My Fund it campaign: Composer Cécile Chaminade / by Maire Carroll

                                       Céceile Chaminade (1857-1944)

                                       Céceile Chaminade (1857-1944)

Hi Everyone,

With just over two weeks to go on my Fund it campaign, I am going to begin sharing the pieces l will be recording on my album!

What is it? The first piece l am going to share with you that will feature on the album is: Cécile Chaminade’s ‘Automne’ from her Six Concert Études, Op.35. It is hugely important to me as a  musician that l include a female composer on my debut album. I had an incredible experience performing in March 2017 as part of Accenture Ireland's International Women's Day performance at the Convention Centre, Dublin.  l was honoured to be there performing and celebrating #IWD17. It was an unforgettable experience and a reminder how important it is to champion women and celebrate their success.  

Why did you pick Chaminade?  l decided to include Chaminade because l believe her music undoubtedly deserves a wider audience and also because l feel strongly that she is a female composer who deserves to be admitted to the pantheon of great French Romantic composers.

How did you find 'Automne'?  Over the past few months, I spent massive amounts of time pondering over which composers I should include on my album and why. I browsed through recordings of Teresa Carreño, Amy Beach, Augusta Holmes and Clara Schumann. In the middle of my search l came across a gem – a short piece by Chaminade that really moved me. I knew instantly  that l wanted to include this piece on my album. 

(But who is she??) In the early 1890s, while many French male composers enjoyed flourishing moments of their careers, thirty year old Cécile Chaminade had already become a musical celebrity in France as the best-selling female composer at the time. Chaminade's major role models included Berlioz, Gounod, Bizet, and Franck—all renowned composers of Romantic music whom influenced her greatly.  However her own unique musical voice emerged when she began writing smaller works for piano called character pieces. Her so-called “salon” pieces are the same kind of short works that Brahms and Chopin made popular. Chaminade's fame was widespread, especially among female fans in Europe and the United States. 

What does the piece sound like? The poetic mood of 'Automne' is in the Romantics' favored key of D flat. The main section features a hauntingly beautiful melody contrasted with cascades of thunderous notes evoking images of falling, windswept, leaves.

Where can l hear it? Watch out for a clip that will appear in the next few days on twitter @mairecarroll and my facebook page:


This is not a woman who composes, but a composer who is a woman
— Ambroise Thomas