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two hundred and fifty years
of music by women
Luise Le Beau (1850-1927)

Photo of Luise Le Beau age 30 (1880) Thoroughly successful in her day, Luise Adolpha Le Beau was a German composer, pianist and critic. She started composing at 15 and made her piano debut at 18. She performed her own compositions for Hans von Bulow, gaining his lifelong encouragement, and was briefly a pupil of Clara Schumann. She had a highly fruitful period after moving to Munich in 1874, winning composition prizes and many favourable reviews of her works. She met Brahms, Liszt and Hanslick during extensive concert tours. She met with both warm appreciation and deep prejudice about being a woman composer. When her Op 24 Cello Pieces won an international competition in Hamburg in 1882, the 'Herr' printed on the certificates had to be crossed out and replaced with 'Fraulein'! Le Beau's style is characterised by strong, well-shaped themes and strict sonata structures. She wrote in many genres including opera, choral and other vocal works, orchestral and chamber pieces.

Click on these works for more details below:
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Quartet fur Klavier, Violine, Viola und Violoncell, F minor, Op 28, c 1884
1. Adagio - Con fuoco, F minor. 2. Adagio, A flat major. 3. Tempo di Mazurka, C sharp minor. 4. Allegro, F minor. 24 mins
When this work was performed at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in 1884, to overwhelming acclaim, the promoter said he could not remember as great a success as hers at the Gewandhaus. Her reputation spread abroad and the Quartet was even performed in Sydney, Australia. This is a big piece, requiring substantial energy all round. A chorale-like slow introduction leads to the first declamatory string theme. This is beautifully contrasted with a dolce melody first presented by the cello. There is frequent canonical development, and the piano gives energy with arpegiated harmonies. Derived from the slow introduction, the Adagio has a gorgeous romantic middle section, again with arpeggiated piano writing. The characterful Mazurka dance has a lyrical Intermezzo for its middle section. Also in dance mode (a gigue), the finale is spirited and energetic.
We, the Ambache, gave the UK premier in 1997, to lively appreciation.

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Sonata fur Clavier und Violine, C minor, Op 10 c1875
1. Allegro, C minor. 2 Andante cantabile, F minor. 3.Allegro con fuoco, C minor. 20 mins
A big Brahmsian piece, with gorgeous string tunes and grand rolling piano writing.

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Drei Stucke fur Viola mit Clavier, Op 26, 1881
1. Nachstuck: Ruhig. G minor. 2. Traumerie: Langsam. C major. 3. Polonaise: Schnell. C minor.
Three atmospheric pieces, well written for the instruments. The Nachstuck has a Schumanesque accompaniment to a broad viola line, in barcarolle style. The lively Polonaise has some virtuoso viola arpeggios and cadenza, with a rousing end.
Published by Hildegard, POBox 332, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010, USA.

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