Sounds and Sweet Airs

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Sounds and Sweet Airs
"The cultural historian Anna Beer's rewarding new book about the forgotten women of classical music includes insightful portraits of eight composers, a couple of whom are truly forgotten, like the 17th-century Italian Francesca Caccini. But penetrating essays on better-known figures, like Clara Schumann, are even more interesting for the way Ms. Beer conveys the sexism and lifelong frustrations some immensely gifted creative artists encountered." --Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

As Heard on NPR's Weekend Edition

"Absorbing ... [Beer] writes with rich detail and sympathetic insight about [these women's] ambitious, adventurous battles to overcome barriers to creativity."
-- Publishers Weekly

"Savvy, sympathetic ... essential and insightful study of a woman's unsung place in the closed world of classical music."
--The Wall Street Journal

SOUNDS AND SWEET AIRS reveals the hidden stories of eight remarkable composers, taking the reader on a journey from seventeenth-century Medici Florence to London in the Blitz.

Exploring not just the lives and works of eight exceptional artists, historian Anna Beer also asks tough questions about the silencing of their legacy, which continues to this day. Why do we still not hear masterpieces such as Hensel's piano work "The Year," Caccini's arias and Boulanger's setting of Psalm 130?

A long-overdue celebration of neglected virtuosos, SOUNDS AND SWEET AIRS presents a complex and inspirational picture of artistic endeavour and achievement that deserves to be part of our cultural heritage.

The featured composers are Francesca Caccini, Barbara Strozzi, Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Marianna Martines, Fanny Hensel (née Mendelssohn), Clara Schumann, Lili Boulanger and Elizabeth Maconchy.

Publication Date: 
May 10, 2016