Happy birthday to Josephine Lang

German composer Josephine Lang was born March 15, 1815.

Lang, a prodigiously talented pianist and dedicated composer, participated at various times in the German Romantic world of lieder through her important arts salon.

In her book Five Lives in Music: Women Performers, Composers, and Impresarios from the Baroque to the Present Cecelia Hopkins Porter writes:

Even from the tender age of fifteen, Lang was composing songs that surpassed conventional lieder and piano compositions of the day.  The harmonic fluidity and essentially diatonic basis of her music was edged at times with sudden, turbulent dissonance and audacious chromatic elements in both the voice and piano parts, these often erupting in brazen modulations to a key far from the central, established key of the composition. Many of Lang’s finest and most original examples are marked by equally wrenching melodic and harmonic passages. Also, the vocal line in her songs often makes dramatic shifts of register (pitch level) over broad intervals while the piano, in true romantic fashion, frequently is assigned an independent prelude, interlude, or postlude, or all three.  These reinforce the imagery and emotions of the song—that is the piano is not mere accompaniment.

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