Louise Farrenc, French composer/pianist

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 18478
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Louise Farrenc, French composer/pianist

Post by Lance » Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:18 pm

This brilliant composer and alleged supreme French pianist, Louise Farrenc, lived between 1804 and 1875. Only on occasion does one hear her works, piano pieces, overtures, symphonies, chamber music, etc., and then, mostly on the radio. I have collected her recordings for years — there are not that many in reality — but recordings have begun to see daylight more over the past 15 or so years, generally on labels that wouldn't be considered major, i.e. CPO, Centaur, Pentatone, Paladino, ASV, FSM, and Brilliant, to name some. She was born into a life span that produced among the greatest composers the world has ever known so it stands to reason that, being involved in that culture, fed her musical imagination. I think she did superbly well especially based on a new Steinway & Sons CD [30133] offering a hint over 70 minutes in duration. Frankly, I was overwhelmed by the pianism of Joanne Polk, the pianist, her magnificent Steinway concert grand, and the acoustics of the program — and the music.

What is on this disc that I have not found on any other are Etudes, Op. 26, Books I and II, but not complete (how I wish they were complete). The album is entitled Etudes and Variations for Solo Piano, and so far, I would rate this one of the finest piano discs presented this year of 2020. Other works include a Russian Air and Variations, a Cavatine from the Opera Norma, Souvenir of the Huguenots with 15 Etudes completing the album. All of it eminently listenable, enjoyable, and stunningly surprising for the quality of the writing. Miss Farrenc must have been a formidable pianist in her day!

Joanne Polk's work has been presented on disc before if you think you have heard her name. On the Steinway & Sons label [30037], she recorded the music of Cecile Chaminade in a CD entitled The Flatterer, and for Arabesque, she recorded the piano works of Amy (Mrs. H. H. A.) Beach, Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, Gershwin/Earl Wild and the symphonic works can be found Naxos. Her interests seem to be in promoting mostly the work of female composers who are largely overlooked in the pantheon of composers. She is to be greatly credited for that.

This new Steinway & Sons disc I would recommend as a must-have for music/piano lovers.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Ricordanza
Posts: 1934
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:58 am
Location: Southern New Jersey, USA

Re: Louise Farrenc, French composer/pianist

Post by Ricordanza » Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:37 am

I first heard Louise Farrenc's music in February, when the Philadelphia Orchestra performed her Symphony No. 2. Given the immediate appeal of that piece, I look forward to hearing her piano compositions.

http://www.classicalmusicguide.com/view ... =3&t=50820

Due to the covid-19 virus, that was my last Philadelphia Orchestra concert of the season. :(

maestrob
Posts: 6916
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Louise Farrenc, French composer/pianist

Post by maestrob » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:48 am

Thank you, gentlemen for posting about this remarkable woman who was previously unknown to me! There is a considerable number of CDs available for listening on amazon: I look forward to exploring her output, including the disc by Polk you mention, Lance. 8)

maestrob
Posts: 6916
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Louise Farrenc, French composer/pianist

Post by maestrob » Tue May 05, 2020 2:29 pm

Well, I've been sampling Louise Farrenc's music during the past week, and have discovered that she is indeed a fine composer, but she does have her limitations, at least according to the recordings I have heard so far. Her symphonies are well-crafted, of course, but they lack substance, even though they make for enjoyable listening: the Scherzo in II is quite good, in my estimation. The one recording of her Piano Trios was rather mediocre: perhaps with better performers, the works would inspire more attention (see below). Where Farrenc excels, though, is in the piano disc you recommend, Lance. These are superb miniatures, inventive, quite original and vastly entertaining, so I concur with your opinion about pianist Joanna Polk and the repertoire she chose. Lastly, there is a standout CD of Farrenc's works for violin and piano, played by violinist Gaetane Provost and pianist Laurent Casasso. Thanks to amazon Prime, I was able to access all of these in a matter of days!

Thank you Lance, for bringing Louise Farrenc to our attention: her music is definitely worthy and very enjoyable and original.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 18478
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Louise Farrenc, French composer/pianist

Post by Lance » Tue May 05, 2020 11:04 pm

Brian, you are absolutely correct about performers! They make all the difference in the world. Insofar as solo piano music concerned, Joanne Polk is the best I've heard thus far. I have learned from her that ALL the Etudes of Ferrenc will be forthcoming! That was very good news, indeed. Only a few of the Etudes, so I discovered, were available on an old LP, but those didn't make the impression on me that Polk's did.

Farrenc, incidentally, besides those discs you displayed are on Brilliant, ASV, Centaur (violin and cello sonatas with piano recital), CPO, Divox and Paladino. I'm so pleased that Farrenc is getting her due. One of the Naxos discs [8.574094] with the Symphony No. 1 contains a set of variations for piano and orchestra. I am so pleased Ms. Farrenc is finally getting her due.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

diegobueno
Winds Specialist
Posts: 2506
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Louise Farrenc, French composer/pianist

Post by diegobueno » Sat May 09, 2020 9:11 am

I recently performed Louise Farrenc's excellent Nonet in E flat, op. 38, for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello and bass. The piece was a milestone in her career, because she had been teaching piano at the Paris Conservatoire for years at a salary much lower than her male colleagues. No matter how many times she pleaded with the board of directors to compensate her at the same level as the male teachers, she was always rebuffed. After the triumphant performance of this Nonet, however, they finally gave in and agreed to give her equal pay.
Here is a link to my group's March 1 performance of the Farrenc Nonet:

https://soundcloud.com/markgsimon/louise-farrenc-nonet

maestrob
Posts: 6916
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Louise Farrenc, French composer/pianist

Post by maestrob » Sun May 10, 2020 1:23 pm

Interesting piece, Mark, thank you. I do wish your violinist had a sweeter tone, however. :wink:

diegobueno
Winds Specialist
Posts: 2506
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Louise Farrenc, French composer/pianist

Post by diegobueno » Mon May 11, 2020 2:45 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 1:23 pm
Interesting piece, Mark, thank you. I do wish your violinist had a sweeter tone, however. 😉
Well, as they say, you fight with the army you've got. Thanks for listening.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 31 guests