St. James Community Square
NOTE: Admission to this event is by donation, tickets are not required
1st half: Next Generation artists Ai Horton, soprano & Elana Cooper, violin with Stéphanie Brochard, baroque dance; Margaret Little, viola da gamba; Natalie Mackie, viola da gamba; Christina Hutten, harpsichord
2nd half: Ai Horton, soprano & Elana Cooper, violin; Baroque Mentorship Orchestra; Connor Page, harpsichord; Chloe Meyers, music director & violin
By the age of five, harpsichord prodigy Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre could enthrall the court of Louis XIV with her performances; she went on to become one of the greatest composers and music educators of the “Grand Siècle.” In this concert, EMV Next Generation artists and members of the Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Programme explore the music of this brilliant and precocious artist. The programme features excerpts from the dramatic cantata Semele, along with her violin sonata in D minor. On stage, choreographer and dancer Stephanie Brochard brings this music to life.
This concert is generously sponsored by Jo Anne Tharralson
Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre (1665 – 1729)
Sonata for violin and continuo No. 1 in D minor (Six Sonates, 1707)
Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre
Cantates François, Semélé, No.1
Récitatif – Jupiter avait faire un indiscret Serment
Air – Ne peut-on vivre en tes liens
Récitatif – Mais, quel bruit étonnant se répand dans les airs
Air – Quel appareil pompeux, quel Spectacle pour moi
Air – Quel triomphe, quelle victoire
Récitatif – Ah ! Quel embrasement tout à coup m’épouvante
Air – Je vois ce palais s’enflammer
Air – Lorsque l’amour nous enchaîne
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644-1704)
Partia V from Harmonia artificioso – ariosa
Giovanni Bononcini (1670-1747)
Ombra mai fu from Xerse
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
Battalia à 10
Die liederliche Gesellschaft von allerley Humor
Adagio. Lamento der Verwundten Musquetirer
Henry Purcell (1659-1695)Strike the Viol from Come Ye Sons of Art Away Z.323
TEXTS AND TRANSLATIONS
Click here to read the texts and translations.
In the spring of 1694, Paris’s Académie Royale de Musique staged an opera entitled Céphale et Procris. When Louis XIV’s music printer issued a printed edition of this new tragédie en musique later that year, it began with a dedication proclaiming the composer’s “ardent and respectful zeal” for the king and her satisfaction in having contributed to his “divertissement,” or entertainment. The print’s title page identifies the composer as “Mademoiselle DE LA GUERRE”; the dedication, however, is signed simply with the family name that, even after marriage, she never relinquished: “Jacquet.”
Céphale et Procris marked one of the many “firsts” of Élisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre’s extraordinary career. It was the first tragédie en musique—the grandest form of musical divertissement of the Grand Siècle—by a woman to be performed in France’s premiere musical venue. Three years earlier, with the performance of her Jeux à l’honneur de la Victoire, Jacquet had acknowledged being the first Frenchwoman to write an opera. Earlier still, her Pièces de Clavessin of 1687 made her the first woman known to publish a collection of harpsichord music. (The list goes on.) Despite the modesty with which Jacquet presents her work as entertainment to fill the “short intervals” between the king’s “grand and important occupations,” such “divertissements” played a large role in the cultural and political life of the French capital. They have also convinced music-lovers from distant times and countries of their composer’s uniquely brilliant talent and finely honed skill.
Jacquet, born to an old family of instrument makers and artisans, was baptised on March 17th, 1665. She no doubt received her earliest keyboard training from her father, the organist of Saint-Louis-en-l’Île. Records of her introduction at court (apparently from the age of five) enthuse about the admiration excited by her harpsichord playing and singing, and especially her skill in improvisation. Jacquet seems to have impressed Louis XIV himself, and spent formative years at the palace of Versailles, which from 1682 housed the French court and served as the centre of government. Here, she witnessed first-hand the splendour of Louis’s theatre of state and absorbed the musical language that she would go on to transform: the dramatic and dance tradition of Jean-Baptiste Lully (the Sun-King’s right-hand man when it came to music) and the harpsichord idiom of Chambonnières and the French clavecinistes.
