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Classical 101

Louise Farrenc: No Opera, No Acclaim

In 19th Century France, to be taken seriously as a composer it was helpful if you had written an opera. Louise Farrenc did not write an opera. That might be why she is not better known today, though her music is certainly good enough to have brought her more acclaim. Louise Farrenc was born in Paris in 1804 and like her contemporaries, Fanny Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann, she was an outstanding pianist. Yet the range of her musical compositions was greater. In addition to writing numerous pieces for piano, Farrenc wrote chamber music for larger ensembles (two quintets, a sextet and a nonet) and for orchestras (including, two concert overtures and three symphonies). Farrenc did earn recognition as a performer and teacher. In 1842, she was appointed professor of piano at the Paris Conservatory, where she taught for thirty years. Louise Farrenc's Third Symphony was premiered in 1849 by an organization known for its Beethoven performances and was well received by critics. It is a fine example of a romantic symphony from the middle of the 19th Century: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYIX21blNmE Sadly, after her death in 1875, she seems to have been forgotten.