Louise Farrenc (1804-1875)

Episodes

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01Composer, Performer, Scholar20151102

Donald Macleod examines the context of Farrenc's life.

Louise Farrenc may not be a household name in the twenty-first century, but in her own lifetime she enjoyed a career of international standing. She was an accomplished pianist, a valued teacher at the Paris Conservatoire and in the latter part of her life, she devoted the majority of her time to the preparation of a groundbreaking anthology of keyboard music dating from the 16th to the 19th century.

She was born in 1804, a year before Fanny Hensel, Felix Mendelssohn's older sister. However the fifty plus published works that make up her legacy, immediately set her apart. While the majority of her contemporaries had a tendency to focus on smaller forms, songs, choral works and salon pieces for the piano, Farrenc's creative interests involved writing music for much larger combinations of instruments, including quintets, a sextet, a nonet , orchestral overtures and three symphonies.

That's not to say she never contributed to vocal music. Research into Farrenc's extant legacy has established a small collection of her largely unpublished vocal works does exist. For the first time, especially for Composer of the Week, soprano Ruby Hughes, a former Radio 3 New Generation Artist and pianist Anna Tilbrook have recorded four of Farrenc's songs. The BBC Singers, under conductor David Hill have recorded the only two choral settings known to exist. There's an opportunity to hear these vocal rarities spread across the week.

Donald Macleod begins his survey by examining the context of Louise Farrenc's life. Paris born, she remained in the capital, a centre of musical excellence, her whole life. In addition to keyboard and chamber output, there's a glimpse of her vocal writing too, in the ballad Andréa le Folle, heard for the first time in a recording made specially for Composer of the Week.

01Making A Name20151104

Donald Macleod focuses on Farrenc's nonet and the first recording of a Romantic ballad.

Louise Farrenc may not be a household name in the twenty-first century, but in her own lifetime she enjoyed a career of international standing. Her music was played across Europe; she was twice recognised by the French Institute for her outstanding contribution to chamber music; she was an accomplished pianist who received favourable reviews for her public performances, for thirty years she was a valued teacher at the Paris Conservatoire and in the latter part of her life, she devoted the majority of her time to the preparation of a groundbreaking anthology of keyboard music dating from the 16th to the 19th century.

She was born in 1804, a year before Fanny Hensel, Felix Mendelssohn's older sister. While the majority of her contemporaries had a tendency to focus on smaller forms, songs, choral works and salon pieces for the piano, Farrenc's creative interests involved writing music for much larger combinations of instruments, including quintets, a sextet, a nonet , orchestral overtures and three symphonies.

That's not to say she never contributed to vocal music. Research into Farrenc's extant legacy has established a small collection of her largely unpublished vocal works does exist. For the first time, especially for Composer of the Week, soprano Ruby Hughes, a former Radio 3 New Generation Artist and pianist Anna Tilbrook have recorded four of Farrenc's songs. The BBC Singers, under conductor David Hill have recorded the only two choral settings known to exist. There's an opportunity to hear these vocal rarities spread across the week.

Today Donald Macleod charts Louise Farrenc's progress into maturity as a composer. She gave chamber music soirées in which she presented both vocal such as the ballad, recorded here for the first time and instrumental music. It was on one such occasion in 1850 that Louise Farrenc's masterly nonet was heard, demonstrating not only the influence of Beethoven and Mendelssohn but also the originality of her own voice.

02The Sorbonne20151103

The significance of Farrenc's education and family for her professional ambitions.

Louise Farrenc writes her first symphony and a rare choral setting "O salutaris hostia"

Louise Farrenc may not be a household name in the twenty-first century, but in her own lifetime she enjoyed a career of international standing. She was an accomplished pianist, a valued teacher at the Paris Conservatoire and in the latter part of her life, she devoted the majority of her time to the preparation of a groundbreaking anthology of keyboard music dating from the 16th to the 19th century.

