TOMORROW morning, in the latest of the season of Coffee Concerts named in memory of Glasgow music teacher Hilary Rosin, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland hosts a recital by soprano Ruby Hughes with pianist Joseph Middleton that will in part repeat the music she sang at London’s Wigmore Hall, a concert broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Tuesday evening.

Sunday’s recital includes the new commission by Aberdeen-raised Helen Grime, who is the Wigmore’s composer-in-residence, entitled Bright Travellers and setting poems from the acclaimed first collection of that name by Fiona Benson, as well as Gustav Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder. They will be joined by songs written by Mahler’s wife Alma, which predate his settings of the five poems by Friedrich Ruckert but were published only after she had left him for architect Walter Gropius.

Their addition to the soprano’s programme helps the concert sit within a series being recorded by Radio 3 for later broadcast, collectively bracketed under the title “Women in the Shadows”. The series began on Friday February 16 with a superb lunchtime recital by pianist Joanna MacGregor, entirely of music by women composers and also featuring a world premiere in Stevie Wishart’s Proem, Prelude and Fugue, alongside music by Sofia Gubaidulina, Errollyn Wallen and MacGregor’s own arrangements of spirituals.

That title though, eh? It comes from a Radio 3 lunchtime concert series made at the same venue in 2013, which “celebrated the work of some of the great female composers alongside works by their male contemporaries” – a theme that has been continued in the new series, although MacGregor saw no necessity to play any bloke tunes at all. Both she and Acting Director of Music at the RCS, Helen McVey, who introduced the concert, swiftly – although light-heartedly – distanced themselves from the “Women in the Shadows” label, McVey pointing out it could hardly be applied to MacGregor and MacGregor later adding that it hardly fitted the women whose music she was playing. Wishart simply stepped to the centre of the stage to introduce her piece by way of a practical demonstration.

The title is there in the RCS season brochure, however, for all to read. And it is not just five years ago that it would not seem that terrible an idea. Even five months ago, before the Harvey Weinstein allegations surfaced in the New York Times and New Yorker magazine, it probably seemed perfectly OK. You have to assume that it will quietly be consigned to the dustbin of history before the recital series makes it on the airwaves.

This can only be good news for Alma Mahler, who was hardly a woman for the shadows in any sense. She has however been cast in a fairly unfavourable light by musical history because of her busy love life, while Claude Debussy, the centenary of whose death is being marked enthusiastically this year, is regularly excused an existence of serial betrayal that was so scandalous as the 19th century turned into the 20th that even many of the Bohemian French set he ran with disowned him. Losing the friendship of the poet wild man Pierre Louys, whose cod-classical erotic verse was still outre enough to inspire soft-porn cinema in the 1970s, suggests behaviour that louche fin-de-siecle society thought was well beyond the pale. Yet the composer’s latest biographer, Stephen Walsh, can write: “Debussy was slowly beginning to weary of his sexy but intellectually limited model wife” to take up with an older married woman with a proven taste for French composers “who had no qualms about making herself available.”

Perhaps Walsh would not have couched it thus, were his book going to press post-Weinstein. In a time of shifting perspectives in which Andrea Dunbar’s play Rita, Sue and Bob Too found controversial new relevance, and the man who fostered that late writer’s career, Max Stafford-Clark, has been ostracised for lechery, theatre critic Ian Herbert has written a thought-provoking column in the Prompt Corner editorial slot of the new issue of Theatre Record magazine (you can read it at which calls for perspective and realism. I’m not sure I am brave enough to take the long view he delineates in print at the present time, but I’m glad he is.