Louise Farrenc was a woman in a man’s world: 19th-century musical Paris. Clara Schumann had previously been the only woman to be praised for her compositions and performances; it was generally considered that to earn money from music was a masculine pursuit. Farrenc not only achieved the near impossible of getting her music published, leading to Robert Schumann’s praise of her work, but was awarded a piano professorship at the Paris Conservatoire. Compositions for piano formed a part of her oeuvre, alongside works for chamber ensemble and orchestra. These pieces gradually fell out of the repertoire and only began to be revisited towards the end of the 20th century.
This special collection brings together Farrenc’s two piano quintets, both scored for the slightly unusual forces of piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass. The works, both of which owe much to the inspiration of Hummel and Mendelssohn, provide a pleasing contrast to each other – the first being in the solemn key of A minor and the second in the sunnier E major. The musicality of the pieces provides ample proof for the 19th-century historiographer and musician François-Joseph Fétis's claim that Farrenc’s mind had ‘the conceptual strength of a consummate master’. The works are performed by acclaimed ensemble Quintetto Bottesini, founded in 2006 with the intent of rediscovering a rarely performed musical repertoire that brings together violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano.
- Recorded in 2013.
- Louise Farrenc (1804-1875) was one of the first succesful female composers in 19th century France. Born in a family of high artistic activity, she became an accomplished pianist (having had lessons with Moscheles and Hummel), eventually holding a professorship at the Paris Conservatoire.
- Her two piano quintets (with double bass) are firmly rooted in the classical tradition of Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn. They are delightful, brilliantly scored works, full of instrumental virtuosity and melodic invention.
- Played with enthousiasm and good humour by the Quintetto Bottesini.
- Contains liner notes on the composer and works, ensemble biography and instrument specifications.