The names of Louise Heritte-Viardot (1841-1918) and Mel Bonis were unknown to me until I listened to a programme “Hidden Composers” on Radio 3. Its presenter gives more away on her blog.
Camille Saint-Saens thought women as composers was a non-starter, yet he was forced into admitting that these two had considerable talent. While much of Heritte-Viardot’s music is lost there is much more of Bonis still in existence.
The stories of their lives is of great interest and can be heard for the next few days on Radio 3 iplayer. (until 18/9/2010)