Jacquet entered the service of Madame de Montespan, who for some time enjoyed enormous power as the king’s favoured mistress. Before this patroness’s fall from grace, however, Jacquet quitted Versailles to marry the first-rate organist and respected composer Marin de la Guerre, returning to her home neighbourhood on the Île Saint-Louis. This was in many ways a typical alliance between two Paris families in the music profession. It was unusual, however, in that Élisabeth continued to pursue her own career with mounting success after her marriage; she became an honoured teacher as well as an admired performer in Paris’s salon scene, all the while publishing works with royal privilege and keeping up her interests at court. Whether she presented herself as “Madame de la Guerre” or “Mademoiselle Jacquet,” Élisabeth earned a reputation as one of the era’s master musicians.
Nor was this reputation restricted to France. Jacquet’s name found its way into the musical who’s-who lists compiled by Johan Gottfried Walther and Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg as well as the writings of other connoisseurs of European music. This international aspect of her reception is appropriate, because Jacquet’s work was itself more outward-looking than was customary in the often doctrinaire world of French high culture under Louis XIV. The first half of this programme, for example, includes pieces drawn from Jacquet’s 1707 collection of Sonates pour le Viollon et pour le Clavecin and the third book of her Cantates Françoises. Although it might seem unexceptional for us to see a baroque composer publishing “sonatas” and “cantatas,” in Jacquet’s milieu these genres were still strongly associated with Italian—and thus suspiciously foreign—taste.
Jacquet’s violin sonatas have been credited with the accomplishment of winning a skeptical Louis XIV over to the conspicuously un-French genre. It is not too hard to imagine how these pieces, with their winning combination of the noble melodies and lush sound characteristic of French music and the compelling harmonies and virtuoso writing of Italian masters like Arcangelo Corelli, might have gratified even the most authoritarian of monarchs. Jacquet’s treatment of the cantata, meanwhile, makes it into something of a mini-opera, with supple and expressive récits in the tradition of Lully alternating with tuneful airs. Semelé lends psychological intensity to the popular story of Jupiter’s ill-fated mortal lover: Jacquet uses the cantata’s small-scale orchestration of voice, continuo and a single instrumental part to dramatic effect, depicting the transition between Semelé’s doubts about her lover’s identity, her exultation at being beloved by a god, and, tragically, her thunderous annihilation in Jupiter’s unconcealed glory.
One composer who, it’s safe to say, would not have met with Louis XIV’s royal approval is Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber. About two decades Jacquet’s senior and Bohemian by birth, Biber made his name in Austria and Germany as the foremost violin virtuoso of his time. Today, he may be best known for his wildly demanding, extravagant and mystical music for solo violin, but Biber also cultivated the whole range of vocal and instrumental, sacred and secular composition. In the seven “partia,” or partitas, of Harmonia artificioso-ariosa (first published in 1696), Biber explores in an ensemble context the scordatura tunings (irregular tunings of the violin’s four strings) often featured in his solo music. Throughout, Biber injects French dance forms with his own brand of bravura, especially well displayed in the relentless passacaglia that concludes Partia V.
Biber’s Battalia belongs to a distinctive seventeenth-century genre of descriptive battle pieces. Such compositions reflect a period of frequent and bitter conflict with both humour and pathos. Biber’s techniques of musical scene-painting are sometimes hilariously literal; in the second movement, for instance, the dissonant cacophony of popular tunes suggests an unruly band of soldiers.
Two more hits from 1694 round out tonight’s programme. The title “Ombra mai fu” may be familiar to those who have heard a certain famous aria by George Frideric Handel. Giovanni Bononcini’s Xerse, however, predates Handel’s setting of the same libretto by over forty years (Handel admired Bononcini’s music enough to steal and adapt some of it for his own opera). Although not as well known as Handel’s, Bononcini’s “Ombra mai fu” exemplifies the touching lyricism that endeared him to his contemporaries. From Jacquet’s Paris, Bononcini’s Rome and Biber’s Salzburg, we come to rest finally in Purcell’s London, where in 1694 the last of the English composer’s odes for Queen Mary, Come, ye sons of art, away, was performed. Purcell’s call to “Strike the viol, touch the lute,” constructed on a perky ground bass, carries a message with which Jacquet, across the Channel, would undoubtedly have agreed.
- Connor Page
Ai Horton, soprano
Originally from Victoria, BC, Japanese-Canadian soprano Ai Horton’s interest in historically informed performance practice led her to move to the Netherlands, where she is currently based. Her varied concert repertoire spans several centuries and includes English and Italian madrigals, music of the French-baroque, the works of J.S. Bach, and German Lieder. Ai regularly performs contemporary works and was a vocalist for the 2022 Young Composer’s Meeting in Apeldoorn (NL). Professional highlights include Handel’s Messiah with Bach on the Rock under the direction of the late Michael Jarvis (CAN), Rameau’s Quam Dilecta Tabernacula broadcast on Radio West (NL), Schütz’s Musikalische Exequien (NL), and a concert of Telemann’s solo cantatas with violinist Marc Destrubé, viola da gamba player Natalie Mackie, and organist Christina Hutten at Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral (CAN).
