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Clara Schumann wrote her Konzertsatz in F minor as a birthday present to her husband Robert, though it exists only as a fragment. The material is hers, but it was completed and orchestrated (very effectively) by the Dutch pianist Jozef de Beenhower. It is a characteristically brooding and very expressive piece.

The D minor trio of Fanny Mendelssohn was written for one of her Sunday Musicales at her Berlin home, the principal forum for her music making. It bears comparison with Felix's trio in the same key, with intensity and passion expressed in a torrent of notes. Nothing effete about this music! A strong opening, beautiful slow movement, a simple Lied leading to a piano cadenza and a finale showing influences of both Bach and Gypsy music - all adding up to a fully rounded and satisfying piece.

Although less well-known to modern audiences than Fanny Mendelssohn, Louise Farrenc was perhaps better known in the public domain of mid-nineteenth century Paris. A professor at the Conservatoire, she fought for equal pay for equal work. She was a composer, teacher, performer and mother. This trio is a good example of her blend of Classical and Romantic styles, with unusual harmonic ideas. Her works were widely published in her lifetime, and not only because she married a publisher! There is a beautiful slow movement, a minuet (really a scherzo) full of humourous touches, and the finale is a romp. This recording also gives us a chance to hear the playing of the celebrated Catalan (male) clarinettist Joan Enric Lluna.

Marie Grandval was also a noted public figure in Paris - mainly for her operas - later in the Century. These miniatures are dedicated to Georges Gillet, the leading oboist of his day, and for whom she wrote other pieces. The Romance has a haunting mystery, and the Gavotte looks forward in its lightness of spirit to french wind composers of the twentieth century - Ibert, Francaix and Poulenc.
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