Formerly Houston
Harpsichord Society

Souvenir Romantique

Win a night of romance for yourself and your sweetheart from KUHF and Houston Early Music! In addition to concert tickets for Souvenir Romantique, the winning couple will receive a suite at the Wyndham Warwick Hotel for Feb. 14, dinner in the hotel's Hunt Room, Godiva chocolates from Chocolates, Etc. roses from Teas Nursery, an aromatherapy basket from Lucia's Garden, and champagne courtesy of Bert Wheeler's. Please call 713-432-1744 for details.


Mireille Lagace and Genevieve Soly, Harpsichordists

with Roxanne Shaw and Dean Dalton, actors

"Souvenir Romantique"

Saturday, February 14, 1998, 8:00 p.m.
St. Luke's United Methodist Church, Parish Hall

What could be more enchanting than an intimate candlelight concert for Valentine's Day? Hear the splendor and magnificence of music of the French baroque performed on two harpsichords interspersed by exquisite French poems of love -- an evening for the sense.

Program Souvenir Romantique

Almande, Courante and Gigue
Gaspard Le Roux (? - 1707)
Mireille Lagacé and Geneviève Soly

Reading from Le Misanthrope
Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin,1622-1673)
Roxanne Shaw and Dean Dalton

Gavotte, Manuets I and II
Gaspard Le Roux
Mireille Lagacé and Geneviève Soly

Reading from Le Misanthrope

Allemande (9e Ordre, Livre II, 1717)
François Couperin (1688-1733)
L'Amphibie (Mouvement de Passacaille) (24e Ordre, Livre IV, 1730)
Mireille Lagacé

Muséte de Choisy (15e Ordre, livre III, 1722)
Muséte de Taverny
Mireille Lagacé and Geneviève Soly


La Julliet (14e Ordre, Livre III)
François Couperin
La Létiville (16e Ordre, Livre III)
Mireille Lagacé and Geneviève Soly

Reading from Le Misanthrope

Les Tendres Plaintes (Rondeau)
Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
Les Cyclopes (Rondeau)
Geneviève Soly

Reading from Le Misanthrope

Simphone de clavecins
Armand-Louis Couperin (1727-1789)
Allegro moderato - Andante - Presto
Mireille Lagacé and Geneviève Soly

Program Notes - "Souvenir Romantique"

Not much is known of the life of Gaspard Le Roux, celebrated "maistre de musique" who flourished in the late seventeenth century, during the time when French harpsichord music came into its own. The lute-based style of this body of keyboard music is especially apparent in le Roux's slower dance movements' his faster pieces do more to anticipate the eighteenth century. His 1705 Pièces de clavessin are notable not only for their sophistication but for their utility: Le Roux arranged most of them for trio, publishing the transcription directly beneath the keyboard version of each piece. In addition to this option, one can also (following the composer's instructions) perform certain of the pieces in versions for two harpsichords.

François Couperin's Pieces de clavecin (published 1713-30) are perhaps the most idiomatic works ever written for the harpsichord. Unlike the keyboard music of Bach, Scarlatti, or Handl, Couperin's oeuvre is not at all suited to the piano, and while his reputation has never been in doubt, the infrequent performance of his music is ample proof that his music does not travel well. It was fashionable in early eighteenth-centry France to give harpsichord pieces whimsical titles whose meaning requires a bit of historical "unpacking." One of Couperin's most ambitious keyboard pieces, L'Amphibie ("The Amphibious One") refers not to the croaky creatures whose legs are a delicacy in French restaurants, but rather to what we today might call a dissembler--an individual whose character (like Couperin's veritable scène de ballet) changes at the drop of a hat. The two-keyboard musettes are, in contrast, pastoral pieces that evoke the rustic flavor of two favorite haunts: Choisi was the home of Couperin's student, the Princess de Conti, and Taverny the domicile of the Duke d'Orléans, the future Regent.

Jean-Phillipe Rameau--composer, theorist, harpsichordist, and notorious crank (if Diderot's famous caricature has even a grain of truth)--was a man consumed by his art. Though more interested in writing music for the stage, Rameau found time for harpsichord music several times in his long life. Les Tendres Plaintes and Les Cyclopes show the extremes of his theatrical style: from a lover's tender complaints to the raw power of the notorious one-eyed monster.

Armand-Louis Couperin, second cousin to François, compsoed in the same genres as his forbears but in a much less rigorous manner. His harpsichord works (published c1751) span the gamut from intimacy to exhibitionism, reflecting the simpler musical style of his time. The Simphonie de clavecins, perhaps his most extraordinary work, exploits the unique dynamic possibilities of the late eighteenth-century French harpsichord.

