Emily Sun & Anna Tilbrook: Mozart & Modern Women

SUNDAY 19 MAY - 7:00 PM

Mozart Violin Sonata in A major, K305
Amy Beach Violin Sonata, Op 34
Pauline Viardot Six Morceaux, VWV 3003
Mozart Violin Sonata in B flat major K454

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Emily Sun and Anna Tilbrook embark on a journey through the complete Mozart sonatas written for violin and piano duo. Their programme is intertwined with works by trailblazing and modern women of their time.

Amy Beach, born in 1867, was credited as the first American woman composer of ‘art music’. A child prodigy, Beach began composing at four years old, and made her concert hall debut at sixteen. Her successful career as a pianist was brought to an end with marriage but was succeeded as one of the most accomplished and successful composers of her time. Her Gaelic Symphony was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was the first to be composed and published by an American woman and numerous large-scale works received critical acclaim. Her music is lyrically Romantic in language, and the violin sonata represents a fine example of both the Romantic violin writing, and her work in general.

A celebrated soprano and concert pianist, Pauline Viardot’s career saw her tour extensively around Europe as well as several years attached to Opera in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She was hugely respected by her peers; through her close friend novelist George Sand, she spent time with Chopin who advised her on performance and composition. Franz Liszt declared that, with Pauline Viardot, the world had finally found a woman composer of genius.

The charming character pieces of Six Morceaux (1868) are dedicated to ‘son fils Paul’ who was eleven at the time. Written in the melodically rich salon style of the late 19th century, they include Romance, Bohémienne (an energetic gypsy piece in 2/4 time), Berceuse (‘Lullaby’, played muted throughout), Mazourke (‘Mazurka’, a lively Polish dance), Vieille Chanson (‘Old Song’), and Tarentelle (‘Tarantella’, a quick Italian dance).

By recontexualising these two major works in the context of Mozart’s pivotal violin sonatas, Emily and Anna shine a light on the music of modern women to be seen at the forefront of duo repertoire.

Find out more:

We need to tell you about Amy Beach, the first American woman to publish a symphony – Classic FM

Celebrating the composer Amy Beach, 1867-1944



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