The Collegium Vocale of Saint Louis was founded in 1996 with the goal of providing St. Louis area audiences opportunities to hear and enjoy vocal chamber music of the 17th and 18th centuries, performed on historic instruments, in an historically informed manner. A core group of six singers, all soloists in their own right, perform both as an ensemble and in various combinations with historic instrumentalists.
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Collegium Vocale of Saint Louis With Guest Artists:
Nancy Luetzow, soprano Samantha Swanson, soprano
Roberta Hmiel, contralto James Harris, recorder, flute
Willard Cobb, tenor, recorder William Bauer, violin
Bruce Carvell, tenor, flute Brandon Christensen, violin
David Berger, bass-baritone Henry Skolnick, bassoon
Jeffrey Noonan, theorbo
Elizabeth Horsley, Organ, harpsichord
WE HOPE TO SEE YOU AT OUR NEXT CONCERT
Sacred Cantatas of the German Baroque• Saturday, May 7, 2011
Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis, MO
COLLEGIUM VOCALE OF SAINT LOUIS
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
W. G. Seibert, President Evvy Cobb, Treasurer
David Berger Elizabeth Horsley Leif Johnson Nancy Luetzow Stephen Mager, D.M.A.
Pro omnibus festis BVM, H. 333 Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Ensemble, violins, continuo
Marc-Antoine Charpentier is now recognized as one of the towering giants of the French Baroque, although this fact was not celebrated until the rediscovery of his music in the twentieth century. During Charpentier’s lifetime, Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) held center stage at the court of Louis XIV and severely limited any opportunities for any talented competitors.
Charpentier was born in Paris in 1643, the son of a master scribe. Little is known with certainty of his early life, although the Jesuits may have trained him. It is known that Charpentier spent three years in Rome, where he was exposed to the music of Giacomo Carissimi and other important Roman composers. While it is likely that he came into contact with Carissimi, it is not known if Charpentier studied with him in any formal way. Clearly, though, Charpentier became thoroughly grounded in the musical language of the Roman style.
Almost 500 of Charpentier’s compositions survive, representing a diverse range of types, both sacred and secular. His works include opera and collaborations with important French playwrights, such as Molière and Corneille. Although most of his music was not published during his lifetime, he kept careful copies of all his works, organized and bound together. Fortunately, this collection of manuscripts eventually made its way to the Royal Library in 1727. All of the music on today’s concert, with the exception of Le reniément de St. Pierre, has been edited especially for the Collegium Vocale from facsimiles of these manuscripts.
Upon returning to Paris around 1670, Charpentier entered the employment of Marie de Lorraine as singer and composer-in-residence. Mlle. Marie de Lorraine, also known as ‘Mademoiselle de Guise,’ was a relative of Louis XIV. Charpentier worked in this position, composing primarily sacred music, until her death in 1688. The hymn, Jesu corona virginum is representative of the music Charpentier composed for her household ensemble: typically two women and recorders, accompanied by a continuo ensemble. Reflecting the traditional performance of hymns, this piece alternates a refrain-like section for all voices with solo verses for each of the singers.
The motet, Pro omnibus festis BVM, probably dates from the late 1680’s and may have been performed by the enlarged musical ensemble of the Guise household for their Vesper services. The bass voice declares the praises of the Blessed Virgin, which are echoed by angelic voices in alternation with the earthly lower men’s voices, with all joining together in the second half of the piece to celebrate Mary’s infinite goodness.
Charpentier also had an ongoing relationship with the Jesuits of Paris and composed music for them over much of his working life. Probably dating from the early 1670’s, the setting of Psalm 147, Lauda Jerusalem, alternates sections for the full ensemble with sections featuring various combinations of voices, reflecting the responsorial performance typical of psalms. The Italian influences at work in this piece include striking examples of text-painting, such as the swirling passages in Verse 4 at “velociter currit” and the flowing sixteenth notes at “fluent aquae” depicting the flowing waters of Verse 8.
