In April of 2019 the Notre-Dame Cathedral, a landmark of Parisienne society, went up in flames. Locals watched in horror as their religious and historic "heart" burned - then the crowd spontaneously began to sing hymns in response to the ongoing tragedy. In addition to having religious meaning, the fact that the community burst into song was especially fitting as Notre-Dame has played a huge role in the development of Western Classical music starting in the 1160’s. It’s due to this institution, and the clergymen composers it housed, that we have the type of complex music that exists today.
Inspired by both the emotional reaction and historical significance, Hats + Heels came together for their Rochester, NY debut to perform “French Songs of the Seasons” - an all French composer concert where we tipped our hats to original works and arranged pieces for bassoon and harp.
- Les berceaux, Op. 23, No. 1, Gabriel Fauré
- Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, Op. 168, mvts. II & III, Camille Saint-Saëns
- O bien aimée, Marcel Grandjany
- Chants d’arrière-saison, Bernard Andrès
- Pièce, Gabriel Faure
For this virtual recital, we paired each piece of music with artwork or lyrics, presented on an overhead screen for viewers to see. Les berceaux and Sonata for Bassoon & Piano were paired with French impressionists paintings, which is appropriate for the time frame, while the art song O bien aimée had the original lyrics spoken and displayed.
The longest piece, Chants d’arrière-saison, included seven brief movements for which we commissioned a young artist, Cathrine Oldfield, to develop seven original paintings reflecting the title “Songs of Seasons Past.”
For the final work, Pièce, we shared a series of sketches and paintings depicting Notre-Dame Cathedral over the centuries.
FRENCH SONGS OF THE SEASON
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French Songs of the Season