Colin Rivera, Staff Writer
The Music @ Noon series started strong this semester with performers showing audience members seven ways of getting drunk. Love, wine, and hate are among the subjects of the composition, originally created by Augusta Holmès, and performed by Laura Aguero and Marva Duerksen, Ph.D. Both of the musicians work at Willamette University in Oregon.
Aguero and Duerksen began their performance with a short history of Augusta Holmès, a French composer who lived in the latter half of the 19th century. Women in music at that time were not taken seriously, so when Holmès began to publish her work, she used the name Hermann Zenta. She later published under her own name and was complimented for the masculinity of her compositions. In 1882, Holmès composed “Les Sept Ivresses” translated to “Seven Ways of Being Drunk.”
The seven sources from which one can become drunk are: love, wine, glory, hate, dream, desire, and gold, with each having an accompanying ballad and piano arrangement. The first piece, L’amour, covers the subject of love and how it makes one feel both child-like and god-like. Le Vin is about wine and the author’s desire to let the drink overtake and kill her. La Gloire, or glory, is about receiving praise from an audience and how it can inflate one’s ego so much that they feel greater than the gods. La Haine takes the feelings of hate and sends them like daggers at an unnamed person who has wronged the author. Le Rêve is about two lovers that can only meet within the confines of a dream. Le Dèsir expresses the pain of those who have died, and their inability to fulfill their greatest desires. In the final poem, L’Or, a great calamity strikes, and from it, gold is born.
After the production, audience members were encouraged to ask the performers questions. One interesting detail brought up by a viewer, was that in the first and fifth poems, L’Amour and Le Rêve, the song’s affection is targeted at an undisclosed “she.” The audience and performers speculated on the reason for assuming this detail. Holmès may have had an affection for another woman or she had simply written the piece in that voice to be more like the male composers who would have been her contemporaries. The pair of musicians, when asked about how long they had practiced, explained that they practiced the act for about a year. Duerksen offered an anecdote, saying that her teenage child had come up to her and asked her why she kept playing the same piece over and over again, to which she responded, “it’s called practicing.” Darrell Born, B.M., brought attention to the amount of practice required, telling the audience that the ability to perform all seven operatic pieces in a row without faltering was a sight to behold. The pianist and soprano played off each other in a way which displayed the importance of both components.
This is only the first of three Music @ Noon recitals of the semester. The next one is on Feb. 18 and will feature bass player Nick Masters. After that, on March 17, Randy Linder will be doing his Creedence Clearwater Revival Tribute. Both of these events will be held in Kreielsheimer Hall Room 105.