It has been said that women composers did not make any significant impact to Classical Music.
We could argue that they did, and then spend our time finding, recovering and performing their works. But I’d argue that instead of merely performing their repertoire, that we re-evaluate the embedded values of the Classical Music system.
One of the reasons why women have not been lauded as composers is their overall lack of contribution to the genre of Symphonies. This is a lengthy subject, but could be boiled down to one idea: symphonies have been historically overvalued because they are some of the most complicated writing (the more complicated the writing, the more genius the composer). Because of this value and the fact there are only few historic symphonies by women, women have been celebrated for their composition.
But what value does a symphony actually add?
Fanny Hensel composed 0 symphonies, yet held weekly concerts at her home promoting chamber music of all types. And within these home concerts, you can imagine Hensel connecting people and ideas and music. This is genius.
What is the purpose of music? Do we want people to hear a piece and think, “wow, they are so smart and talented.” or do we want them to think, “I feel seen within this.”
Is music about connection? Or perfection?
Feeling smart? or feeling seen?
Feeling genius? Or feeling human?