An avid supporter of civic engagement initiatives, Ai aims to create community and belonging through shared musical experience as both a performer and an educator. Ai was a featured artist in Pacific Opera Victoria’s Opera Etc. Programs, performing in numerous “Pop-up Operas” (short performances in outdoor public spaces) and recording several virtual concerts that were distributed to senior care facilities. Ai also worked with Pacific Opera to produce “Tenebris”, a video presentation that used Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater to tell a personal story of struggles with mental health. Her current project, Laments for a Modern World, comprises a set of four songs she composed with influence from 17th-century Laments, featuring newly-commissioned texts that amplify modern-day stories of race relations, miscarriage, struggles with mental health, and displacement from one’s homeland.
Ai holds a Bachelor of Music in Secondary Music Education from the University of Victoria and is currently completing a Master of Music in Early Music Vocal Studies as an Excellence Scholar at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague. Ai has been awarded numerous scholarships for her excellence in music, including several BC Arts Council scholarships and the Johann Strauss Foundation Scholarship, which enabled a period of advanced vocal study in Salzburg at the Universität Mozarteum’s Summer Academy.
Elana Cooper, violin
Currently based in The Netherlands, Elana Cooper performs on baroque violin, baroque viola, and modern violin. She has performed with ensembles in Europe (Holland Baroque, Dutch Baroque Orchestra, MA Academy in Bruges, Saintes Jeunes Orchestre de l’Abbaye in France), Canada (Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Vancouver Opera Orchestra), and the US (Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Bloomington Bach Cantata Project, Oregon Bach Festival Period Orchestra).
Elana holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of British Columbia, where she studied with David Gillham. She also studied baroque violin with Chloe Meyers and Marc Destrubé in Vancouver as a recipient of the Early Music Vancouver Scholarship Programme. Elana studied baroque violin as a Master’s student at the Historical Performance Institute at Indiana University with Stanley Ritchie. In June 2023, Elana will complete her Masters degree in baroque violin at Koninklijk Conservatorium in the Hague as a student of Kati Debretzeni. Elana is looking forward to joining the Theresia Classical Orchestra and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Experience Academy in 2023.
Stéphanie Brochard, dancer
Stéphanie Brochard’s many talents have been displayed in various platforms including dance theatre, contemporary dance, the art of clown and baroque dance. As a baroque dance specialist, she can be seen on the national and international stage, and has worked with festivals and ensembles, such as the Montréal Baroque Festival, the Early Music Festival Alberta, the Toronto Masque Theatre, Les Boréades de Montréal, Clavecin en Concert and the Boston Early Music Festival. She is the Co-Artistic Director of Les Jardins Chorégraphiques, a dance company specialising in early dance. In 2015 Stephanie started choreographing her first contemporary work, Me Squared. In 2017 she created her first solo work, Compromis Improbable, which stemmed from a desire to explore a new choreographic vocabulary by fusing baroque and contemporary dance, marking a turning point in Stéphanie's choreographic journey and developing this vocabulary in each of her creations.
Margaret Little, viola da gamba
Margaret Little discovered the viola da gamba at the age of eleven at the CAMMAC Music Centre and instantly fell in love with the instrument and early music repertoire. Margaret has been performing since 1975 as a soloist, and a chamber musician on the viola da gamba and baroque viola with various groups, including the Studio de Musique ancienne de Montréal, Les Idées Heureuses, Arion, Musica Divina. In 1985 she founded the viola da gamba duo Les Voix humaine with Susie Napper. Margaret has performed with many early music groups (as a gambist and baroque violist) including Cappricio Stravagante, Fuocco e Cenere, Rebel, Four Nations, Trinity Consort, The Publick Musick, Les Boréades, Les Violons du Roy. Her career has included extensive tours in North America, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Margaret has recorded more than 90 CDs, and her first solo CD Senza Continuo was nominated for an Opus Award. Since 1992, she has taught the viola da gamba and baroque ensembles at the Université de Montréal.