The setting of texts for the Holy Week services forms a significant part of Charpentier’s output. These Holy Week observances were a major cultural and social event in Paris during this period, and the music composed for them was an important element. The largest parts of these services were the settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah and responses to them. The Première Repons après le Première Leçon de Jeudi Sainte (the First Response after the First Lesson of Holy Thursday) is a brief section taken from a much larger work. It features one of the standard instrumental textures of the period, flutes and violins, and provides a glimpse into this aspect of Charpentier’s contribution to the genre.
Another of the influences that affected Charpentier while in Italy was his exposure to the newly developed sacred dramatic form that came to be called the ‘oratorio.’ Many regard Le reniément de St. Pierre (The Denial of St. Peter) to be Charpentier’s masterpiece in this form. Based on the style developed by Carissimi in Rome, it combines a fluid presentation of the dialogue in alternation with the chorus acting as narrator and concludes with an absolutely breath-taking final chorus in which the despair and anguish of St. Peter finds its fullest expression. It is likely that Charpentier himself sang the role of Peter.
Between 1679 and 1683, Charpentier was called upon to compose sacred music for the chapel of the Dauphin (the eldest son and heir of Louis XIV). One of these pieces was the remarkable Supplicatio pro defunctis B. V. M., scored for three singers, three flutes, harpsichord, and viola da gamba. This part is played on the Baroque bassoon in today’s concert. This moving prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary on behalf of those souls held in Purgatory was performed by members of the Dauphin’s musical ensemble, a group including five members of the Pièche family: Madeleine and Marguerite (singers) Antoine, Joseph, and Pierre (flutes). The bass part was sung by Antoine Frison, a noted bass who also sang at court and participated in performances of plays by Molière and others. The bass flute part will be played on a great bass recorder (in C) in today’s performance.
Louis Marchand was a French virtuoso on the organ and harpsichord. He is best remembered today as the proposed contestant in a competition to be held in Dresden in 1717 with Johann Sebastian Bach. Several German sources report that Marchand left town before the contest was held. It should be noted that no French source comments on this. The piece, Plein Jeu, played on today’s program illustrates the type of organ music that was typical of the period and serves as an introduction to the hymn, Jesu corona virginum.
NOTE on the pitch of French Baroque Music:
It is common today to perform music of the 17th and 18th centuries one half step lower than modern pitch (A = 415 instead of A = 440 vibrations per second). Music in France was written to be performed even lower than this at A = 392. Today’s concert is being performed at this pitch level in order to give a better sense of Charpentier’s music as he heard it.
Collegium Vocale Biographies
Bruce Carvell, tenor, flute, and Artistic Director, holds a Ph.D. in Historical Performance Practice from Washington University. He has taught music history and literature courses at Washington University and the St. Louis Conservatory of Music. Dr. Carvell has also been a member of the American Kantorei and Musica Nova, and is a former director of the Washington University Collegium Musicum. He currently sings with the choirs at The First Congregational Church and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, and is Cantor at the Old Cathedral.
David Berger, bass-baritone, a member of Collegium Vocale since 1997, has performed on concert and oratorio stages from coast to coast in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Hindemith, including many performances with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under Lukas Foss, Margaret Hawkins, Robert Shaw, and Robert Page. He has sung under the baton of British conductors: Sir David Willcocks, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, and Christopher Hogwood. David has appeared regularly with Bach groups in Chicago, Louisville, Dayton, Rockford, and St. Louis. He is on the faculty of Concordia Seminary and resides in St. Louis.
Willard Cobb, tenor, recorder is well known as a performer of Lieder, chamber music, oratorio, and early music. He was a member of the Studio der frühen Musik of Munich, Germany, an ensemble devoted to the performance of medieval and renaissance music. He has recorded on the Teldec and Musical Heritage labels. Since returning to the United States, he has taught at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, Washington University, St. Louis University, and the St. Louis Conservatory of Music. He is soloist for the First Church of Christ, Scientist, St. Louis.
