Sauvez-moi de l’amour (Save me from love) examines what it means to love and be loved in return. With vocal chamber music repertoire ranging from the Medieval era until the present day, we explore love in its many forms: romantic, platonic, sacred, etc. Within this diverse spectrum of time, place, composer, poet, and musical genre, an overarching theme emerges: the conflict between our idealizations of love versus the reality of loving; how our imaginings of love seemingly align and conflict with our lived experiences of loving another human being. Vocal chamber music, with the intertwining of human voices, seems a most worthy platform to explore this topic.
Sauvez-moi de l’amour serves as the final recital of my DMA degree, and I was excited to collaborate with Julie Bosworth (voice), Hui-Chuan Chen (piano), Alix Evans (medieval harp), Bonnie Lander (voice), and Claire Galloway Weber (voice). Together, we interpreted a medieval canso by trobairitz Comtessa Beatriz de Dia (c.1140-c.1212), excerpts from Love Fail by David Lang (b.1957), vocal duets and trios by German composer Luise Adolpha Le Beau (1850-1927), mélodies by French composer Mel Bonis (1858-1937), and madrigals by composers Maddalena Casulana (c.1544-1641) and Caroline Shaw (b.1982).
Scottish-American soprano Claire Galloway’s theatricality covers the gamut of “palpable pain” and “splendid, funny moments” (B.I.T.R.). This season she is a featured artist with Baltimore Musicales, is the soprano soloist in Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, and premieres the roles of Mathilde Schechter and Miriam in Arnold Saltzman’s Geniza: Hidden Fragments with the Chesapeake Symphony Orchestra.
Having performed Fiordiligi, Blanche de la Force, Vitellia, Dinah, Contessa, and Donna Elvira, she has also premiered roles in Friends House by Steven Crino, Dove’s Mansfield Park and Frances Pollock’s Stinney.
In 2022, Ms. Galloway won Second Prize in the International Clara Schumann Competition and in 2021 she was a semifinalist in the Jensen Vocal Competition. She has performed with Lidal North in Oslo, Opera NexGen, Saltworks Opera, Opera Baltimore, Savannah Opera, Bel Cantanti Opera, and Stillpointe Theatre.
A recent Fellow at Songfest, the Nordic Song Festival in Sweden, and the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Ms. Galloway’s innovative recital programing has resulted in the best-attended concert event at the Baltimore War Memorial Arts Initiative.
Whether singing the soaring chants of Hildegard of Bingen or crafting arrangements of ancient music for historical harps, Alix Evans is dedicated to breathing life back into ancient music. She finds the sounds of medieval lays, epics, and polyphonic works to be not just aesthetically beautiful, but positively gripping, at once both familiar and captivatingly different. Alix’s passion is inspiring people through performance of this unique repertoire and drawing them into the world of early music through teaching and performance opportunities.
Alix has performed with choirs and ensembles across North America. With the early music ensemble at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she explored approaches to harp accompaniment of troubadour song. She has performed with choirs specializing in music of the Renaissance in Baltimore, MD, Ottawa, ON and with Illuminare and Brigid’s Circle in Washington DC. During the pandemic, Alix founded “Falsa Musica,” a venue through which avocational singers could gather online while choirs were dark to sing medieval monophonic music – one of the few repertoires that lends itself to group singing over Zoom.
Alix is the music director of Second Wind Chorus in Washington DC and runs a thriving private studio. She holds an MM in historical performance and vocal pedagogy from the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins.
Sauvez-moi de l’amour is in partial fulfillment of the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.
In The Shining Place, I explored music and poetry by twentieth- and twenty-first-century women artists, including composers Eve Beglarian (b. 1958), Missy Mazzoli (b. 1980), Judith Weir (b. 1954), Lori Laitman (b. 1955), Margaret Bonds (1913-1972), and poets Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), Mary Oliver (1935-2019), and Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) in collaboration with pianist Michael Sheppard and audio/video engineer Andrew Bohman. As I navigated the continual isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was most drawn to music and texts that spoke of a desire to expand the self, either through mining the interiority of one’s life or seeking new adventures in the larger world.
