on the 27th November. Have a listen to Ege’s rendition of Price’s Sonata in E Minor from the album Four Women.

To find out more about Samantha Ege and her work check out her awesome site Music Herstories here

8. I created my first curated Spotify playlist – a basic guide to female composers throughout history starting with Hildegard von Bingen, moving through the eras to the 21st century. Just some of the many awesome women composers.

Expect more curated playlists coming soon…

9. Lastly shout to composer Rebecca Rowe, I featured her wonderful Fantasie In Nomine in Contemporary Corner on 29th January. Pleased to get a mention on her site too, she’s got tons of great things happening, check it all out here.

10. That’s almost it, I’m planning on starting more regular blog features including updates on new releases, upcoming events and various curated playlists. Few more things in the works, will drop them as soon as I can.  Check out my Facebook page and Twitter for updates.

Here’s to a more gender balanced future!

 

 

The Daffodil Perspective 12th February 2019

This show we’re going back to the Baroque with Francesca Caccini, in 1625 she became the first woman to write a full scale opera. We discover more about her life and career along with her friends at the Medici court Jacopo Peri and Marco da Gagliano. Plus two composers who collaborated with Langston Hughes, leader of the Harlem Renaissance – Florence Price and Kurt Weill.

Contemporary Corner – Joanna Ward

This week I’m showcasing a brand new piece by trailblazing young composer Joanna Ward. Cambridge student and committee member for the 1st ever Cambridge Female Composers Festival 2019.

Album Of The Week – Tasmin Little Plays: Clara Schumann, Dame Ethel Smyth and Amy Beach

Very excited to feature stunning new album by world class violinist Tasmin Little performing works by 3 incredible marginalised composers – Clara Schumann, Dame Ethel Smyth and Amy Beach.

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What’s the point? A brief look at one of the problems faced to get women composers noticed.

Say you’re a world famous violinist. There’s a great violin piece you’ve heard by a historical woman composer. You think it’s brilliant and want to record it, it’ll be a world premiere recording or at least only once or twice so it’s totally groundbreaking.  You spend hours convincing a pianist to accompany you and spend even longer convincing the hopelessly conservative record label you’re signed with to release it.

It finally gets the go-ahead, you tell all your friends and get it released on all the major sites – Amazon, iTunes, PrestoClassical, everything.  You put out videos on YouTube, record the album, you’re really pleased with it and blag about it all over social media.

It gets released and you’re so pleased but then it comes to the gatekeepers, those people on the music websites with their hot-or-not lists of the “coolest” new releases. Yours has to be a sure thing right? It’s so new, so unique and interesting plus it’s on a major label and you’re super famous so everything you do should be noticed and adored right?

Wrong, the new release list doesn’t mention your recording, or anybody else’s recordings featuring women composers. They talk about yet more recordings of Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Bach and your brilliant, innovative labour of love is forgotten about quickly.

You think maybe I should have played it safe? Why bother playing the work of these amazing people at all if no-one will take notice, next time I’ll stick to the same, boring crap everybody’s heard a hundred times before. I’ll get the money and it won’t hurt if no-one picks it up.

You carry on with your career and the music of these women fades back into oblivion.

Sound familiar? We’re in the middle of this story right now. World famous violinist Tasmin Little OBE has just released a stunning new album of music by Clara Schumann, Dame Ethel Smyth and Amy Beach – 3 astonishing powerhouse badasses of the Romantic era. All three women venerated in their time. All three composers since obliterated from the white male dominated version of music history. All three composers hardly ever recorded or performed.

Little’s album was released last week on 1st February 2019 on major label Chandos records. Amongst the platforms it was released on was PrestoClassical. PrestoClassical’s new release round up didn’t even mention it. I’ll tell you what it did mention though – another recording of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, plus Schubert, Debussy, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky and recordings of a lot of other white male composers that are really well known.

Don’t take my word for it, see the link here.

So why is it that not even a world famous OBE musician on a major label playing women composers can make a dent on the stuffy, regressive release lists of these companies.

And why does it matter?

Well if a customer’s looking at the website and wondering what’s cool they’re not going to search through the whole 150 or so new releases this week. Part of the reason is just 150 is an overwhelming amount to scroll through, part of it is trust. The editorial teams behind PrestoClassical know more than the average listener about what’s coming out and what’s cool. If PrestoClassical give a nice short bite-sized list of 8 releases it’s much easier to digest.

