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First Ladies: Three Romantic Violin Sonatas

One could hardly intuit from these fresh and flowing violin sonatas the obstacles their female composers had to face – family opposition for Mel Bonis in France and Ethel Smyth in England, institutional conservatism for Elfrida Andrée in Sweden. It has taken a century and more for that initial prejudice to fall away, and they are now beginning to attract a fair hearing for their music. What ultimately matters, of course, is not whether composers are male or female but whether they write good music, and these three sonatas – melodically expansive, rhythmically vivacious, harmonically warm – point to the musical riches that further exploration of their creators’ output will uncover.

Annette-Barbara Vogel, violin
Durval Cesetti, piano