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Five Lives in Music

Women Performers, Composers, and Impresarios from the Baroque to the Present

Cecelia Hopkins Porter

Publication Year: 2012

Representing a historical cross-section of performance and training in Western music since the seventeenth century, Five Lives in Music brings to light the private and performance lives of five remarkable women musicians and composers: Duchess Sophie-Elisabeth of Braunschweig-Lueneburg, Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Josephine Lang, Maria Bach, and Ann Schein. Elegantly guiding readers through the Thirty Years War in central Europe, elite courts in Germany, urban salons in Paris, Nazi control of Germany and Austria, and American musical life today, as well as personal experiences of marriage, motherhood, and widowhood, Cecelia Hopkins Porter provides valuable insight about the culture in which each woman was active. Throughout the lively and focused portraits of these five women, Porter finds common threads, both personal and contextual, that extend to a larger discussion of the lives and careers of female composers and performers throughout centuries of music history.

Published by: University of Illinois Press


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. 4-4


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pp. 5-7


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pp. 8-9

List of Figures

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

I began writing for the Washington Post as a music critic in 1963, a few days before John F. Kennedy’s...

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pp. xiii-xvi

The inspiration to embark on this book and to sustain my determination while doing the research and writing has depended to a great extent on the encouragement and support of many...

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pp. 1-9

In 1792, British author Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Women, arguing women’s right to vote. The book was a small but important part of the numerous waves of feminism that have continued to focus attention on improving the role...

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1. Duchess Sophie-Elizabeth: Composer, Harpsichordist, and Impresario in the North German Baroque

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pp. 10-38

Born a princess at the court of Güstrow, an active north German cultural center, Duchess Sophie-Elisabeth of Braunschweig-Lüneburg (August 20, 1613–July 12, 1676) made a distinctive mark on...

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2. Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de La Guerre: Versailles and Paris in the Twilight of the Ancien Régime

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pp. 39-77

If you know something of the palace of Versailles, the city of Paris, and the landscapes of Jean-Antoine Watteau, you have glimpsed the world of the French composer, harpsichordist, and organist Elisabeth...

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3. Josephine Lang: The Music of Romanticism in South German Cultural Life

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pp. 78-104

The birth of Josephine Caroline Lang in Munich on March 14, 1815, crowned a remarkable musical dynasty with perhaps its most illustrious member. Aside from the situations of Lang’s contemporaries...

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4. Maria Bach: Vienna from Imperial Splendor to the Second Republic

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pp. 105-147

On February 19, 1930, after a performance of music by the Viennese composer Maria Bach (1896–1978), an unidentified critic for the Neue Freie Presse slung demeaning arrows: “...

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Ann Schein: An American Concert Pianist in Today's World

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pp. 148-196

This author has been hearing Ann Schein play since we were both about junior high school age. In fact, a prodigy first recognized when she climbed up on the piano bench at the age of three...


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pp. 197-228


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pp. 229-238


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pp. 239-244

E-ISBN-13: 9780252094132
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252037016

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 826684855
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Five Lives in Music

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Subject Headings

  • Women musicians -- Biography.
  • Women composers -- Biography.
  • Sophie Elisabeth, Duchess, consort of August, Duke of Braunschweig-Lüneburg, 1613-1676.
  • Jacquet de La Guerre, Elisabeth-Claude, 1665-1729.
  • Lang, Josephine, 1815-1880.
  • Bach, Maria, 1896-1978.
  • Schein, Ann.
  • Musicians -- Biography.
  • Composers -- Biography.
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