Augusta Holmès – Andromède
(b. Paris, 16. December 1847 – d. Paris, 28. Januar 1903)
Poème Symphonique (1901)
A preface on Andromède, Augusta Holmès’s last fully composed and premiered symphonic poem, obligatorily needs to account for her early and mid-career feats as context for her late-career. Greatly successful in her own time, yet erased from conventional music history narratives during the twentieth century, Augusta Holmès constellates among the lots of accomplished composers, and more specifically women composers. Born in 1847 to Irish immigrants who lived in Paris and, later, Versailles, Holmès’s familial rank placed her from early age at the heart of high artistic circles in France. Her orchestral and choir and orchestra compositions reach the number of 22, among them the prize winning Lutèce (1877), all imprinting a large-canvas and triumphant aesthetics to her music.1 She also drafted four operas, one of them, La Montagne Noire, completed in 1895 and premiered at the Paris Ópera—one of the few operas by a woman to reach that stage. An accomplished poet and composer, Holmès wrote the vast majority of the texts that accompany her compositions. Adept of Parnassianism and mothering the children of no other than the French poet Catulle Mendès, her prowess for writing has root in her godfather, the acclaimed French poet, Alfred de Vigny. The relationship of Vigny and Holmès dates back to her early-childhood and continued on until his death in 1863.
Holmès’s career took flight around 1868–9, when a soirée hosted by her and Major Holmes forever marked the memories of young emerging artists such as Villars Adam L’Isle, Henri Regnault, Cazalis, and other prominent artists, writers and poets, all assiduous frequenters of Major Holmes’s salon.2 Memoirs and newspaper articles, penned by these artists who were guests at the Holmes’s, verse upon an evening when Holmès enchanted all with her voice and compositions. Fans of Richard Wagner, Holmès, together with her father and Camille Saint-Saëns, contributed to the intronization of Richard Wagner’s music and philosophical aesthetics in Paris through their evening gatherings in Versailles. In these soirées, Holmès befriended young Camille Saint-Saëns, who became her life-long friend and admirer. She was l’outrancière, the outrageous, and Saint-Saëns, who coined this epithet, accurately translated her impetus as a fierce woman for her time…
Read full preface / Das ganze Vorwort lesen> HERE