David's Bookshop & David's Music
Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3DE
Books: 01462 684631 / Music: 01462 475900

Event Information

Afternoon Tea with Anna Beer, the Cultural Historian Will Talk About and Sign her New Book, Sounds and Sweet Airs, The Forgotten Women of Classical Music

Friday 22 April 2016
4:30 pm

The hidden history of the women who dared to write music in a man’s world

In Sounds and Sweet Airs, historian Anna Beer reveals the hidden stories of eight remarkable female composers: an inspiring, ambitious group of women who present a complex picture of artistic endeavour and achievement that deserves to be part of our cultural heritage. Why do we still not hear masterpieces such as Hensel’s piano work ‘The Year’, Caccini’s arias and Boulanger’s setting of Psalm 130? Why does Edexcel’s syllabus still feature no female composers? But this book is not simply for those interested in women or indeed classical music. Each chapter takes the reader to a different, and intriguing, time and place, from Medici Florence in the 1620s to GLC London in the 1970s, via Louis XIV’s Versailles in the 1680s. And it doesn’t just focus on women: we meet famous men such as Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, and Ralph Vaughan Williams as well as Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn. Sounds and Sweet Airs is history at its best, revealing fascinating moments, ranging across Europe and across the centuries, bringing to life the diverse communities that allowed these women to create their remarkable art.  The featured composers are Francesca Caccini, Barbara Strozzi, Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Marianna Martines, Fanny Hensel (née Mendelssohn), Clara Schumann, Lili Boulanger and Elizabeth Maconchy.

Anna Beer is a cultural historian, and the author of biographies of Milton and Lady Bess Raleigh. She is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford. She has been interviewed on BBC Radio 4 and has written for newspapers including the Guardian. She lives in Oxford.

Tickets are £2 and include afternoon tea. The Benslow Music Trust is located on Benslow Lane, Hitchin (SG4 9RB).

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Where is David's Bookshop?

David's Bookshops are located in Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City, only a few minutes’ walk from the railway station in the heart of the Town Centre. There is ample parking nearby.

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Contact Information

David's Bookshop

01462 684631

David's Music

01462 475900

School Orders

01462 475924



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Sunday 10.30am - 4pm
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