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Classical Composers (L)

Classical music (and some jazz and folk) from Leonarda
Includes many American composers and works by women

Josephine Lang (1815-1880) came from Münich where her father was a court musician and her mother an opera singer. Lang was composing songs by age 13, and was only 15 when she wrote the song presented here. After meeting the young Lang in 1831, Mendelssohn wrote, "She has the gift of composing songs and singing them as I have never heard before. It is the most complete musical joy I have ever experienced." Lang responded to his enthusiasm by idolizing him. Robert Schumann wrote favorable reviews of her songs, including this one. Lang became a professional singer at the Münich court in 1836, but her career was cut short by marriage and a subsequent move to Tübingen in 1842. After her husband's death in 1856, Lang supported her family of six children by teaching voice and piano. Clara Schumann helped arrange for the publication of her Lieder. More than 150 were printed, establishing her as one of the most published women composers of the period. More than half of her songs date from the 1830s and 40s, and were influenced stylistically by Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn. The first three works are on double CD #LE353, which can be used in conjunction with the book Women Composers: The Lost Tradition Found Der Winter (bass-baritone and piano) mp3; Wie glänzt so hell dein Auge (bass-baritone and piano) mp3 ; Frühzeitiger Frühling mp3 (mezzo-soprano and piano). Frühzeitiger Frühling (another performance for soprano and piano) is on Leonarda CD #LE338, audio sample mp3.

Libby Larsen (b.1950) is one of America's most performed living composers. She has created a catalogue of over 400 works spanning virtually every genre, from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral and choral scores. A Grammy Award winner, Larsen is widely recorded—including 50 CDs of her work—and is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles and orchestras around the world. As a vigorous, articulate advocate for the music and musicians of our time, Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composers Forum. Former holder of the Papamarkou Chair at John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Larsen has also held residencies with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony and the Colorado Symphony. She has also served on the National Endowment for the Arts Music Panel, Meet the Composer National Advisory Committee, American Music Center Board of Directors and the ASCAP Board of Review. When I am an old woman (voice and piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE338. Overture - Parachute Dancing (orchestra) mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE327. Songs from Letters; Calamity Jane to her daughter Janey (1880-1092) (soprano and piano) Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE357.

Tania León (b.1943) earned degrees from the National Conservatory in Cuba and New York University. She became the first music director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1969, a post she held until 1980. It was there that she was given her first opportunity to conduct. She went on to study conducting with Laszlo Halasz and took part in the conducting program at Tanglewood, coaching with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa. Recent engagements include the Metropolitan Opera; Brooklyn Philharmonic; Bay Area Women's Philharmonic; and the Puerto Rican, Phoenix, Columbus, New World, and La Cross Symphonies. At the end of her tenure at the Dance Theatre, Ms. León worked extensively in musical theatre as a music director and as a composer. She has received commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts; American Composers Orchestra; Queens Symphony; Dance Theatre of Harlem; the Kennedy Center; Whitney Museum; Affiliate Artists; and National Public Radio, which commissioned her to write the theme music for its Latin File program. León is a former Composer-in-Residence with the New York Philharmonic. Momentum (solo piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE334.

Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704) (Novara, Italy) joined the Collegio Sant'Orsola (the Order later called Ursulines) at the age of 16. Her father was a member of the minor nobility and a Doctor of Law. Two of her brothers were canons of the Novara cathedral, and at least two sisters also were members of the Collegio Sant'Orsola .Her oldest brother inherited the family title and was a civic official in Novara. His descendants still live in the city and the family archives include much information about Isabella, including a representation of her on a family tree shown in the accompanying CD booklet. When she was 20, Leonarda's first published music appeared in a collection by the Maestro de Capella at the Novara cathedral, Gasparo Casati, who may have been her teacher.

Leonarda published 20 volumes of music during her life, of which two have been lost. The surviving volumes contain more than 200 pieces of music. One is entirely instrumental ­11 trio sonatas and a sonata for solo violin and organ continuo. The vocal works include psalms, magnificats, responsories, litanies, four masses, and many works with non-biblical texts (including four in Italian) which are usually labeled motets. The choral music is for soprano (canto), alto, tenor, and bass. All of the music, including the instrumental sonatas, would have been appropriate for liturgical use, but no records survive to tell us for what occasions her music was written or used, or even where it was performed. Leonarda's works are found in widely scattered locations, however, often with parts missing, indicating that they had been used.

In Italy, her music is found in Bergamo, Siena, Bologna, Como, and Pistoia. Her music is also in Benedictine libraries in Einsiedein (Switzerland), Bueron, and Ottbeuren (Germany). Other works are located in national museums in England and the United States, in Munich, and at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. Brossard owned several of her works, which he esteemed highly and which are now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. [Brossard's collection of manuscripts was acquired by Louis XV in 1724, and became the nucleus of the music collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale.] No manuscripts survive, only published music. Perhaps works were composed and published in quick succession, but it is more likely that Leonarda selected music for her published volumes from among her manuscripts. Ave suavis dilectio (soprano, 2 violins, organ continuo), audio sample mp3; Messa Prima, Op.18 (First Mass) (SATB chorus, vocal soloists, 2 violins, cello, organ), audio samples: mp3 Gloria1; mp3 Gloria2; mp3 Credo. Leonarda CD #LE 346.

David Loeb (b.1939) was born in in New York and has continued to live there. He studied composition with Peter Stearns (who had been a student of Martinu) at the Mannes College of Music. He teaches there and at the Curtis Institute of Music. Several of his works have been issued on the Grenadilla and Gasparo labels. Since 1964 Loeb has composed extensively for Japanese instruments and for early Western instruments (especially the viola da gamba), and influences from these instruments sometimes carry over to his works for more conventional media. Four Nocturnes (flute, oboe, cello) mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE330.

John M. Loretz, Jr.(19th Century). His Ave Maria (voice and organ) was published in the USA and is on Leonarda CD #LE341.

Erik Lundborg (b.1948), a native of Montana, teaches at the Manhattan School of Music in New York and holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and Columbia University. Lundborg has had commissions, performances, and recordings by the leading orchestras and new-music ensembles, including the Houston Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Speculum Musicae, Parnassus, Group for Contemporary Music, the New Music Consort, Da Capo Chamber Players, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Light Fantastic Players, and the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble. He is the recipient of a Warner/Nonesuch commission and is also recorded on New World, CRI, and Opus One. Lundborg has served on the boards of the American Composers Alliance and the League of Composers - ISCM. His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a composer grant from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music. He was a MacDowell Fellow, and composed film music as a Fellow at the Sundance Institute. Switchback (orchestra). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE331.

Luigi Luzzi (1828-1876, Italy) Ave Maria (voice and organ) is on Leonarda CD #LE341


Links to alphabetical list of composers
Bios and links to their recordings at this site

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