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.
I knew her for a little ghost That in my garden walked; The wall is high—higher than most— And the green gate was locked.
And yet I did not think of that Till after she was gone— I knew her by the broad white hat, All ruffled, she had on.
By the dear ruffles round her feet, By her small hands that hung In their lace mitts, austere and sweet, Her gown’s white folds among.
I watched to see if she would stay, What she would do—and oh! She looked as if she liked the way I let my garden grow!
She bent above my favourite mint With conscious garden grace, She smiled and smiled—there was no hint Of sadness in her face.
She held her gown on either side To let her slippers show, And up the walk she went with pride, The way great ladies go.
And where the wall is built in new And is of ivy bare She paused—then opened and passed through A gate that once was there.
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) Originally published in Renascence and Other Poems (Mitchell Kennerley, 1917)
I conceived of The Little Ghost as a means of highlighting and examining women’s viewpoints in song, be it through the voice of the composer, the poet, or the performer of the song itself. I hope to create a mosaic of women’s creative contributions and opinions, which cross historical era and musical style, from the early Baroque to the 20th Century. By exploring the musical works of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and Libby Larsen, the poetry of Louise Lévêque de Vilmorin, and the lives of Restoration-era performers Anne Bracegirdle and Mary Hodgson, I wish to reveal the timeless, universal stories expressed so powerfully through their music, as well as the evolution of female expression throughout the centuries, a topic that I find fascinating, relevant, and sadly, underrepresented.
My title, the little ghost, refers to an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem of the same name, written in 1917 from Renascence and Other Poems, in which the poet observes the ghost of the former owner of her home as she walks through the garden. Millay shares a certain intimacy with the ghost; they inhabit the same space. Though she can see this apparition clearly from her window, there is much that divides these two women. The ghost cannot be completely “known” or understood by Millay; in fact, she exists both inside and outside of Millay’s reality. For the ghost, the wall of the garden once held a gate, while for the poet, it is now overgrown with lush greenery. Through this concert program, I hope to situate myself and my audience in the divide between Millay and her ghost, finding ways to give voice and deepen our understanding of the lives, stories, and musical contributions of women of the past and the present. The little ghost was performed as part of The Cantanti Project’s Project 4.
As a performer, I have long been fascinated by the song recital as a medium for questioning notions of “canon,” as well as giving voice to those who have been marginalized in classical music. In doing so, I discover voices that I have never heard before, voices of historic women that are completely unknown to me. In communing with these composers and their music, I pay homage to a tradition of female creation that I wish to claim my place amongst. Through the works of Francesca Caccini, Germaine Tailleferre, Maddalena Casulana, Vittoria Aleotti, Leonora Orsini, and Agathe Backer-Grøndahl, I acknowledge that I exist partly because they existed; in some small way, I stand on their shoulders.
September 2017 Baltimore, MD
To the queen of my heart is in partial fulfilment of the Doctorate in Musical Arts Degree in Vocal Performance at Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.
What names come to mind when you think of the songs of German Romantic composers? Schumann? Mendelssohn? Schubert? If you imagine Robert, Felix, or Franz, you may want to think again. With the film series “German Romantics,” The Pleiades Project challenges how we define this group of composers by insisting that we not forget the women.
Clara Schumann (1819-1896) was a virtuosic pianist, composer, and piano pedagogue. From the age of eleven, she maintained a sixty-one-year concert career, touring throughout Europe. Her success as a concert artist secured essential income for her family, including her husband, the renowned composer Robert Schumann (1810-1856), and their eight children. She began composing as a child, and her compositions later included solo piano pieces, chamber music, choral works and songs (or Lieder).
For German Romantics: Clara, The Pleiades Project re-conceptualizes the three Lieder of Clara’s Op. 12, originally part of a twelve-song collection jointly published by Clara and Robert to poetry by Friedrich Rückert. In 1841, soon after their marriage, Robert urged his wife to collaborate on a compositional project. Although she was initially ambivalent about composing, Clara began to work on the songs of Op. 12.
While these songs may have marked the beginning of Clara and Robert’s union, the protagonist of German Romantics: Clara navigates Op. 12 as she copes with the end of an important relationship. As she confronts the end of this chapter in her life, her imagination travels to vibrant fantasy worlds of the past. In becoming the heroine of her own story, our protagonist reaches closure and the ability to move forward.
