Happy St Cecilia’s Day – Preludes by Clara Schumann, Cecile Chaminade and Lili Boulanger

It is November 22nd – birthday of W F Bach, Benda, Britten and Kapustin among others, and it is St Cecilia’s day, patron saint of music.  I’ve written elsewhere about Raphael’s painting of St Cecilia; this post is to celebrate some preludes by women composers.

Firstly, by  Clara Schumann, who wrote a set of three Preludes and Fugues Op 16 (above), a Prelude in F Minor, and who also wrote  Praeludien which appear online in her own hand – and her own fingering.  She also improvised preludes for some of her husband Robert’s Fantasiestücke Op 12; below is the prelude to Des Abends, performed on an historical  instrument. For interesting reading, I recommend this excerpt from Anatole Leikin’s book, The Mystery of Chopin’s Preludes, for the background to Clara’s preludes.


Next a prelude by Cécile Chaminade – note the forename –


– and finally a very interesting little piece by Lili Boulanger – a real gem. Worth a listen!

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