Regarded as a towering figure in English literature, Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), who wrote over 1,800 poems, spent most of her life at her family’s property in Amherst, Massachusetts. Although Dickinson’s circle of family and friends were aware of her writing, the true extent of her poetry was not discovered until after her death. I kept returning to Dickinson’s imagining of a “shining place,” in which she imagines her entrance into paradise. In awe of such otherworldly surroundings, the poet describes her joy as the saints speak her name for the first time.
Me — come! My dazzled face In such a shining place! Me — hear! My foreign Ear The sounds of Welcome — there!
The Saints forget Our bashful feet —
My Holiday, shall be That They — remember me — My Paradise — the fame That They — pronounce my name — (431)
While Dickinson’s poem engages with religious themes, I also interpreted her “shining place” as a paradise within oneself. By February 2022, like all of us, I continued to grapple with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including filming this recital in an empty hall with no audience permitted. As I prepared to perform for no one, I took inspiration from Dickinson’s ability to plumb the depths of her own imagination from the desk in her bedroom, nourishing her creativity in solitude.
In searching for an image to encapsulate my version of Dickinson’s “shining place,” I kept returning to the vivid paintings of Washington DC-based artist Alma Thomas (1891-1978), which I had seen in pre-pandemic trips to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thomas, who was the first Black woman artist to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1972, experimented with color theory and abstraction throughout her long career as an artist and educator. Thomas’ aesthetic became synonymous with her colorful, mosaic-like images, such as A Fantastic Sunset (1970). With its saturated, red sun surrounded by rings of multi-colored light, Thomas’ sunset is a brilliant visual incarnation of what I imagine my “shining place” could look like. For more information on Thomas and her incredible artwork, check out the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
My musicological interests lie in researching, programming, and interpreting the song and chamber music repertoire of historic women composers, particularly those from the nineteenth century. By challenging gendered historiographical narratives that surround “canon” creation, I wish to question, analyze, and reveal the socio-cultural constructs and biases that continually diminish the historic contributions of women creators within the field of classical music.
Through my experiences as a vocalist and concert curator, I find the medium of the song recital to be a nuanced forum that highlights notions of “canonicity.” By exposing performers, collaborators, audiences, and ourselves to song repertoire by historic women composers, we labor to create a more inclusive and more accurate historical “canon” narrative. To this end, I will focus my Doctoral lecture recital research on the Lieder repertoire, both published and unpublished, of German composer Luise Adolpha Le Beau (1850-1927).
Born in Rastatt, Germany, Luise Adolpha Le Beau (1850-1927) was raised in a musical family, and her parents devoted themselves to her education. She later cultivated her professional career as a composer, pianist, music critic, and piano pedagogue, although she identified primarily as a composer. Le Beau wrote in large-scale forms, such as symphonies, operas, and choral works, but also embraced small-scale Lieder and instrumental chamber music. During the 1870’s and 1880’s in Munich, Le Beau was successful in publishing and seeking performances of her newest works. In the decades that followed, however, she struggled to find further performance opportunities, moving to Wiesbaden, Berlin, and Baden-Baden to seek more fertile collaborative landscapes.
Le Beau’s memoirs, Lebenserinnerungen einer Komponistin (Memoirs of a Woman Composer), published in 1910, detail her frustrations with the sexism and lack of acceptance she faced as a woman composer, which contributed to Le Beau’s withdrawal from her public career as a composer in the early 1900’s.
As Le Beau was thwarted in her compositional life, upon her passing, although she meticulously organized and catalogued her manuscripts and personal papers, Le Beau’s music was simply “forgotten.” While more recent scholarship has explored her large-scale works and instrumental chamber music, there is little to no scholarship about Le Beau’s Lieder repertoire, only a handful of her ten published Lieder opuses are readily available to the public, and to my knowledge, few professional recordings of Le Beau’s Lieder exist.