She was born in 1804, a year before Fanny Hensel, Felix Mendelssohn's older sister. However the fifty plus published works that make up her legacy, immediately set her apart. While the majority of her contemporaries had a tendency to focus on smaller forms, songs, choral works and salon pieces for the piano, Farrenc's creative interests involved writing music for much larger combinations of instruments, including quintets, a sextet, a nonet , orchestral overtures and three symphonies.

That's not to say she never contributed to vocal music. Research into Farrenc's extant legacy has established a small collection of her largely unpublished vocal works does exist. For the first time, especially for Composer of the Week, soprano Ruby Hughes, a former Radio 3 New Generation Artist and pianist Anna Tilbrook have recorded four of Farrenc's songs. The BBC Singers, under conductor David Hill have recorded the only two choral settings known to exist. There's an opportunity to hear these vocal rarities spread across the week.

In the second part of his survey, Donald Macleod considers the significance of Louise Farrenc's education and family on her professional ambitions. Overcoming many obstacles, she manages to get her first symphony performed and there's a chance to hear one of only two choral settings made by Farrenc, recorded specially for Composer of the Week.

04An Outstanding Pedagogue20151105

Donald Macleod considers the significance of Farrenc's position as a professor of piano.

Louise Farrenc's second quintet wins her further critical acclaim and there's a rare opportunity to hear her writing in the popular ballad style too.

Louise Farrenc may not be a household name in the twenty-first century, but in her own lifetime she enjoyed a career of international standing. Her music was played across Europe; she was twice recognised by the French Institute for her outstanding contribution to chamber music; she was an accomplished pianist who received favourable reviews for her public performances, for thirty years she was a valued teacher at the Paris Conservatoire and in the latter part of her life, she devoted the majority of her time to the preparation of a groundbreaking anthology of keyboard music dating from the 16th to the 19th century.

She was born in 1804, a year before Fanny Hensel, Felix Mendelssohn's older sister. While the majority of her contemporaries had a tendency to focus on smaller forms, songs, choral works and salon pieces for the piano, Farrenc's creative interests involved writing music for much larger combinations of instruments, including quintets, a sextet, a nonet , orchestral overtures and three symphonies.

That's not to say she never contributed to vocal music. Research into Farrenc's extant legacy has established a small collection of her largely unpublished vocal works does exist. For the first time, especially for Composer of the Week, soprano Ruby Hughes, a former Radio 3 New Generation Artist and pianist Anna Tilbrook have recorded four of Farrenc's songs. The BBC Singers, under conductor David Hill have recorded the only two choral settings known to exist. There's an opportunity to hear these vocal rarities spread across the week.

In the fourth instalment of this week of programmes featuring the life and music of Louise Farrenc, Donald Macleod considers the significance of her position as a professor of piano at the prestigious Paris Conservatoire where she encountered Henri Herz, a prolific composer of salon music. As we hear today, in a ballad recorded specially for Composer of the Week, Farrenc could also turn her hand to the domestic market.

05Dark Victories20151106

Donald Macleod discusses Louise Farrenc's activities in the later part of her life.

Louise Farrenc may not be a household name in the twenty-first century, but in her own lifetime she enjoyed a career of international standing. Her music was played across Europe; she was twice recognised by the French Institute for her outstanding contribution to chamber music; she was an accomplished pianist who received favourable reviews for her public performances, for thirty years she was a valued teacher at the Paris Conservatoire and in the latter part of her life, she devoted the majority of her time to scholarly research.

She was born in 1804, a year before Fanny Hensel, Felix Mendelssohn's older sister. However the fifty plus published works that make up her legacy, immediately set her apart. While the majority of her contemporaries had a tendency to focus on smaller forms, songs, choral works and salon pieces for the piano, Farrenc's creative interests involved writing music for much larger combinations of instruments, including quintets, a sextet, a nonet , orchestral overtures and three symphonies.

In the final part of his survey of Louise Farrenc, Donald Macleod looks at her activities in the later part of her life. She completes a groundbreaking anthology of keyboard music, dating from the 16th to the 19th century. Plus, there's a rare chance to hear the song that might have been Farrenc's calling card, as she worked to persuade the theatre directors of Paris that she could write dramatic music too.