The Daffodil Perspective 9th April 2019

 

Tracklist

Airtime Composer Work Performer Album Label Link to Buy
0 Strauss Sr Radetzky March Philadelphia Orchestra
Eugene Ormandy
Johann Strauss: Greatest Hits Sony Presto
4.42 Cheryl Frances-Hoad Quark Dances Paul Hoskins, Rambert Orchestra Stolen Rhythm: Works by Cheryl Frances-Hoad Champs Hill Records Presto
17.27 Higgins Atomic Cafe Paul Hoskins, Rambert Orchestra Flux: New Music – new dance NMC Presto
28.52 Dobson Backlash Simon Dobson Euneirophrenia None Bandcamp
33.53 Cheryl Frances-Hoad One Life Stand 1. Brief Encounter Joseph Middleton, Jennifer Johnston You promised me everything Champs Hill Records Presto
38.2 Wigglesworth Augenlieder 1. Eurydice to Orpheus Hallé Orchestra, Ryan Wigglesworth, Claire Booth (soprano) Wigglesworth: Echo and Narcissus NMC Presto
41.45 Cheryl Frances-Hoad The Ogre Lover Lendvai String Trio The Glory Tree Champs Hill Records Presto
50.38 Anne Dudley Suite from Poldark Anne Dudley
Chamber Orchestra of London, Chris Garrick (violin)
Poldark (Deluxe Version) Sony Presto
56.25 David Arnold & Michael Price Sherlocked Michael Price, David Arnold Sherlock – Series 2 (Soundtrack from the TV Series) Silva Screen Records Presto
1.00.22 Rachel Lee Guthrie Nocturne Dmitry Tavanets (piano) Exploring the Heart Ravello Records Presto
1.07.00 Augusta Holmes Fantaisie Il Cenacolo della Chimera, Claudia Bracco, Luigi Magistrelli Clarinet Repertoire of Women Composers VDE-Gallo Presto
1.13.38 Marie Grandval Deux Pieces Il Cenacolo della Chimera, Claudia Bracco, Luigi Magistrelli Clarinet Repertoire of Women Composers VDE-Gallo Presto
1.21.47 Fanny Mendelssohn Traum Il Cenacolo della Chimera, Claudia Bracco, Luigi Magistrelli Clarinet Repertoire of Women Composers VDE-Gallo Presto
1.25.02 Offenbach Infernal Galop Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, Košice, Johannes Wildner Cinema Classics Vol 11 Naxos Presto

 

The Daffodil Perspective 26th March 2019

So much exciting music on the show to share this week.

Composer Of The Week – Henriette Renie

Exploring her life and work along with friends Pierne and Grandjany.

Music from Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and wind band music from Nigel Hess

Fun With Florence

1st in a new monthly segment celebrating the life, work and legacy of Florence Price. This week featuring a very special recording by Samantha Ege.

Contemporary Corner

This week showcasing brand new song cycle Cracked Voices by Jenni Pinnock.

Album Of The Week

Something new this week, instead of 1 album I have 3 amazing new releases, each of a single composer.

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The Daffodil Perspective 19th March 2019

Composer of the Week – Dame Elizabeth Maconchy

This week exploring the music of 20th century composer Dame Elizabeth Maconchy along with friends Britten and Tippet.

Alos on the show I’ve got film music from Rachel Portman and Patrick Doyle plus music from Einaudi and Bartok.

Contemporary Corner – PARMA Recordings Monthly Residency

The first in a new monthly residency from record label PARMA Recordings. Every 3rd week of the month exploring music from one of their stunning single composer releases on their Navona imprint. This week music from Margaret Brandman.

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Album of the Week – Breaking Ground – A Celebration of Women Composers.

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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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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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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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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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Venus Unwrapped – the start of a brave new world for women or a quickly forgotten publicity stunt?

Kings Place is starting the series Venus Unwrapped this Thursday, a year long series celebrating women composers throughout history and across the world. The classical music world has been talking about it for ages.

But is it so groundbreaking?

Is it just a publicity stunt?

Will it change the way ensembles think about programming music?

Will it have an effect on the audience?