Archival Research in Germany
With a generous Graduate Award from The Presser Foundation, I traveled to Berlin from mid-March to early June 2022. I examined Le Beau’s Nachlaß (estate) at three German state libraries to acquire copies of her unpublished song manuscripts and other primary source material relevant to the compositional and performance practice of her songs. I accessed Le Beau’s personal estate in the public archives of the Berlin State Library, the Bavarian State Library, and the Baden State Library Karlsruhe. I spent most of my time at the Berlin State Library since Le Beau bequeathed seventy-nine volumes of her manuscripts to this institution. Le Beau’s entire oeuvre contains over sixty works, including ten published song opuses.
Upon my return to the United States (and with the support of various collaborators), I will transcribe her unpublished song manuscripts into working scores, as well as translate her correspondence and personal journals. I plan to incorporate a portion of this research into the lecture recital for my Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Peabody Institute. In the future, I hope to present concerts of Le Beau’s Lieder with an accompanying lecture on her life and music. Other potential projects include presentations of Le Beau’s Lieder at venues throughout the Washington DC/Baltimore area, a recorded album of Le Beau’s song repertoire, as well as publishing a collected edition of her Lieder scores.
If I now, at the age of fifty-nine, try to describe my experiences as objectively as possible, it is not done out of vanity or arrogance, but rather, from other motives. Firstly, it was a wish of my dear, blessed father that I would point out the many difficulties that stand in the way of a woman in the field of musical composition, the envy and resentment of my colleagues, as well as the prejudice and misunderstanding in the advice of those who were the most qualified and best situated to nurture a talent, and that I speak the truth loudly without shyness or regard for well-known individuals – however, I was also supported by others, who played a role in my life as an artist, who encouraged me to tell my story…
In his encyclopedia of music history, Herr Ritter compares the making of music in the nineteenth century with a large forest that is covered with all kinds of trees and says, that not only do a few giant trees make up the forest, but rather, the small trees, bushes, grasses, flowers, and mosses are essential to giving it its real character… Whatever gifts I was given, I have nurtured with all my strength; no one can do anything more! I did not disdain even the smallest gifts, but rather, I took delight in all musical works, as long as they were artistically serious and true… Should one or another of my compositions please later generations, I have not written in vain. I have never wished for more recognition than I deserve! Finally, I thank all those who are still living or have already led the way to a better land, all those who have given me the gift of interest and friendly encouragement for my striving!
Excerpted from “Foreword” | Lebenserinnerungen einer Komponistin (1910) by Luise Adolpha Le Beau Translation by Noelle McMurtry
June 20th, 2022 – I’ve returned from my travels in Germany with a lot of manuscripts and primary source material to examine! I also launched my blog, She Is Song, a forum to share research, recordings, and other information about women creators in classical music. For my first blog series, I’ll write about my experiences in Germany as I searched for the song repertoire of Luise Adolpha Le Beau. Be sure to subscribeto follow my work (it’s free!).
January 31st, 2023 – I will perform excerpts from Le Beau’s Vier Terzette, op. 5 and Zwei Duette, op. 6 with sopranos Julie Bosworth and Claire Galloway Weber on Sauvez moi de l’amour, a chamber music recital featuring works by David Lang, Mel Bonis, Comtessa de Dia, Maddalena Casulana, and Caroline Shaw. Click here for more information; keep an eye on this project space and my YouTube channel for video excerpts from the concert.
In Portraits and Persons: A Philosophical Inquiry, Cynthia Freeland discusses how the ever-changing nature of portraiture, across locale and era, reflects “what it is to be a person.”  She defines the portrait artist as “an alchemist who seeks to make inert physical material ‘live’ and show us a person, an actual individual whose physical embodiment reveals psychological awareness, consciousness, and an inner emotional life.”  One of the more striking features of a portrait is its ability to capture the “essence” of a person, if only for a specific moment in time. While this momentary “essence” of an individual is elusive and highly susceptible to interpretation, portraiture remains a fascinating portal into the body, mind, and emotional life of another person. Arguably, portraits illuminate some aspect of “the self,” be it us or the self of another.
