OPUS 1 FEMININ
First works by international women composers
Opus 1: Listen to me, here I am! As a Firstling, I want to go public, I want to be printed, played, understood and appreciated. What came before me no longer counts. I lead a life of my own and stand at the beginning of my further development.
After its first performance, Opus 1 attracts more than academic interest. Most of the time, it already has considerable artistic value, like the works by eight female composers from six countries that are brought together here.
While there is evidence of early works by almost all composers before their op. 1 - Béla Bartók, for example, had written more than 70 juvenile works before his Rhapsody op. 1 - and these are often researched with scholarly meticulousness, this does not generally apply to women composers.
However, it can be proven that Clara Schumann-Wieck, probably the most famous female composer today, had already written three variation works before her Quatre Polonaises op. 1.
It is almost impossible to determine which of the less prestigious composers on this CD preceded their op. 1 as actual first works. What is certain, however, is that they are all represented by pieces which, because of their melodic invention and pianistic refinement, deserve to be rescued from oblivion and given a new lease of life.
With early works of a particularly strong character, Alicia Terzian and Vítězslava Kaprálová form a framework anchored in the 20th century for the women musicians from the High and Late Romantic periods who take centre stage: Clara Schumann, Luise Adolpha Le Beau, Mathilde Berendsen-Nathan, Maria Parczewska-Mackiewicz, Cécile Chaminade and Hilda Kocher-Klein. [..]
Read more in the booklet
The young Swiss pianist Kathrin Schmidlin, born in 1990, studied with Karl-Andreas Kolly at the Zurich University of the Arts, Wolfgang Manz at the Nuremberg University of Music and Tobias Schabenberger at the Basel Academy of Music.
She has won several prizes at national and international competitions and is a scholarship holder at the Bachwoche Ansbach. She received important inspiration from Henri Sigfridsson, Aleksandar Madžar, Brigitte Meyer, Konstantin Lifschitz and Hartmut Höll, among others.
Her performances have taken her to Paris, Bayreuth at the Steingräber & Söhne piano factory, Gladbeck at the Forum of German Music Academies, the Basel Theatre, Sils Maria and the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad.
Kathrin Schmidlin has specialised in the performance of little-known female composers. In 2017, for example, she performed Fanny Hensel’s complete piano cycle Das Jahr at the Museum am Dom in Trier. For the 200th anniversary of Clara Schumann’s birth in 2019, she performed her Piano Concerto in A minor several times as a soloist, and in spring 2021 her debut CD Frauenstimmen was released, which she recorded together with cellist Anna Fortova to mark the 50th anniversary of Swiss women’s suffrage. Her CD with works by female composers has been repeatedly acclaimed by the international specialist press.
Since 2018, Kathrin Schmidlin has been teaching a piano class at the Musikschule Konservatorium Zürich.
Album (online links)