Ether Game

Cécile Chaminade: Valse Carnavalesque

Here's a hint: A French woman captures the spirit of the early 20th century.

The memory of the French composer Cécile Chaminade hasn’t fared as well as those of the other composers whose works we’ve listened to this evening. Chaminade was, as we’ve seen before on tonight’s game, a composer who exhibited extraordinary musical gifts at a very young age. She gave her first public concert as a pianist at the age of 18 and gradually gained a dual reputation as a composer and performer. Her character pieces for the piano, like the Valse Carnavalesque, and her songs were very popular for a time both in her native France as well as in the United States. The French composer Ambroise Thomas once said of Chaminade that she “wasn’t a woman who composes, but rather a composer who is a woman.” She was also the first woman composer to receive France’s highest civilian award, The Legion of Honor. Sadly, her international fame slowly diminished over the latter half of the 20th century, though there is still an interest in studying and performing her music.

Music Heard On This Episode

Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944): Valse carnavalesque
Bengt Forsberg and Peter Jablonski, pianos — Mots D'Amour: Songs By Cecile Chaminade (Deutsche Grammophon, 2002)
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album cover
Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944): Valse carnavalesque
Bengt Forsberg and Peter Jablonski, pianos — Mots D'Amour: Songs By Cecile Chaminade (Deutsche Grammophon, 2002)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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