The songs composed by Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847) and Clara Schumann (1819-1896) are every bit as good as those composed by Felix Mendelssohn (Fanny’s brother) and Robert Schumann (Clara’s husband). Now, thanks to excellent releases available on Classical Archives, you can explore their works in depth.

Frühlingslieder, a recording by the excellent team of soprano Donna Brown and pianist Stephane Lemelin, includes three of Fanny’s songs alongside lieder by Brahms, Schubert and her brother Felix. You can explore still more of Fanny’s songs – some for solo voice and piano, others for vocal duos – on an album entitled Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel: Lied-Edition Vol.1, 1819-1837. The baritone Maartin Konigsberger and pianist Kelvin Grout are joined by other soloists.

Excellent recordings of songs by Clara are available on Classical Archives too. One worth exploring is Clara Schumann: Complete Songs, a CD with the fine soprano Dorothea Claxman and pianist Hedayet Djeddikar.

Why are the songs by these two wonderful composers not accorded the same respect as those composed by Felix and Robert? Let us face facts, one reason is that they were women. Another is that they both had challenges and setbacks in their lives. Fanny died young, at age 42. And Clara was raising no fewer than eight children while dealing with a husband whose mental illness, which finally resulted in his being committed to a mental asylum, was growing worse and worse.

Thanks to recordings on Classical Archives, you can hear the unique and accomplished voices of these two extraordinary women.