This means if it’s not getting noticed by PrestoClassical editorial team it’s not get noticed by consumers, and if it’s not getting noticed by consumers it’s not getting bought.

If it doesn’t get bought the message clearly gets through to record labels and musicians that taking a chance doesn’t pay off, even if these composers are from the 19th century and playing music really similar to Brahms and Schumann et al, no-one wants to hear it so don’t spend money putting a release like this out there.

All this leads to women composers like Amy Beach not getting recorded again and we’ll go back to square one on the gender equality front in classical music.

This is why it’s so important for this not to happen. I grew up not knowing the names of these 3 women and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let another generation grow up without knowing the names of Clara Schumann, Amy Beach and Dame Ethel Smyth.

I love the album and I’m really excited to be playing the album on my show this week on Tuesday 12th February. 5pm on planetofsound.world plus it’ll be going out on Mixcloud later, more info to follow.

In the meantime here’s a sneak peek of this breathtaking album.

 

Please buy the album online from Presto, iTunes or Amazon or listen on Spotify. Mostly please tweet about it, Facebook link it and get people talking about this so the music doesn’t fade back into obscurity.

PrestoClassical are one of the worst culprits. This particular instance saw Tamsin Little’s album having major airtime on BBC and ClassicFM plus it featured on Spotify Classical New Releases Playlist.

Last week on Twitter I highlighted PrestoClassical’s failure to mention more releases of women composers on their January editor’s choice list. Out of 8 releases the only release of women composers was Florence Price’s new release by Naxos.

The CDs below were ones released in January that featured women composers.

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At the end of 2018 PrestoClassical published their list of 100 best releases of 2018. There was 1 woman composer release on the list.

This is a big music retailer. We need to hold them accountable for their influence on consumers and offer alternatives, there is a lot of music being created and while there are fewer releases of women composers there are actually quite a few releases coming out on a regular basis, both by major labels and smaller outfits too.

In the next few weeks there are several releases of women composers coming out. The ones below are available on PrestoClassical.

 

The Daffodil Perspective believes in positivity, there’s no point in just complaining, we like to show that there are positive alternatives that already exist to the white male dominated industry.

Change is possible and gender balance is not difficult to achieve.

 

 

 

 

The Daffodil Perspective 5th February 2019

 

This week I’ve got late 19th century Swedish composer and violinist Amanda Maier, playing some of her music along with music from friends Grieg, Brahms and Hagg. Also on the show music Polish modernism from Grazyna Bacewic and Lutoslawski.

Illuminate Monthly Residency

1st Tuesday of the month so I’m looking at Illuminate Women’s Music, got a live recording from last year and also finding out all the exciting things they’ve got planned for 2019. Check out their website here.

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Contemporary Corner with Juliana Hall

This week I’m playing music from American art song composer Juliana Hall and her song cycle Letters to Edna.

Album Of The Week – La Donne E La Chitarra by Drama Musica

Latest release by Drama Musica, guitar music from three 19th century composers: Emilia Giulani, Athenais Paulian and Sidney Pratten. Performed by James Akers.

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The Daffodil Perspective 29th January 2019

This week we’re exploring the intersection between classical and jazz with mid 20th century composer Dana Suesse and friends Gerswhin and Shostakovich. Also on the show some festival music for wind band from Kenneth Hesketh and Julie Giroux.

Contemporary Corner – Rebecca Rowe

This week in Contemporary Corner British composer Rebecca Rowe and her piano piece Fantasie In Nomine.

Album Of The Week – This Day by Blossom St Choir

Phenomenal album celebrating 100 years of women’s right to vote from Blossom St Choir. 14 amazing women composers spanning these 100 years including Elizabeth Maconchy, Cecilia McDowall and Stef Connor.

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The Daffodil Perspective 22nd January 2019

This week dreamy music from Romantic piano composer Maria Szymanowska along with friends Field, Glinka and Chopin.

Contemporary Corner

This brand new weekly feature showcases a piece by a living composer. This week I’m featuring Rainlessness by Australian composer Rae Howell.

