Throughout history, the world of classical composition has been male dominated. Some female composers even went so far as to publish their works using the name of their husband or brother out of necessity. History clouds some of these instances, while others are well documented through letters and journal entries.

Bach married Anna Magdalena in December 1721. Anna was a gifted soprano who continued to sing professionally after they were married. Those who believe that Anna Magdalena’s compositions were published under Bach’s name, point to evidence derived from handwriting analysis experts who claim that three of his works were written in her hand “in a heavy manner” vs the light hand she used while transcribing. Music historians of the same mindset point to differences in style present in these three works. Skeptics do not believe that this can unarguably prove that J.S. Bach was not the original composer. Anna Magdalena Bach was born in 1701 and died in 1760 and I don’t believe we can ever really know the truth with regard to the extent of her work and influence. For more information about the documentary “Written by Mrs. Bach” click here: https://m.imdb.com/title/tt4520452/plotsummary?ref_=m_tt_ov_pl

Fanny Mendelssohn married a man who supported her work and therefore was eventually able to publish under her own name. Her early works, however, were published under her brother’s name, Felix, because of her father’s view that it was unseemly for a woman to compose. Though this is commonly attributed to Felix, it is widely believed that Fanny developed the style of “song without words”, piano works composed with the structure of a lyrical song. Fanny Mendelssohn was born in 1805 and died in 1847. To listen to her piece Lied: Larghetto from op. 8 no. 3 visit: https://youtu.be/nhcyUL7QSb4

Gustav Mahler forbid his wife, Alma Schindler from continuing to compose music in the beginning of their marriage. Her pieces were published after a combination of personal problems and the death of their daughter caused Mahler to lift his ban. He assisted her in publishing 5 of her songs, released in a set, in 1910. She went on to publish two more sets of songs for voice and accompaniment after Mahler’s death, often described as chromatic, dramatic, and volatile. You can listen to Alma Schindler’s complete works here: https://youtu.be/b0uh-MPPiDg

Here is a link to Theme of Romance Variee op. 3, by Clara Schumann, one of the most passionate composers of all time, with some of her beautiful quotes sprinkled in this video. Enjoy! https://youtu.be/yfN0VuirrcE