Natalie Mackie, viola da gamba
Natalie Mackie studied cello at the Conservatoire de Musique (Québec), followed by a degree from the School of Music, University of British Columbia. While at UBC she was introduced to the viola da gamba, and following graduation, she pursued further studies at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague. Natalie has played with many ensembles in Canada and the US, including New World Consort, Les Coucous Bénévoles, Tafelmusik, Portland, and Seattle Baroque Orchestras, Les Voix Humaines, Tempo Rubato, Les Voix Baroque, Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, Victoria Baroque, and Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra among others. Natalie is a member of Pacific Baroque Orchestra and the chamber ensemble “La Modestine”- both Vancouver-based ensembles. She has toured throughout Canada, Europe, and the US and recorded for Radio France, German Radio, BBC, CBC, and NPR, as well as the Canadian label Atma Classique. Natalie is a regular performer in the Pacific Baroque Festival, held annually in Victoria, BC, and teaches in the Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Program at the University of British Columbia.
Christina Hutten, harpsichord
Organist and harpsichordist Christina Hutten has presented recitals in Canada, the United States, and Europe. She performs regularly with Pacific Baroque Orchestra and has appeared as concerto soloist with the Okanagan Symphony, the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, and the Arizona State University Chamber Orchestra. Christina is also an enthusiastic teacher. She coaches and coordinates the early music ensembles at the University of British Columbia and has given masterclasses and workshops at institutions including the Victoria Baroque Summer Program, Brandon University, the University of Manitoba, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada’s National Music Centre in Calgary, and the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. Funded by a generous grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, she pursued historical keyboard studies in Europe with Francesco Cera, François Espinasse, and Bernard Winsemius. She participated in the Britten-Pears Programme, led by Andreas Scholl and Tamar Halperin, for which she was awarded the Loewen Prize. Christina obtained a master’s degree in Organ Performance from Arizona State University under the direction of Kimberly Marshall and an Advanced Certificate in Harpsichord Performance from the University of Toronto, where she studied with Charlotte Nediger. She is now a doctoral candidate in musicology at UBC.
Connor Page, organ
Surrey-based harpsichordist Connor Page holds a Bachelor of Music degree (2021) from the University of British Columbia, where he first began to explore his love for historical keyboard technique, continuo playing, and the study and performance of early music. A recipient of Early Music Vancouver’s BC Scholarship and a long-time member of the Baroque Mentorship Orchestra, Connor has had the privilege of studying harpsichord and organ with Christina Hutten and Alexander Weimann. Abroad, he has played in masterclasses for experts in early keyboard performance such as Jacques Ogg and Charlotte Nediger. As a seasoned and sensitive collaborator and a keen researcher, Connor has contributed to many local productions in a variety of venues; he is also a founding member of the Gallo Chamber Players, an ensemble specializing in baroque chamber music. Connor’s diverse musical activities in and around Vancouver reflect a passion for music as a means of both present connection and historical understanding. Connor is also a graduate student in English literature at UBC, where he is at work on a SSHRC-funded thesis on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Baroque Mentorship Orchestra
About five years ago a new and exciting educational initiative took root in Vancouver, a Baroque Mentorship Orchestra in which the seasoned professionals of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra rehearse and perform side-by-side with students and aspiring young artists from the community. The programme is made possible by the collaboration of Early Music Vancouver, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, and the University of British Columbia, and thanks to the generosity of Vic and Joan Baker. The mentorship orchestra is directed by Alexander Weimann. Chloe Meyers and Natalie Mackie serve as regular mentors, aided by many other specialist coaches for strings, woodwinds, and brasses. The orchestra has offered an ambitious variety of music from the 17th and 18th centuries: highlights have included Telemann’s Don Quixote Suite, Handel’s Fireworks Music at the Chan Centre, a spicy programme of Mediterranean music entitled Fandango!, excerpts from Handel’s magnificent early opera Agrippina, and a festival of Telemann concertos and suites.
Chloe Meyers, music director & violin
Violinist Chloe Meyers is a regular guest leader and orchestra member of baroque ensembles all over North America. She has worked with ensembles including Les Violons du Roy, Tafelmusik, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Les Boréades, the Theatre of Early Music, Les Idées Heureuses and Les Voix Baroques. She recently joined the Pacific Baroque Orchestra as concertmaster and will continue to play principal second with Arion Baroque Orchestra in Montreal. Most recently she played first violin on a Juno Award winning recording of Handel arias featuring Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin on the Atma Classique label.