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 "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.

A collection of dances from the Middle Ages will be heard on this week's Continuum. Featured will be dances, particularly estampies, from 13th Century England, 14th Century France, as well as Renaissance lute dances from Italy performed by Early Instrument Ensemble Loinhdana and lutenist Ronn McFarlane. Recordings used are: Estampies et Danses Royales du Moyen Age (Loinhdana) - Pierre Verany PV.790043 and Between Twos Hearts (Ronn McFarlane, lute) - Dorian DOR

Continuum presents a recording of The Llibre Vermell, "The Red Book", the name given to the 14th century manuscript found in the library of the monastery of Montserrat in Spain. This manuscript is bound in red velvet and contains ten pilgrim songs and dances that probably would have been known by the pilgrims traveling to that monastery in the Middle Ages. The manuscript was prepared approximately in 1399. It originally contained 172 double pages, of which 32 have been lost. No composer is identified for any of the ten songs it contains.

"Ensemble für frühe Musik Augsburg", the great early music ensemble from Augsburg, Germany is featured on this week's Continuum. This is Part I of a series of programs devoted to the ensembles many CD recordings. Recordings used will be: "Camino de Santiago" - Christophorus CHR 74530, "Melancolia: Tears of the Soul" - Christophorus CHR 77225, and "Neidhart von Reuental" - Christophorus CD 77108.

On this Continuum you'll hear a special program devoted to the art of the recorder in early music presented by the legendary short-lived David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London. In the 1970s Munrow had the talent of playing a wide variety of early instruments particularly the recorder for which he became quite famous. His English style of discreet, controlled expression contrasts with the greater tonal flexibility of the Continental style of that period. Recordings used are from The Art of the Recorder — Testament SBT2 1368 — a 2 CD set.

On this Continuum you'll hear dance music of the Renaissance by three major composers of the 17th century: Thoinot Arbeau of France, and William Byrd and John Playford of England. Among the dances heard will be branles, basse dances and pavans. Recordings used are; "Danses Populairies Francaises," performed by The Broadside Band - Harmonia Mundi HMA 1951152, and "William Byrd - Virginals & Consorts," performed by Capriccio Stravagante under the direction of New Orleanian Skip Sempe - Auvidis E 8611.

Excerpts from the medieval musical, "The Play of Robin and Marion", is featured on this Continuum. Composed by the 13th century trouvère Adam de la Halle, this pastoral work is considered by some to be one of the first operas written. The recording is an historic live performance given in 1984 by musicians of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, the famous early music school in Basel, Switzerland. CD is "Le Jeu de Robin et Marion", Focus 913.

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