Becoming a Composer – A Woman’s Passion

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Hope. © Charles Thibo

A walk on a cold morning. Sunrays dissolving the fog. Nature covered with frost. Delicate, fragile ice crystals reflecting the light. Moments of magic. A morning walk to discover once more natural beauty. A morning walk to help collect my thoughts. A new year has begun less than a fortnight ago, a new year with new, or rather renewed resolutions. A morning walk to start all over again trying to lead a meaningful life.

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A woman’s challenge: Finding a unique voice

Light. © Charles Thibo

A welcoming sound. A welcoming house. Back home where I belong to. The cello’s warm voice invites me in while the strings evoke the tense moments of the past. Does this piece mirror Marie Jaëll’s state of mind while she wrote her Cello Concerto in F major? In 1882, the year she wrote this piece, her husband had died. Does the composer try to find consolation in music? She did. She often sat in the wooden shed her father had built for her when she was young, absorbed by her music, and anyone knocking on the door would have to expect the reply: “Marie is not here, she’s in the realm of music.” An exceptional woman living an exceptional life.

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Doing it her way – with a little help from her friends

Omen? © Charles Thibo

A dark premonition must have been haunting the composer went she sketched this Lento. Or was it the legacy of her teacher, the influence of the late German Romantic masters? Franz Liszt is not very far indeed, for Marie Jaëll stayed with him in Weimar for quite a number of years, and Richard Wagner, well, Richard Wagner was omnipresent at the time. In 1871 Jaëll wrote her Sonata for piano in C major, dedicated to Liszt.

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Piano music from paradise, written by a woman

Peaceful night, peaceful dreams. © Charles Thibo

Night has fallen. Does it get dark in paradise? I wonder. I haven’t come across a writer who has reflected the daily business of life in paradise. Does it ever get dark? Do people sleep occasionally? Do they have to get up early? Perhaps for one more tedious lyra lesson?

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