At first glance it seems very exciting, programming the works of amazing composers marginalised for centuries seems a brilliant idea, bringing their work to light and getting people to hear them. King’s Place programmes a diverse range of genres – jazz, folk, electronic and Venus Unwrapped is just as diverse. Folk legends Kathryn Tickell and Kate Rusby are performing as part of the series as well as the stunning jazz composer Zoe Rahman.

In particular the classical concerts are programming lots of historical composers including the amazing polymath Hildegard von Bingen, Rebecca Clarke, Lili Boulanger and Clara Schumann. Recently there has been a noticeable increase of contemporary female composers being performed around the world but never any historical female composers. This is definitely a plus, acknowledging the long history of women composing music, not just something women started doing in the 60’s but saying women have always been composing.

The big question for me is why not just decide to program 50/50 gender split concerts from now on, or at least a lot more than in previous seasons, what will happen at the end of the year?

In 2020 will Kings Place go back to playing mostly male composers and marginalising women again? Or will they have received so much positive feedback and seen the work of so many other women composers, not just the ones programmed, that they will continue with a gender balanced programme from now on?

Let’s have a closer look at just the classical music concerts.

The series starts on Thursday with the work of amazing Baroque composer Barbara Strozzi, played by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

OAE are an internationally renowned orchestra based in London. In the 2018/2019 they are playing 100 concerts, the only concert in which they feature a woman composer is the one as part of Venus Unwrapped. The rest is just a sea of usual suspects – mostly Bach, some Handel, some Elgar and Strauss etc etc etc.

Now you could argue that maybe the rest of their programme was set already before Venus Unwrapped was announced and they got involved but:

  1. This sounds like they are just jumping on the bandwagon – Venus Unwrapped is getting a lot of publicity so they thought would be good to join in, not because they actually believe in diversity in programming.
  2. Their programme is completely male dominated, why have they not been playing Barbara Strozzi, Martines, Smyth before?
  3. Is there a possibility that people will think they have more of a commitment to gender balance than they really do?
  4. If their season was already set in stone before they joined in Venus Unwrapped what about next year? Will they realise that they should start programming more women composers?

But that is just one orchestra, what about the other ensembles involved?

Well amongst the other ensembles taking part are English Symphony Orchestra, early music vocal ensemble Stile Antico, Aurora Orchestra and Piatti Quartet. If you look at all their programmes it is a similar story, no (or almost no) women composers apart from their concert(s) as part of Venus Unwrapped.

Also if these ensembles are playing a female composer it is usually a contemporary composer, in the case of Aurora Orchestra playing Anna Meredith and Missy Mazzolli. So there are centuries of female composers they are ignoring.

It’s not just one ensemble, it is everywhere, all these ensembles are simply playing female composers as part of Venus Unwrapped.

I’d like to be optimistic and at least wait until the 2019/2020 seasons are announced before I pass judgment on these groups, maybe they will be inspired by Kings Place and think they need to start creating gender balanced programmes.

On the other hand it’s showing just how much work needs to be done, if these ensembles are only playing female composers as a publicity stunt.

Any playing of women composers as part of a gender balanced programme should be commended, especially a year long series, it isn’t just the one concert marking the centenary of women’s suffrage or International Women’s Day. That doesn’t mean it’s not tokenism though, just on a grander scale.

The marginalisation of female composers is everywhere – on radio stations, recordings, awards and performances. Change needs to happen in all of these settings if we can hope to create gender balance in the classical music industry. It can’t be down to one venue to change. They can be the rolling ball though, the question is are they?

There’s a great blog post by Helen Wallace, the programme director of King’s Place responsible for this remarkable festival. A remarkable inspiration, she says:

“Venus Unwrapped has become an unstoppable force, and will transform our future programmes at Kings Place. Despite the inclusion of 140 composers in the series, our research has uncovered so many more: this is just the beginning.”

That itself sounds very promising. Read the whole inspiring post here.

I think Helen Wallace herself is not viewing it as a stunt, it looks like King’s Place are coming at this as the start of real change which is fantastic but for the orchestras involved it doesn’t seem to be making an impact as yet.

There are lots of other initiatives going on to promote female composers, including my own gender balanced show. Maybe all of these together will make 2019 the watershed year?

These are just some of the questions on my mind going into the year of Venus Unwrapped.

What do you think?