Thais St. Julien

Co-Host, Continuum

Thaïs St. Julien has performed everything from Gregorian chant to Gershwin, appearing in recitals, concerts and opera across the U.S.  The New Orleans native is co-director (with founder Milton Scheuermann)of New Orleans Musica da Camera, performing music of the 11th through 19th centuries.  She created and directs the group’s  women’s vocal ensemble, Vox Feminae, sometimes writing and arranging music for them. She and Scheuermann co-host the ensemble’s weekly program of early music, Continuum, aired on  WWNO 89.9FM, streamed on wwno.org. Twelve Musica da Camera productions featuring the soprano as soloist have been broadcast on National Public Radio, American Public Radio and Public Radio International.

Her passion for 18th and 19th century New Orleans music has led to lectures and performances across the country. She was featured on the internationally acclaimed series “Creole Cameos” produced by WWNO, and “Arc Light”, a video series produced by Amistad Research Center. The soprano has recorded for the Newport Classics, Centaur, Belle Alliance and Clark Constructions record labels. Her closest brush with the movies was as historic music advisor for “Interview with the Vampire”.

Recipient of the 2007 Louisiana Artist Fellowship in Music, St. Julien is also a SouthernArtistry.org artist, and has received a Gambit “Tribute to the Classical Arts” Life Time Achievement Award and the Historic District Landmarks Commission’s Pioneer in Preservation Honor Award. She’s also profiled in several Marquis “Who’s Who” publications.

When not reading a mystery novel or doing historical research, she’s a magician, (it’s a performance art, after all, not that much different from music). She also belongs to some nifty organizations - the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Society of American Magicians, the Knights of Slights and Mensa.

Ways to Connect

The Baroque composer Antonio Caldara (1670-1736) is best known as a creator or operas, cantatas and oratories. This program presents one of his most interesting compositions, music composed for a social gathering in the form of a comic chamber opera. The composition is called The Card Game. The performance is by The Queen's Chamber Band, conducted by Stephen Alltop and featuring soprano Julianne Baird and contralto Patrice Djerejian. The recording is The Card Game - Albany Troy 705.

The early music English vocal ensemble Gothic Voices was founded in 1981 by the scholar and musician Christopher Page and has since recorded 25 CDs. Gothic Voices is a United Kingdom based vocal ensemble specializing in repertoire from the 11th to the 15th century but also performing contemporary music, particularly pieces with medieval associations. The ensemble has commissioned contemporary works for its unusual vocal forces, with recent performances of works by Joanne Metcalf and Andrew Smith.

The name Anonymous Four is quite important to early music. It represents two identities: the first, Anonymous IV, is an unknown writer of an important treatise of medieval music theory, particularly about the music of Notre Dame in Paris in the 13th Century. The second, Anonymous 4, is a contemporary female vocal quartet specializing in medieval music. They began their career in 1992 and are still performing quite regularly. This Continuum presents music of both of these Anonymous Fours.

Musical instruments produce their sound in many ways, plucking, bowing, blowing, beating, etc. This Continuum program is devoted to two instruments: one that's plucked (the harpsichord), and one that's bowed (the cello). Harpsichord music by Francois Couperin (1668-1733) is performed by New Orleans-born Skip Sempe, whose first keyboard teacher was Milton Scheuermann, and solo suites for cello by Bach are performed by Tess Remy-Schumacher.

There are three delightful delights on this week’s Continuum: The King's Delight, The Queen's Delight, and The Ladyes Delight — three early music CDs devoted to different Elizabethan delights are presented to a very notable collection of Delightful Delights. In addition, music from a CD called Watkin's Ale presents some very spirited and sometimes bawdy music of the same period. The music is performed by two excellent American early music ensembles.

The Estampie was one of the most popular of medieval dances. It exists in many forms in French, Italian and Catalan manuscripts. It is not known exactly how this dance was performed but listening to the music it is very obvious that it was a fast moving event. On this program you'll hear “Mostly Estampies” performed by three outstanding early music ensembles. Recordings used will be: A l'Estampida (Dufay Collective) - Continuum CCD 1042, Estampies et Danses Royales du Moyen Age (Loinhdana) - Pierre Verany PV790043, and Estanpitta! 14th Century Dances (N.Y.)

The music of Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th century Sibyl of the Rhine, philosopher, abbess, architect, polymath and composer will be featured on this week's Continuum. Selections from the historically important 1981 recording, A Feather on the Breath of God, performed by the Gothic Voices will be heard as well as a contemporary electronic arrangement of her music. The recordings used will be: A Feather on the Breath of God (Gothic Voices) - Hyperion GAW21039, Celestial Stairs (Ensemble Für Frühe Musik Augsburg) - Christophorus CHR 77205, and Diadema (Vox) - Erdenklang 90343.

The Garden of Love will be featured on Continuum this week, with performances by La Nef, Gothic Voices, and The Dufay Collective. Music from The Garden of Earthly Delights, The Garden of Zephirus and A Dance in the Garden of Mirth will be heard — an array of the various aspects of the medieval Garden of Love including both songs and dances. Recordings used are; (La Nef) - Dorian DIS-80135, (Gothic Voices) - Hyperion CDA66144, and (The Dufay Collective) - Chandos CHAN 9320.

Jordi Savall is one of the most famous of early music musicians performing today. He is truly a "Musician Extraordinaire". Continuum this week presents recordings of some of his expert solo playing on the Renaissance viola da gamba. Also included will be recordings of his early music ensemble, Hesperion XXI, performing works of the English Renaissance composer William Lawes.

This week on Continuum you'll hear the music that was used in the 1972 movie, "Henry VIII And His Six Wives", performed by the Early Music Consort of London under the direction of the legendary David Munrow. Included in the performers is Christopher Hogwood on harpsichord and regal, a Renaissance reed organ. Henry VIII was also a prolific musician and composer. His most famous composition was the song, “Pastime With Good Company”, heard on this program. This is the movie sound track originally issued on an LP in the early 1970s but re-mastered for CD.

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