Album Of The Week: The Spirit and the Maiden by Muses Trio

Fantastic album of piano trio music by women composers spanning the last 100 years, including music by Nadia Boulanger, Elena Kats Chermin and Vitezslava Kapralova. Buy now on CDBaby here

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10 awesome female film composers you need to know

There’s been a lot of talk about the nominated composers for the Golden Globe awards this year. None of them are women, and just like straight up classical music it’s not because there just aren’t any women working in film composition. There are amazing composers out there not getting the recognition they deserve because they are women.  Here is my list of a few brilliant female composers working right now and their phenomenal scores from the past few years.

  1. Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society – Alexandra Harwood

How did this score not get nominated for a Golden Globe? Such a gorgeous score to a fantastic film starring Lily James. Harwood also wrote the score to The Escape, starring Gemma Arterton and Dominic Cooper.

2. Tag – Germaine Franco

So happy when I found out this film got scored by Germaine Franco, it’s about time she got a major film score with an all star cast. Germaine Franco she’s composed several independent films, shorts and documentaries and co-wrote most of the music to Pixar film Coco in 2017 plus she has been an orchestrator for years, working on tons of major films including Bolt, Book of Life and Ice Age Continental Drift,

3. Speech and Debate – Deborah Lurie

Not even seen this film and I want to listen to it just because of the end credit score. Deborah Lurie has scored some major films including Dear John starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried (love the score for this), Safe Haven with Josh Duhamel, One For The Money with Katherine Heigl and one of my favourite romantic comedies Sydney White.

4. Their Finest – Rachel Portman

The first woman ever to win an Oscar, for Emma in 1994. She also won an Oscar for her score to Chocolat. Rachel Portman also scored the brilliant 2013 film Belle about a mixed race aristocrat, one of my favourite films ever.

5. Edie – Debbie Wiseman

Any composer that writes such a delicious part for the clarinet is awesome in my book. I’ve actually loved Debbie Wiseman for years, I featured her as composer of the week on The Daffodil Perspective show a few weeks ago here. Debbie Wiseman OBE is a Grammy award nominated composer who has scored for both film and TV including Wolf Hall, Wilde, Father Brown, Tom and Viv and Lesbian Vampire Killers.

6. Poldark – Anne Dudley

Okay this is a television score but this was written by the amazing Anne Dudley and I love it. Dudley’s been scoring music for films and TV for years, Dudley won an Oscar for her score to The Full Monty, she also scored Jeeves and Wooster, Kavanagh QC, and produced the music to the film version of Les Miserables.

7. Song for Marion – Laura Rossi

Yes I know it was 7 years ago now but it’s one of my favourite films ever, I cried bucketloads it was so touching. A huge British all star cast – Gemma Arterton, Terence Stamp, Christopher Eccleston and the incomparable Vanessa Redgrave. Rossi also scored 2015 film The Eichmann Show starring Martin Freeman.

7. Manchester by the Sea – Lesley Barber

This 2016 Oscar winning film was scored by Canadian Lesley Barber. Amazingly haunting score.

8. Mary Shelley – Amelia Warner

The choral score on the opening track is out of this world, indeed the whole score is wonderfully ethereal. Mary Shelley was released in 2017 and featured Elle Fanning as Mary along with Maisie Williams and Tom Sturridge.

9. Mudbound – Tamar Kali

Score to the 2017 period drama starring Carey Mulligan, the film tackles racism and PTSD in post 2nd world war rural USA and was nominated for several Oscars and Golden Globe awards.

10. Sicario Day of the Soldado – Hildur Guonadottir

Sequel to the film Sicario starring John Brolin and Benicio del Toro. Amazing score by the Icelandic cellist.

These are just 10 great composers who happen to be female, there are lots more, it’s not a ranking or a top 10, just a few awesome composers you need to know.

The Daffodil Perspective 15th January 2018

This week exploring the work of early classical composer Anna Bon and her life in the European courts of Bayreuth and Esterhazy alongside contemporaries Haydn, Johann Stamitz and Bernard Hagen. Plus the awesome new release of Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1 and 4 from Naxos Records

Album Of The Week: Daughters of Earth by Durward Ensemble

New album of contemporary chamber music by Durward Ensemble featuring 5 phenomenal American composers including Laura Schwartz, Elizabeth Comninellis Foster and Lisa Neher. Compositions include a statement on the election of Donald Trump to the devastating yet awesome power of tornadoes. Buy now on CDBaby here.

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