Cécile Chaminade – Saisons d‘amour

Katharina Kammerloher | Johann Blanchard | Jiyoon Lee

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

“A man must have imagination, a woman should stick to the rules. If she doesn’t, she’s not a lady, and if she does, it’s proof she has no imagination.“ This is how Robert Schumann described the dilemma female composers of his time were facing. After all, his wife, Clara Schumann, was a celebrated concert pianist and also composer. Cécile Chaminade likewise had to fight many obstacles in her way. At the same time, her music is a revelation, as the new recording by singer Katharina Kammerloher with lieder (songs) by Chaminade demonstrates.


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The so-called three K’s in a woman’s life remained into and throughout the 19th century: Kinder, Küche, Kirche (children, kitchen, church). There was no talk of art. This would only change over the following decades, not the least thanks to such persistant standard bearers as Cécile Louise Stéphanie Chaminade. She was one of those priviliged trailblaz-ers who folled her calling and in so doing partook in the shaping of music history, if covertly. But this shadowy existince has increasingly come to an end. The works of Chaminade and other female com-posers have been receiving increasing interest, and recordings like this one by singer Katharina Kammerloher impressively show us why.

Born in 1857 in Paris, Chaminade received her education privately from renoun teachers of the Paris Conservatory – her father was opposed to an official course of study. In 1877, Chaminade had her first public performance as pianist in the Salle de Pleyel. She became actively involved in the musical life of France’s capital, went on concert tours, and com-posed several hundred works, most of them pieces for piano and lieder (songs). She enjoyed great success until her music was no longer en vogue and fell into obscurity. The works on the present recording were first published between 1886 and 1910. They show the multifaceted stylistic breadth of Chami-nade’s songs.

In compiling these songs, a sort of cyclical form crystallized. “Saisons d’amour“ – seasons of love – poetically reflects the various phases of love and life for men and women. “What fascinates me about Chaminade’s art is her immense stylistic range. From intense simplicity to humorous-folkloristic esprit, from Schumann-like emphases to impressionistic, silvery sound magic, from the charm of a salon to bravour à la Strauß, she kept delighting us with her very specific personal style,“ says Katharina Kammerloher.

“What’s especially enjoyable in Katharina Kammerloher’s (Costanza) performance is how she realizes beautiful piani in medium heights with a well-controlled mezzo. In addition, she finds access to the dramatic elements of her part thanks to her sufficient reserves.“


Mezzo soprano Katharina Kammerloher was born in Munich. After completing her oboe studies in Detmold, she studied voice under Mechthild Böhme in the same city. She also worked with Vera Rosza in London, Brigitte Eisenfeld in Berlin, and Mark Schnaible in New York. She received awards at several vocal competitions. In 1993, she was called to perform at Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin by Daniel Barenboim. Katharina Kammerloher has performed at international festivals, among them the Salzburger Festspiele, Munich Opernfestspiele, BBC Proms, and the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival. She commands a wide-ranging song and concert repertoire and has sung with leading orchestras in London, Edinburgh, Chicago, Taipeh, Tokyo, Buda-pest, Leipzig, Berlin, Paris, Turin, and Madrid. She has worked with composers like Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Gustavo Dudamel, Iván Fischer, Wolfgang Sawallisch, René Jacobs, Phillipe Jordan, Kent Nagano, Zubin Mehta and directors like Doris Dörrie, Jürgen Flimm, Achim Freyer, Dieter Dorn and Harry Kupfer.

Johann Blanchard received his first piano instruction at age six. In 2006, he began his studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Rostock under Matthias Kirschnereit and Karl Heinz Will and completed his studies cum laude. Simultaneously, he studied at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, under Stefan Arnold. He received a stipend by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes as well as many prices and awards globally. He has performed at festivals in Europe and the USA. In addition to his career as a soloist, Blanchard has a passion for chamber music, and has been a member of the renoun Trio Parnassus since 2016. Further-more, he teaches at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Rostock. For his recording of piano works by Cecile Chaminade he received the prize given out by Deutsche Schallplattenkritik, and in 2021, the Opus Klassik with Trio Parnassus for their chamber music recording of works by Johann Christian Rinck.

Jiyoon Lee is currently first concert master at the Staatskapelle Berlin. She plays on the Stradivari “Circle“ from 1701, a generous loan from a European patron of the arts. After she won the Carl Nielsen competition for violin in 2016, she has performed not just in her home city of Seoul, but worldwide as soloist with different orchestras, all within a short amount of time. As an enthusiastic chamber musician, she regularly performs at the most impor-tant music festivals across the globe. In addition, she is a member of the Boulez Ensemble and works with conductors like Zubin Mehta, Sir Antonio Pappano, Francois-Xavier Roth, Jörg Widmann and Daniel Barenboim.