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

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.

“Sumer Is Icumen In” (also called the Summer Canon and the Cuckoo Song) is a medieval English round song of the mid-13th century. This rota is the oldest known musical composition featuring six-part polyphony and is possibly the oldest surviving example of independent melodic counterpoint. It is featured on this week's Continuum along with other 13th century English music. CD recordings used will be Sumer Is Icumen In (The Hilliard Ensemble) - Chandos CHAN 9396, and Miri It Is (The Dufay Collective) - Harmonia Mundi HMA 1951154.

This week, Continuum features The Queen’s Delight, a special music program devoted to the 17th century English ballads and dances of the time of Elizabeth I. You’ll hear music by John Dowland, William Byrd, Thomas Robinson and, of course, the inimitable Anonymous, performed by members of The King’s Noyse early music ensemble. Also included are songs and dances from Shakespeare performed by The Broadside Band.

The unicorn is a legendary animal that has been described since antiquity. But it is also the name of an outstanding early music group from Europe, The Unicorn Ensemble, heard on this Continuum. The musicians are from Austria, Italy and Germany and specialize in playing historical instruments in fascinating programs, full of variety and played with artistry and great refinement.

On Continuum this week will be a special program devoted Gregorian Chant, from a ten-CD set of the History of Music. Specifically, this volume covers musical Europe in the era of Gregorian unification. Gregorian chant developed mainly in western and central Europe during the 9th and 10th centuries, with later additions and redactions. Although popular legend credits Pope St. Gregory the Great with inventing Gregorian chant, scholars believe that it arose from a later Carolingian synthesis of Roman chant and Gallican chant.

This week on Continuum you’ll hear two very different performances of the earliest known song cycle, Cantigas de Amigo, (Songs of a Friend) by the mid 13th century Galician-Portuguese troubadour composer, Martin Codax. These love songs were composed to be sung by women. This is one of the few collections of medieval compositions by a known composer, of whom almost nothing is known. But, obviously he is very special to his present countrymen since Martin Codax wine is one of the best being produced in Galicia today!

The "La, La, La, La"  name of this week's Continuum program is based on the names of the four CDs featured on the program, all beginning with "La". These are four very different selections of early music, each with a different early music ensemble. The CDs used are: La Folia (Jordi Savall et al) - Alia Vox AV 9805; La Messe  des Fous (Barry Hayward Consort) - BNL112746; La Dolce Vita (King's Singers & Tragicomedia) - EMI CDC  7 541 91 2; and La Bele Marie (Anonymous 4) - Harmonia Mundi HMU 907312.

The instrumental consort music of English 17th century composer Anthony Holborne will be featured this week on Continuum. You'll hear many of his dances, including pavans, galliards and almaynes with interesting titles including "The Honeysuckle" and "The Fairie Round." The outstanding performances will be given by The King's Noyse under the director of David Douglas. Recording used is: My Selfe - The Music of Anthony Holborne (The King's Noyse) - Harmonia Mundi HMU 907238.

This week on Continuum you'll hear medieval music related to the 12th century Celtic legend of Tristan and Isolde. It is this legend that inspired Richard Wagner to write his monumental music drama. 

With Spring now officially with us Continuum celebrates the new season with a special program of early English Music featuring a live performance by The Folger Consort of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. You'll hear "It Was a Lover and His Lass", "Daphne" and many other appropriate to the coming of Spring. Recordings used are: When Birds Do Sing (The Folger Consort) - Bard BDCD 1-9207 and William Byrd - Virginals & Consorts (Capriccio Stravagante) - Auvidis E 8611.

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