Roberta Hmiel, contralto, has led a musical career that includes five seasons with the University Circle Chamber Chorus and Chorale in association with the Cleveland Institute of Music, and membership in the North Coast Vocal Arts Ensemble. She has been a member of the St. Louis Chamber Chorus since 1990 and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church choir since 1995. Roberta is also a founding member of Java Jived, a vocal jazz octet.
Nancy Luetzow,soprano, a member of the Collegium since 2004, performs with the St. Peter’s Singers and frequently as a soloist elsewhere. She is a former member of the St. Louis Chamber Chorus, American Kantorei, and The Bach Society of St. Louis. In 2005 she organized the vocal jazz mixed octet Java Jived, which will perform at Christ Church Cathedral on May 15, 2011. A St. Louis native and graduate of Washington University, Nancy is a freelance translator of scientific-technical Russian to English.
Guest Artist Biographies
William Bauer, violin, has recently been a featured soloist with Boston's Concerto Antico, the Chicago Baroque Band, Atlanta's New Trinity Baroque, the Milwaukee Baroque and Mexico's Capela Guanajuatensis. Upcoming projects include a solo recording of Vivaldi's Concerto in D Minor for viola d'amore with the Washington Bach Sinfonia for the Dorian label. His recordings may be heard in MP3 format at ARSANTIGUAPRESENTS.com.
Brandon Christensen, violin, completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony-Brook University in New York in December, 2002, where he studied with violinist Mitchell Stern and harpsichordist Arthur Haas. He has studied Baroque violin with Stanley Ritchie at Indiana University. He is currently a tenured associate professor at Southeast Missouri State University. He has been a visiting professor of violin and viola at Dickinson College, and a member of the artist-faculty at the Pennsylvania Academy of Music in Lancaster. He was a recitalist and chamber musician with the West-End Chamber Ensemble, and was a chamber music fellow at the Banff summer festival with the Stony-Brook graduate piano trio. His recent performances have included the St. Louis region, as well as Italy, Finland, and China.
James Harris, recorder, flute, born and raised in Southern New Jersey near the Atlantic Ocean, began singing in church choirs and madrigal groups at age 8. He has taught at many colleges and universities, has published articles on the role of music in healing, and is writing a book on the 18th-century London-based French woodwind maker Pierre Jailliard Bressan. He has performed with the St. Louis Early Music Ensemble, the SLSO Community Partnership Program, Holy Roman Repertory, Collegium Vocale, and Chicago’s Sine Nomine Orchestra. With his wife violinist Lorraine Glass-Harris, he founded the period-instrument ensemble L’Esprit de Musique. Elizabeth Horsley, organ,harpsichord, is the organist/accompanist at First Presbyterian Church in University City. After earning her BME and MAT degrees from Webster University, she taught Orff Schulwerk to pre-school, elementary, and middle school students at Visitation Academy, The College School, New City School, and Parkway School District. She has been an Orff Schulwerk guest clinician in a number of midwestern cities. She taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Webster University, and undergraduate level classes at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. She has been the composer/ music director for Metro Theater Company, a member of the American Kantorei, and musician at churches and temples in the St Louis area.
Jeffrey Noonan, theorbo, is a classical guitarist, and holds a Ph.D. in Historical Musicology. He performs early music in the St. Louis area; plays lute, theorbo, and early guitars with Early Music St. Louis, St. Louis Baroque, and McKinney Kammergild (Dallas). He has recorded for Ars Antigua of Chicago and recently founded Musicke’s Cordes, an early music string band focusing on 17th-century Italian ensemble music. Recent performances include guest appearances at the William Jewell Early Music Festival, recordings of Scandinavian sacred music in Indianapolis, concerts with Ars Antigua, and a Handel opera with Bourbon Baroque. An Associate Professor of Music at Southeast Missouri State University, he teaches music literature and classical guitar; he also teaches lute and coaches early music performance at Washington University.