Along with considering portraiture a representation of some facet of a subject’s “inner life,” Freeland also details another crucial element: “the ability to pose or present oneself to be depicted in a representation.” As a singer, this struck me deeply – the self-awareness of posing both vocally and physically, of putting oneself forward to represent or be represented, of revealing some part of “the self” (either my own self, or an imagined character in a poem or libretto) through sound. It made me wonder – did most of my creative work as a singer involve “painting” portraits with my body, vocal sounds, and words? Often, I have felt the tension of being both the painter and the sitter. While I express interpretive agency through my performance, the audience’s gaze nevertheless maintains my position as an object to be viewed and perceived.
Portraits: The Self Illuminated explores the intersection of these tactile, linguistic, visual, and sonic portraits through the music of Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Francis Poulenc, Barbara Strozzi, and Lacy Rose and the portraiture of Gwen John, John Duncan, Gustav Klimt, and Bernardo Strozzi. I have consciously paired each musical work with a visual portrait, some of which are known to have directly influenced the musical composition, while others are linked purely through my own imagination. Can they melt into one another to bring “the self” momentarily to the surface, creating that ever-elusive glimpse at the inner life of a human being?
October 2019 Baltimore, MD
NOTES 1. Cynthia, Freeland. Portraits and Persons: A Philosophical Inquiry. New York, Oxford University Press, 2010, 1. 2. Freeland, Portraits and Persons, 74.
Selected Artwork from Portraits: The Self Illuminated
Portraits: The Self Illuminated is in partial fulfillment of the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
The Heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care… Not to see what we love, is very terrible – and talking – doesn’t ease it – and nothing does – but just itself.
Emily Dickinson, Letter to a friend (Spring, 1862)
In Head, Heart,works by Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, Kaija Saariaho, Kate Soper, and John Harbison all share a common theme: the struggle between the head and the heart. While the severity of this struggle and its consequences vary, its underlying tension lingers. As the musical protagonists of these works experience love, loss, death, violence, and ecstatic bliss, they must continually examine what they are willing to sacrifice to achieve their aims.
For de la Guerre’s Esther of the Old Testament, it is a question of ultimate survival: should she risk her own life to save the Jewish people of Persia from annihilation at the hands of Haman? For Harbison’s Mirabai, should she abandon her family, her possessions, her noble status, and everything she has ever known to devote her life to the Hindu deity Krishna? For both Soper and Saariaho, the heart becomes disembodied altogether, adopting its own voice to teach the head about life, counseling the self to be released from its painful burdens, but at what cost?
Ultimately, the inter-play between these parts of ourselves, not the dominance of one over another, truly defines our actions. By exploring these characters, no matter how divided they seem by time, place, and musical style, we encounter a glimpse of our own fragile selves, as we too navigate the ever-complex binary of the head and the heart.
French Canadian flutist Christian Paquette is the Principal Flute of the York Symphony Orchestra and newly appointed Principal Flute of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. In September of 2022 he will hold the position of Principal Flute of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra in Canada. He is a doctoral candidate at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University under the tutelage of Marina Piccinini. He has also worked in flute repairs with Adam Workman, founder of Flutistry Boston. He has frequently performed back in his hometown of Ottawa, Canada with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Thirteen Strings Ensemble. He was also the President of the Ottawa Flute Association from 2015 to 2017.
Christian has performed in the Shriver Hall Concert Series, Music and Beyond Festival, recitals at the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage, Concerto performances with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra (Nielsen) under the baton of Miguel Harth-Bedoya, the University of Ottawa Symphony Orchestra (Ibert and Nielsen), and with the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra (Rodrigo). He is greatly looking forward to his performance of the Reinecke Flute Concerto with the Farnborough Symphony Orchestra in England later in 2022. He is the recipient of numerous competition awards, such as the MPIMC (Marina Piccinini International Master Classes) Concerto Competition, first prize at the Yale Gordon Competition, Canadian Music Competition, the National Music Festival, the NACO Bursary Competition and many others. This past summer he was a fellow in the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble and has been reinvited for the 2022 summer season. Past teachers include Paula Robison, Denis Bluteau, and Camille Churchfield.
Christian is extremely grateful to the Fondation Baxter et Alma Ricard as well as the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation for their generous support in his doctoral studies at the Peabody Institute.
Head, Heart is in partial fulfilment of the Graduate Performance Diploma in Vocal Performance at Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.