Anne Beer on Fanny Hensel and Harmful Language

Anne Beer, writing about Fanny Hensel on Shadow of the Courtesan:

And so began a miserable encounter with the language we continue to use when talking about female composers, language that patronises, dismisses, misrepresents, ignores, and always and ever ends up comparing a composer to her male counterparts. The composer becomes, implicitly, a (failed) contestant in a race that they were never invited to join in the first place.

Female composers have had incredibly short shrift through the centuries—at worst during times when young women were encouraged to be musical but not to pursue careers as composers. Beer is doing great work to highlight them.

Things are better now, but not better enough.