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celebrating three hundred years of music by women

Marie Grandval (1830-1907)

Marie Grandval was the pre-eminent French woman composer of the second half of the 19th century. She composed extensively, including nine operas and many choral and orchestral works, sometimes published under various pen names. Her friends were well-known composers and other musicians of the time, many of whom were dedicatees of her works, including her teacher Saint-Saens. A copy of her Messe in the Library of Congress, Washington is inscribed to Bizet. Fetis remarked on the incontestable vigour with which she tackled a range of genres, "giving proof in each that if she was not a genius, she was at least genuinely talented."

Click on these works for more details below: You can download and hear a minute from the first of the Deux Pieces by clicking here. Her Romance & Gavotte are on the Ambache Romantic Women Composers CD; this can be bought on the Ambache CD shop.

For a site listing more Grandval works for oboe or cor anglais visit oboe & cor anglais.

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Offertoire from the Messe. 1867.
Andantino maestoso. 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 cl, bs cl, 4 hns, 2 tpt,3 tbn, timps, hp, strings. 8 mins
The Messe has seven sections, and the Offertoire is placed between the Credo and the Sanctus. It is a gravely processional orchestral movement, built on two broad, expressive melodies; the first is announced by solo bass clarinet, and much later presented in canonic imitation by violins and horns, while the second, marked tres doux is heard on violins against shimmering harp arpeggios and leads to a beautiful enharmonic modulation characteristic of Grandval's rich chromatic style. While the heightened atmosphere is remeniscent of Fauré's Requiem, it's worth noting that she wrote her Messe 10 years before his Requiem.
We gave the UK première in 1997.

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Deux Pieces pour Hautbois, Violoncelle et Piano. 1884
1. Romance: Andantino, G major. 2. Gavotte: Allegro non troppo. 7 mins
The elegant Romance has an elegiac atmosphere, with a dramatic middle section. Grandval has a gorgeous sense of harmony, and the whole is tinged with a sensuous melancholy. The Gavotte trips along in lighter manner, with a more flowing central section.
I recorded this with my Ensemble, The Ambache, for the BBC Music Magazine (Vol IV No 9). For details see www.ambache.co.uk. A click here will take you to the appropriate page; return via your browser's Back Button.
The music is published by June Emerson Wind Music (No 371). You can email at sales@juneemerson.co.uk.

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Deuxieme Grand Trio pour Piano, Violon et Violoncelle. 1853
1. Allegro, E flat. 2. Vivace, G major. 3. Tempo di Minuetto, G minor. 4. Allegro animato, E flat. 21 mins
Grandval studied the piano with Chopin, and was a marvellous pianist, as indicated by the sizeable piano piano in this Trio. There is also great textural variety, with the strings taking lyrical moments. The Scherzo second movement is playful, while the third is more melodic. The finale is light and humerous, with a jaunty second theme. There is a brilliant coda, which drives excitedly towards the end.
Published by Hildegard Publishing Company (Nr 494-02619) USA

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Prelude et Valse Lent pour Cor Anglais or Clarinette et Piano. 1885
1. Prelude: Andante espressivo, A flat. 2 Vales Lent: Allegro quasi Andantino, E flat. 8 mins
More haunting harmonies, and romantic dancing.

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