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Nanette von Schaden (1763-1834)

Known as singer, composer and artist as well as a formidable pianist, Nanette von Schaden has left her traces in history but little music. Two concertos are all that are known about. She was born in Ebelsberg and brought up in a Viennese household that welcomed many leading musicians. Her husband Joseph, a critic, gave financial support to Beethoven. They moved to the court of von Oettingen-Wallerstein, a strong musical centre since the 17th century, where the dominant musician was Antonio Rosetti. Von Schaden's musical character is cultivated, vigourous and sensitive.

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Piano Concerto in B flat (c1800)
1. Allegro brillante, B flat major. 2. Adagio, G minor. 3. Andante con variazioni, B flat major. 18 mins
2 ob, 2 hn, strings, solo piano
Each movement has its own stamp, often embodied in assertive virtuosity: florid streams of semiquavers, emphatic chords punctuating a lyrical line, finger-testing figurations. Each too suggests she knew her Mozart formally and expressively. But while the presence of an Adagio of considerable pathos in G minor suggets parallels, here she is at her most personal. Rosetti scored the Concerto, and he keeps the orchestra respectfully in the background once a solo has begun. I gave the UK première with the Orchestra Ambache Chamber in 1996; it was warmly received.

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