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FARRENC, Louise (1804-1875)

Descended on her mother’s side from an 18th-century dynasty of painters (the Coypel family), Louise Dumont was also the daughter and sister of renowned sculptors (Jacques-Edme and Augustin Dumont). She began her musical studies at the age of six (piano and solfege) and swiftly benefited from tuition from Moscheles, Hummel (whose simplicity of style and delicate playing she copied) and Reicha in harmony. In 1821, she married the flautist Aristide Farrenc, who gave up working as a musician to devote himself to publishing—using his new profession to circulate works by his wife. Louise Farrenc’s fame was based initially on her talents as a performer, which she devoted mainly to the works of Beethoven in the 1820s. During the next decade, she consolidated her status as a composer: symphonic music, at first, with two overtures and three symphonies; followed by chamber music, a field in which she emerged as a trailblazer in the history of French music, in particular with her two piano quintets, op. 30 and 31; and finally piano music (including the Air russe varié, op. 17, praised by Schumann), which she herself promoted in concert. On two occasions (1861 and 1869), her works received the Prix Chartier from the Institut’s Académie des Beaux-Arts. Appointed professor of piano at the Paris Conservatoire in 1842 (a post she held until 1873), Louise Farrenc also played a fundamental role in defining teaching methods for that instrument in the mid-19th century.

    Image - 1
  • Louise Farrenc
  • Works - 5
  • Mélodie pour le piano-forte (Louise Farrenc)
  • Piano Quintet No. 2 in E major op. 31 (Louise Farrenc)
  • Sonata for violin and piano no. 1 in C minor op. 37 (Louise Farrenc)
  • Sonata for violin and piano no. 2 in A major op. 39 (Louise Farrenc)
  • Trio pour piano, flûte (ou violon) et violoncelle op. 45 (Louise Farrenc)
  • Theme - 1
  • Compositrices
  • Symposia - 1
  • Les compositrices au siècle de Pauline Viardot (2013)
  • Press article -  1
  • Revue et Gazette musicale de Paris, 26 septembre 1847 [compositrices]