"Montgeroult encapsulates the musical journey from classical to romantic, her artistic compass firmly pointing forward." — Fiona Maddocks
Being a female composer, and getting your music performed, was fraught with difficulties until all too recently. To be an aristocrat too added a further complication. A few women broke free, such as Hélène-Antoinette-Marie de Nervo de Montgeroult (1764-1836), eight years younger than Mozart. The British pianist Clare Hammond, on Hélène de Montgeroult: Etudes (BIS), has recorded 29 of the composer’s studies, showing that this miniature form has artistic worth, as well as the pedagogic value the name implies.
A French virtuoso fortepianist, Montgeroult became a professor at the new Paris Conservatoire in 1795 and wrote her own piano method. In these études, she forged the way for Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, and Clara Schumann. Often songlike in the right hand, with turbulent, pulsating left hand accompaniments (as in No 107 in D minor), Montgeroult encapsulates the musical journey from classical to romantic, her artistic compass firmly pointing forward.