In German Romantics: Clara, I made my film debut and served as dramaturg. For more information about Clara Schumann and Op. 12, check out my research and writing!
German Romantics was made possible by the generous support and in collaboration with Washington-DC based opera company, IN Series.
German Romantics was conceived to be watched on INVision: The Logan Opera House Without Walls. Created in response to performance restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and embracing the opportunity to collaborate broadly and reach worldwide audiences, INVision is IN Series’ first-of-its kind multi-venue digital performing arts center dedicated to disseminating new, transformative works of operatic theater free of charge.
German Romantics: Clara was created from September to October 2020 on location in Washington DC. While making a short film during the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging, we relied upon testing, masking, virtual recording, and lip-synching to safely achieve our creative goals. By delving deeply into the Lieder of Clara Schumann, we took inspiration from her courage, artistry, and pioneering spirit. We ultimately believe that the legacy of Clara Schumann and her fellow Romantic-era women composers shape our voices as contemporary women in classical music.
Click here for more information from The Pleiades Project on series’ installments: German Romantics: Louise and German Romantics: Fanny.
Inspired by American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Love Is Not All,” Queen of Heartsis an evening of cabaret theatre that explores the many stages of romance: an initial self-questioning, a longing for human connection, the spark of deeper feelings, the pain of unrequited desire, the contentment in being loved, the rupture of a bond, and the ultimate decision to move forward wiser, but scarred.
Through storytelling and song, we explore age-old questions about love. Will I ever feel deeply loved? Am I worth loving “forever”? And when love finds me, will I be able to offer it in return?
Love is Not All (Sonnet XXX)
Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain; Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink And rise and sink and rise and sink again; Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath, Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone; Yet many a man is making friends with death Even as I speak, for lack of love alone. It well may be that in a difficult hour, Pinned down by pain and moaning for release, Or nagged by want past resolution’s power, I might be driven to sell your love for peace, Or trade the memory of this night for food. It well may be. I do not think I would.
Queen of Hearts premiered at The Duplex Cabaret Theatre (NYC) in 2016 and was later workshopped at The Pleiades Project Launch Event. Awarded a Career Development Grant from Peabody Institute in 2017 to expand its theatrical scope, Emma and Noelle collaborated with visual artist Andrea Kleinbussink for their performance at Stillpointe Theatre (Baltimore). In 2018, Noelle and Emma performed Queen of Hearts at Areté Venue and Gallery through Inception to Exhibition (NYC).
A Million Miles Away
An Arts Education
In His Own Words
The Declawed Cat
All stories included in Queen of Hearts were written and performed by Emma Tattenbaum-Fine.
“Who Am I?,” from Leonard Bernstein’s Peter Pan
“The Right Guy For Me,” from Kurt Weill’s You and Me
“I Wish It So,” from Marc Blitztein’s Juno
“Love for Sale,” from Cole Porter’s The New Yorkers
“Making Love Alone” by Marilyn Miller & Cheryl Hardwich
“I’ll Follow My Secret Heart,” from Noël Coward’s Conversation Piece
Alphabet City Cycle by Georgia Stitt & Marcy Heisler
“I Loved,” from Jovannest & Rauber’s Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris
“To Oakland, With Love” by Jeanna Phillips
“Lightning Strikes” by Jeanna Phillips & Alex Thrailkill
All music included in Queen of Hearts was performed with an ASCAP Concert & Recital License Agreement.
Emma is a comedic actor and writer. She played Logainne in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at ACT of CT (Broadway World Nomination for “Best Ensemble”) and she returned there to do Godspell in winter of 2020, with Stephen Schwartz revising his classic for this revamped production. Emma appears in Netflix’s Explained. She’s been a joke writer for NYTW gala hosts, Broadway’s Jeremy O. Harris & Heidi Schreck and has hosted HQ Trivia live in front of millions of players internationally. She’s written several full-length scripts, and sketch and stand-up comedy for truTV, Comedy Central and Refinery29.
Emma’s upcoming book, Trash Mermaid — Essays, Stories, Recollections, Rants, and Ramblings that Came to Me by the Jersey Sea is available soon for purchase on Kindle and in print. For more of Emma’s writing, subscribe to her Substack.
Listen to examples of Emma’s storytelling here and in the Multimedia section below. Also, don’t forget to check out her audio album of stories, Commuter’s Companion, now streaming on Spotify!