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Thread: Who is the Greatest Female Composers of All-Time?

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    Junior Member P The D's Avatar
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    Question Who is the Greatest Female Composers of All-Time?

    I am very interested in reading what those who have listened to many female composers think about the daunting question, "who is the best ever?"

    If you don't feel comfortable or have an objection to listing one as the best, then by all means please list a few or just your personal favorite or multiple favorites.

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    Sofia Gubaidulina, Lili Boulanger, Elisabeth Luytens come to mind...

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    Clara Schumann, Amy Beach, Doreen Carwithen, Elizabeth Maconchy, Germaine Tailleferre...

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    I have enjoyed some works by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich - a flute conterto I think it was. I would rank her work above Amy Beach's which I find pleasant enough but not extraordinary.

    I also enjoy what little I've heard of Clara Schumann.

    Perhaps my favorite female composer is Conni Ellisor for her piece Conversations in Silence
    http://www.ellisormusic.com/

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    Hildegarde von Bingen also comes to mind...

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    Senior Member haydnguy's Avatar
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    Ruth Crawford Seeger is probably my favorite. *warning* She is very 20th century avant garde.

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    Lili Boulanger, Louise Farrenc, Amy Beach, Hidegard von Bingen, Clara Wieck (Schumann), Alice Mary Smith

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    I was fortunate enough to take an excellent Women as Composers class last semester.

    I think there are better women composers out there than Clara Schumann or especially Fanny Mendelssohn. My favorites include Louise Farrenc (a French composer who wrote in an early-Romantic yet individual Germanic style), Lili Boulanger (an impressionist child prodigy who unfortunately died young; Nadia's sister), Rebecca Clarke (a 20th-century English composer best known for her viola works), and Elfrida Andree (the first Swedish female organist/conductor/symphonist; a fairly conservative late Romantic). I also really like Amy Beach. There are also quite a few contemporary women composers worth exploring like Higdon, Zwilich, Walker, and Chen Yi.

    My favorite work from Women as Composers class is Andree's suite from her opera Fritiof. It has been recorded, but the performance is not stellar. Sadly the opera as a whole has never been performed. Next semester I will be editing one of her unpublished string quartets! (This quartet has also been recorded, but the performance is not good at all).

    I think the "greatest" pieces by a woman composer are Farrenc's two piano quintets. These have the same instrumentation as Schubert's Trout Quintet. She also wrote three very good symphonies, but these are less memorable. Farrenc is probably the woman composer whom I can say wrote music of the most consistently high quality.

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    One that I do like is Galina Ustvolskaya I am at the moment listening to her 3rd sym, I do not think much of Clara Schumann although I do have a CD of her Piano and chamber music

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    From all that I've heard (as limited as that is, admittedly) I'd go with Hildegard of Bingen.

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    Junior Member Fergus's Avatar
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    I'm not familiar with many female composers, but I do love Hildegard von Bingen.

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    Senior Member kg4fxg's Avatar
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    Default I am sure I am in the minority with my tastes

    Maria Malibran
    Wanda Landowska
    Grazyna Bacewicz
    Joanna Bruzdowicz
    Jennifer Higdon
    Grazyna Kranowska

    And yes, I love them all dearly. Very talented.
    No, it's a Bb. It looks wrong and it sounds wrong, but it's right - Vaughan Williams.

    Bill Carter, CPA

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    Clara Schumann who wrote a kind of more relaxed version of Robert's music.

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    Senior Member Dim7's Avatar
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    I haven't heard any female classical composers. Not a single one. And while I started seriously exploring classical music only during this year, I think I have heard already pretty decent amount of composers. Now that I think of it, even if I count non-classical music, the only female artist I have either on CD or on computer is Björk. One album by her.

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    Junior Member P The D's Avatar
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    I have created a group on last.fm for female composers. Everyone interested in exploring female composers & their works is welcome to join.

    Here is the link... http://www.last.fm/group/Female%2BComposers

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