Di Xiao | Femmes de Légende

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Femmes de Légende

by Di Xiao

Women, both as composer and as inspiration, are the foundation of this exciting and eclectic recording which celebrates the talents and achievements of these unsung heroes.
Genre: Classical: Keyboard Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Thème Varié, Op. 89
4:20 $0.99
2. Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 20
10:47 $0.99
3. Femmes De Légende, Op 109: I. Mélisande
2:54 $0.99
4. Femmes De Légende, Op 101: II. Desdémona
2:54 $0.99
5. Femmes De Légende, Op 100: III. Salomé
4:31 $0.99
6. Nocturne in B-Flat Major
4:02 $0.99
7. Four Piano Solos: No. 1, Shades of Solace
3:55 $0.99
8. Four Piano Solos: No. 2, Vespers in Venice
3:42 $0.99
9. Four Piano Solos: No. 3, Pavane
3:34 $0.99
10. Four Piano Solos: No. 4, Tapsalteerie
5:09 $0.99
11. Jamaican Medley: The River Ben Come Down / Tan, Men Me Tell You / Moon a Shine Annotto Bay
5:03 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Femmes de Légende features and celebrates the work of female composers. As a female artist myself, I feel it my duty to promote the work of talented, but often overlooked, women. These beautifully crafted, intelligent and diverse works deserve more attention. They are not the work of females who compose but the creations of great composers who are female. The programme begins with the sweet and delightful Thème varié by the French composer Cécile Chaminade (1857 – 1944). This charming piece vividly demonstrates Chaminade’s understanding of effective writing for the piano. Clara Schumann’s (1819 – 1896) Variations on a theme by Robert Schumann, is a skilful manipulation of the fourth of her husband’s Op. 99, Bunte Blätter. It combines gentleness and power and achieves a solemnity and soul-reaching quality. The Variations were written as a 43rd birthday present for her husband in 1853, the year before his attempted suicide which forced him into an asylum and Clara to neglect composing for domestic duties. The prolific Mélanie Bonis’ (1858 – 1937) Femmes de Légende is a collection named after women whose fates have become legendary: Mélisande (inspired by the poet Maeterlinck), Desdémona (the female heroine in Shakespeare’s Othello) and the biblical character, Salome. Bonis’ composition displays great variety, her post-romantic style ranges from dramatic to sensual, with a touch of oriental feeling in its use of harmonies. Maria Szymanowska (1789 – 1831) was the first Polish pianist to make her mark internationally and the first female concert pianist to make a career of touring and performance. The Nocturne in B flat major is written with great sensitivity and tenderness. The listener can hear the connection with Chopin who may well have attended Maria’s concerts in their shared homeland as a young musician. When I first came across the Four Piano Solos by British composer Cecilia McDowall (born 1951), I was amazed by the energy, diversity and complexity of emotions in these pieces. The first of them was inspired by a black and white image of New York in the 1940s and the imaginative set provides a good test for interpretation. Jamaican Medley was written for the twenty first anniversary of Jamaica’s independence. The Jamaican/English composer Eleanor Alberga (born 1949) borrows from Jamaican folk songs in this short work to bring sunshine, sea breeze and make you want to pop on your dancing shoes. My journey into female composers has been a treasure hunt full of surprise and delight. It has also been emotional; I was often reduced to tears as I learned the challenges these ladies had to confront in their lives; the doubt and shame they felt about their talents because, in their time,
women were told their place was at home to cook, wash and serve men. For example, Clara Schumann, who was a child prodigy
and one of the most talented concert pianists of her time, wrote a piano concerto at the age of 14 but cemented her last
composition in her 30s when she became the sole bread winner, responsible for feeding eight children. She devoted herself to looking after her family and her husband. All these brave ladies, through sheer determination, overcame adversity to get their compositional voices heard. We should all learn from their courage and fortitude. I am so glad that times are different now. However, women still face pressures, inequality, role conflicts and new challenges. This is my call to all the brave women fighters
to support each other and I invite everyone to join in and celebrate the achievements of talented women everywhere.

Di Xiao

1. Cécile Chaminade: Thème varié (4’20)
2. Clara Schumann: Variations on a theme by Robert Schumann Op. 20 (10’47)
3-5. Mélanie Bonis: Femmes de Légende (9:42)
3 : Mélisande (2:57)
4 : Desdémona (2:54)
5 : Salomé ( 4:31)
6. Maria Szymanowska: Nocturne in B flat major (4:01)
7-10. Cecilia McDowall: Four Piano Solos (15:38)
7. Shades of Solace (3:54)
8. Vespers in Venice (3:41)
9. Pavane (3:34)
10. Tapsalteerie (5:09)
11. Eleanor Alberga: Jamaican Medley: The River Ben Come Down / Tan, Men Me Tell You / Moon a Shine Annotto Bay (5:03)

Total Time: 49:06
Sound Engineer: Minos Koutedakis/ CD cover and booklet design: Louise Gale
Recorded Feb 2019 at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

All rights of the artists,manufacturer and of the owner of the recorded work reserved. Unauthorised public performance,broadcasting and copyrighting of this work prohibited. Ecstasy Records 2019. ( logo) Made in England.



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