“Women Shouldn’t Want To Compose”*

Remember the gig I was offered, in which I could plan to do anything I wanted? Well, since it falls on International Women’s Day, my guitarist and I have pieced together a good hour of music by women, spanning nearly 1000 years (because mixing up the genres is just how we roll.)

We’re starting off the hour with the plainchant “O Virtus Sapientiae” by Hildegard von Bingen, jumping several centuries to Francesca Caccini, lieder by Romantic composers Fanny Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann (we picked songs that work with the piano part transcribed for guitar), a “contemporary” pastiche of solo classical guitar works mixed with fragments from a Judith Weir one-woman opera, and then a sort of “Frauenlieben und -leben” grouping of songs from the  folk-rock world — songs by Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, the Roches, Annie Lennox, the Indigo Girls; the songs fit together nicely, I think, and tell a universal story.

This might not be everybody’s idea of a fine musical evening but we have gotten fairly good at it, and always say a few words about what’s coming next, so the audience goes away knowing a little more about the music than when they came in.

*Quote taken from a letter written by Clara Schumann, who evidently had some qualms about it, before she got on with it and wrote some fine music.

(Image of Sleater Kinney found here. In my next life, I’m learning bass guitar.)

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