Women Composers: A Lost Tradition Found // Review

Article excerpt

Six years after its initial appearance, and five years after the author's death, this unique text reappears in a second edition prepared by Elizabeth Wood. In her forward, Wood outlines the changes made, which include corrections of typographical and factual errors, updating of publication, recording and biographical information, and the addition of an appendix that lists publishers specializing in women's music. Otherwise, the initial book remains unchanged, and for those unfamiliar with Jezic's work, the content is worth reviewing.

The main thrust of this book is to acquaint the reader with the "lost tradition" of women composers of western art music. It features the lives and works of 25 composers, all of whom, without exception, are of European and American origin. Their stories are presented chronologically, and the 900 years spanned by the book are divided into six distinct periods, beginning with the medieval period of the eleventh century and culminating with the twentieth century. This ordering validates the text as a source book for the study of music by allowing for logical integration of these women into the traditional corps of music history knowledge.

Each chapter focusses on the life and work of one woman composer, beginning with Hildegard of Bingen (Germany), born 1098, and ending with Judith Lang Zaimont (Memphis, Tennessee), born 1945. Besides a biographical summary of each composer, a critical analysis of selected works is provided, as well as a listing of compositions, a bibliography, and a discography.

One of the highlights of the book is the inclusion of six appendices of supplementary information, the first of which ranks music appreciation texts in order of women composers mentioned. …