Treasures from the City of Ladies
The program is titled Treasures from the City of Ladies, the “The Treasury of the City of Ladies” being a work of early feminist writer and poet Christine de Pisan. The program will be centered around two AGAR-commissioned songs arranged by Elena Mullins to the poetry of Christine de Pisan. The rest of the concert will consist of instrumental and vocal works by other early woman composers. These include: Hildegard von Bingen, Comtessa de Dia, Francesca Caccini, Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, Barbara Strozzi, and Jacquet de la Guerre, female composes who wrote between the twelfth and seventeenth centuries. The performers are Elena Mullins, soprano, David R. McCormick, vielle and baroque violin, and Anthony Harvey, Theorbo and lute.
Elena Mullins, DMA teaches early music performance and conducts a choir at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and performs regularly with well-known early music ensembles Alkemie, Apollo’s Fire, and Three Notch’d Road. Dr. Mullins was recognized as one of the country’s most promising early music performers by Early Music America in 2015. (See biography below)
Ms. Mullins has arranged two songs to the poetry of Christine de Pisan (also spelled de Pizan) a very early woman’s rights activist, writer and poet who lived from 1364 to c. 1430. De Pisan was born in Italy, then moved to France with her father and married a French courtier when she was fifteen. She had two children. Her husband died ten years after the marriage and left Christine to support her two children, her mother and a niece. De Pisan wrote prose and poetry, and is reputed to have been the first woman writer in that part of Europe to have earned a living exclusively as a writer. (Her bio from Brittanica.com follows this article, below.)
Christine de Pisan
WRITTEN BY: The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica
LAST UPDATED: 1-8-2016 See Article History
Christine de Pisan
Venice, Italy (continued next page)
“The Book of the City of Ladies”
“Le Ditié de Jehanne d’Arc”
“L’Avision de Christine”
“Le Livre des fais et bonnes meurs du sage roy Charles V”
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Christine de Pisan, (born 1364, Venice [Italy]—died c. 1430), prolific and versatile French poet and author whose diverse writings include numerous poems of courtly love, a biography of Charles V of France, and several works championing women.
Christine’s Italian father was astrologer to Charles V, and she spent a pleasant, studious childhood at the French court. At 15 she married Estienne de Castel, who became court secretary. Widowed after 10 years of marriage, she took up writing in order to support herself and her three young children. Her first poems were ballades of lost love written to the memory of her husband. These verses met with success, and she continued writing ballads, rondeaux, lays, and complaints in which she expressed her feelings with grace and sincerity. Among her patrons were Louis I, duke of Orléans; the duke of Berry; Philip II the Bold of Burgundy; Queen Isabella of Bavaria; and, in England, the 4th earl of Salisbury. In all, she wrote 10 volumes in verse, including L’Épistre au Dieu d’amours (1399; “Letter to the God of Loves”), in which she defended women against the satire of Jean de Meun in the Roman de la rose.
Christine’s prose works include Le Livre de la cité des dames (1405; The Book of the City of Ladies), in which she wrote of women known for their heroism and virtue, and Le Livre des trois vertus (1405; “Book of Three Virtues”), a sequel comprising a classification of women’s roles in medieval society and a collection of moralinstructions for women in the various social spheres. The story of her life, L’Avision de Christine (1405), told in an allegorical manner, was a reply to her detractors. At the request of the regent, Philip the Bold of Burgundy, Christine wrote the life of the deceased king, Charles—Le Livre des fais et bonnes meurs du sage roy Charles V (1404; “Book of the Deeds and Good Morals of the Wise King Charles V”), a firsthand picture of Charles V and his court. Her eight additional prose works reveal her remarkable breadth of knowledge.
After the disastrous Battle of Agincourt in 1415, she retired to a convent. Her last work, Le Ditié de Jehanne d’Arc (written in 1429), is a lyrical, joyous outburst inspired by the early victories of Joan of Arc; it is the only such French-language work written during Joan’s lifetime.” (End of Brittanica.com article)
Elena Mullins, Soprano
(soprano on this concert)
Elena Mullins, soprano and arranger, has wide-ranging interests in the field of early music. Elena has sung with Three Notch'd Road, The Newberry Consort, Apollo’s Fire, Generation Harmonique, and Quire Cleveland, and has attended the American Bach Soloists Academy, Urbino Early Music, Madison Early Music Festival, Vancouver Early Music Festival, and Settimana Musicale del Trecento in Arezzo. She is currently the director of the Case Western Reserve University Early Music Singers. Elena takes a scholarly interest in the performance practices of early repertoires, reaching back as far as the twelfth century; in 2013 she co-founded Alkemie, an ensemble specializing in medieval music for voices and instruments. A voice student of Ellen Hargis, she holds a DMA in Historical Performance Practice from CWRU and a BA in Musical Arts from the Eastman School of Music. In addition to singing and conducting, Elena is an avid performer and teacher of baroque dance, and served on the faculty of the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute last summer
David R. McCormick
(vielle, baroque violin on this concert)
Violinist and Charlottesville native David McCormick earned degrees in music education and performance from Shenandoah University and Case Western Reserve University, including specialized training in chamber music and historical performance. He is Artistic Director of Three Notch'd Baroque Ensemble of Charlottesville. David is co-founder of Three Notch’d Road and Alkemie, an ensemble that specializes in medieval and renaissance music for voices and instruments. David has also performed recently with the Duke Vespers Ensemble, The Columbian Consort (GWU faculty baroque ensemble), and the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia. David recently performed solo Bach and Biber for the lunchtime series at Church of the Epiphany in Washington, DC. David currently teaches violin and viola in Charlottesville and for the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra String School, where he also serves as ensemble conductor.
(lute and theorbo on this concert)
Anthony Harvey is Artistic Director for Middleburg Musick, Development Director for AGAR's Amherst Music Series and teaches at James Madison University. He performs regularly as soloist and as a continuo player on theorbo, baroque guitar and baroque lute. He currently performs with North Carolina Baroque Orchestra, Ensemble Vermillian, Three Notch’d Road, The Washington Bach Consort, Chatham Baroque, and co-directs James Madison University's The Valley Collegium among others. Mr. Harvey holds multiple degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied theorbo and baroque lute with Richard Stone. He has also previously served on faculty at Washington College.
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