Songs for the Parlour / Het Lied van de Haard
by Pauline Lebbe
This lecture recital presents a juxtaposition of three composing women from turn-of-the-19th-century Belgium. Besides obvious differences in character, course of life and musical style, important commonalities surface regarding their access to music education and professional career. All three had no other training than private piano class at home, and had to cope with the absence of peers, degrees, colleagues, and network which conservatory provides.
It is interesting to see how the work of all three is centered around piano music and art song, the so called “parlour music” genres which could be performed within the boundaries of the home, while their excursions in orchestral and chamber music remain occasional. Yet, their compositions are harmonically rich, up to date with the contemporary music evolution and skillfully crafted, which suggests that their home training was of a high standard.
This lecture recital is an outcome of the research project ‘Componist V/M/X’ at the Conservatoire that sought to offer an insight in the life of musically talented women in our country a century ago.
(Image: James Ensor, La musique russe, 1881. Collectie Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten Brussel. Foto Vadim Alyoshin - detail)