Valentina Crespi (born?-died?)

In case anyone should have an idea that all published composers can be found in some dictionary or web site somewhere, here's a profile on the obscure Valentina Crespi.

In my collection Ms. Crespi is represented by three pieces published by S.M. Berg in 1917 and 1918 -- Thoughts (No. 35), Memories (No. 50), and Serenata (No. 105).

The numbers in those titles are the "series" number in Berg's Incidental Series, a collection of photoplay music.

All three pieces reveal an iconoclastic composer who rejects traditional harmonic development, enjoys unusual chords and voice leadings, but still has a capacity for writing a memorable melody. The accompaniment figures suggest someone used to composing on the piano.

A search through old copies of Who's Who in Music shed no light on who Crespi was. It is likely that she was too obscure to appear in such tomes. Inquiries to Belwin (the successor to S.M. Berg and named for its founders -- Berg, Levy, and Winkler) went unacknowledged.

The development of newspaper internet searches has cracked the mystery. She was clearly a very talented violinist, and her concert appearances were mentioned in local newspapers when she gave concerts. Her concert repertoire indicates that she was an excellent player, and sometimes mention that she originally came from Milan, Italy.

I've found no reference to her composing career, other than the rather solid evidence of three compositions. Mont Alto has recorded two of them, and these can be played here.

Serenata (No. 105):

Thoughts (No. 35):