Henry Skolnick, bassoon, is recognized as a leading exponent of the contrabassoon. Composers from the USA, England, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany have written works for him. He was a member of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, Miami, for eighteen years and taught bassoon and wind chamber music at Florida International University, Miami, for fifteen years. He served in the same capacity at the New World School of the Arts, Miami. He has been on the summer faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp since 2004. Henry has performed with the St. Louis Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony, The Colorado Symphony, The Miami Chamber Symphony, and the Florida Grand Opera Orchestra. On the baroque bassoon, Henry performs with St. Louis Baroque, the Kingsbury Ensemble, Collegium Vocale, and the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra.
Samantha Swanson, soprano, a relative newcomer to St. Louis’ early music scene, has won international acclaim and two second place medals singing women’s barbershop harmony. Currently working on a degree in music history from Washington University in St. Louis, she studies voice with Jolly Stewart and lute with Jeff Noonan. Samantha has performed with St. Louis Baroque, serves as a section leader and soloist at the Church of St. Michael and St. George, and is a member of the Washington University Concert Choir. The first recipient of the Charles Metz Early Music Scholarship at Washington University, she intends to continue her studies in early music vocal performance and music history at the graduate level.
Collegium Vocale of Saint Louis
5112 Westminster Place
St. Louis, Missouri 63108
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Please enter your contact information on the form provided and place it in one of the baskets, located in the narthex and Niccolls Hall. We will send you an email announcement about our next performance.
Collegium Vocale acknowledges the generosity of the following individuals
and agencies that have helped make this occasion possible: Rev. Mary Gene Boteler, Pastor of Second Presbyterian Church
Andrew Peters, Pastoral Musician of Second Presbyterian Church
The Staff of Second Presbyterian Church
Recording services by Video Guy Productions, email@example.com
Anna Mason (Indianapolis) for making her French Baroque bassoon available for our performance
The site at Westminster Place and Taylor Avenue is the third location of Second Presbyterian Church, which was founded in 1838. The chapel (1896) and sanctuary (1900) are built in the Romanesque style, which had its origins in medieval Spain and France. The style enjoyed a revival in the United States in the last half of the nineteenth century, brought about by the great Boston architect, H. H. Richardson (1838-1886). In 1899 the church commissioned the renowned St. Louis architect, Theodore Link, to design the sanctuary. Link’s most famous work is the St. Louis Union Station.
UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE 2010-2011 COUTS MUSIC SERIES
All programs are presented free of charge to the community and take place at 4pm. Duruflé Concert Sunday, March 20
The Second Church Chorale and Ladue Chapel Presbyterian Church Choir present Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem for soloists, choir, and organ. The program features conductor Andrew Peters and organist David Erwin.
Easter Hymn Festival Sunday, May 1
Join us on the Second Sunday of Easter for an exciting Hymn Festival! The Festival includes hymns and readings for Eastertide with the choirs of Second Presbyterian Church and Trinity Presbyterian Church. Organist Andrew Peters, brass, and timpani will lead the singing of hymns as we celebrate the joy of the Easter season.
PAST EVENTS IN THE 2010-2011 COUTS MUSIC SERIES Charlene Clark (violin) and Deborah Bloom (piano) October 17
Aaron Copland Birthday Concert November 14
Advent Vespers December 5
Legend Singers January 23
This program has been underwritten by the generous support of the
“Fred A. and Leota Couts Music Endowment Fund”
2010-2011 Music Fund Donors Anonymous (6 donors)
Samuel & Eileen Glasser
Anonymous in memory of Dick Clements
Anonymous (2 donors) in memory of Flossie Driscole
Vernon & Sylvia Jones in honor of Ernestine McKellar
Anonymous in honor of Ernestine McKellar
Anonymous in memory of Bill Saunders
Anonymous in memory of Jean Weinstock
John & Judy Leo in memory of Jean Weinstock
The congregation of Second Church welcomes all Christians to full participation and membership regardless of sex, age, race, ethnic background, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, political ideals, or worldly condition. Second Presbyterian Church
The Reverend Mary Gene Boteler, Pastor
Andrew Peters, Pastoral Musician
4501 Westminster Place