Dr. Matthew Dirst


Mireille Lagacé

Madame Mireille Lagacé was born in 1935 near Montreal, Province of Quebec, she studied organ with Anton Heiller in Vienna and Bernard Lagacé in Montreal. A prize and medal winner in the Munich and Geneva International Organ Competition in 1962, she was also finalist in Geneva as a Harpsichordist in 1965. After her return from Europe in 1957, she became a member of the Montreal group of organists, known as Ars Organi, which has been very active in the Organ Reform Movement in North America. Married to the organist Bernard Lagacé, she has been the guiding influence in the next generation of musicians in the Lagacé family -- her daughter Geneviève Soly.

A frequent performer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Les Grands Concerts, Mireille Lagacé has been a featured recitalist at organists' conventions including those in Barrie, Ontario, Charlotte, North Carolina, Boston, Massachusetts, Fort Collins, Colorado, Ottawa, and Halifax. She has also given recitals for summer festivals such as the Ninth Vancouver Festival, the CBC Toronto Festival, and the CBC Mount Orford Festival. During Expo 67, she performed for a week at the Canadian Pavilion Theatre on a Casavant tracker organ. She has recorded for Madrigal and Baroque and the CBC International Service.

Currently a member of the Music Faculty of the New England Conservatory in Boston, where she has taught organ since 1970, she is also Professor of harpsichord at the Conservatoire de musique de Québec in Montréal since 1973 and has given many master classes, including the Union Theological Seminary, New York. Her teaching activities also include Baroque Music at Cammac Music Centre in the Laurentians, harpsichord at Mount Orford Camp des Jeunesses

Geneviève Soly

As a student of Mireille and Bernard Lagacé at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, Madame Soly obtained at the age of 18, First Prize in Performance (unanimous). After she was awarded First Prize at the Royal Canadian College of Organists' John Robb Competition and Second Prize at the Paul Hofhaimer International Organ Competition in Innsbruck, she studied in Europe with Gustav Leonhardt, and Kenneth Gilbert. In 1992, she successfully completed a Doctorate in performance at the University of Montreal as she kept directing the Baroque music society les Idées heureuses which she founded in 1987. Invited to perform at the International Festival of Quebec, and in festivals at Lanaudière, Lamèque, and Debut Atlantic, she has also recorded numerous recitals for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and SRC. She can be found on the Analekta label. Harpsichordists for I Musici de Montréal for seven years, she has also been heard with les Violons du Roy, Le Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, and the Chicago Brass Quintet.

Dean Dalton

Well-known as the producer and host of The Morning Show, Houston in Concert, and broadcast concerts by the Houston Symphony on KUHF Radio and of the station's popular European Opera Tours, Dean Dalton found his way into broadcasting after completing a masters degree in voice and choral conducting. During ten years in Washington, D.C., he also wrote on music and the arts for the Washingtonian and the Washington post, lectured regularly at the Smithsonian Institution, was an arts critic on both radio and television, and conducted an a capella choir specializing in renaissance music. After four years of commuting between Washington and rural North Carolina, where he restored an antebellum plantation house, Dean landed in Houston. Having directed human rights programs at the Rothko Chapel and produced musical activities both there and for the grand opening of the Menil Collection, he was invited in 1989 to join the staff at KUHF. He is also Music Director at First Unitarian Universalist Church and, when time permits, does a bit of acting.

Instruments Used in Performance

The harpsichords used in this evening's performance were built by Gerald Self and are both double manual harpsichords that are Franco-Flemish in design. That is, each is patterned after a 17th-century instrument by the famed builder Ioannes Ruckers of Antwerp that was later enlarged, rebuilt, and redecorated in Paris in the 18th century in a process that was termed grande ravalement. This process preserved the prized soundboard from the Flemish instruments and at the same time allowed for music with a greater range to be performed through the enlargement of the keyboard. The two instruments are alike in that they were built from the same drawing and have the same FF-g''' compass. But there are significant differences: the blue harpsichord was built entirely of European wood in 1986; the green instrument, begun in 1994, contains only American wood.

The harpsichords are tuned to A415 using Wergmeister III temperament. They both have two keyboards with two sets of eight foot strings and one set of four foot strings which may be played individually or may all be coupled together for a large, grand sound. In addition, each possess a buff stop which mutes the tone.

Special Thanks

Houston Early Music wishes to express its deepest thanks to the following people and businesses who have helped make this event a success:

Mr. William Coffman and Ms. Lisa Reed, of Tindall and Foster
Mr. Dean Dalton, KUHF Radio
Dr. Matthew Dirst, The University of Houston
Ms. Tiggy Garrett
Holt Antiques - candelabra
Ms. Robin McCorquodale
Dr. Deborah Nelson, Rice University, consultant on French literature
Mrs. Don Rosenberger
Ms. Eva Rosencranz, host for Madame Lagacé
Ms. Roxanne Shaw, Kinkaid School
University of Houston School of Theater - candelabra

In addition, the organization would like to extend its appreciation to the following businesses who so generously supported the "Evening of Romance" contest which was cosponsored by KUHF Radio:

Bert Wheelers' Beverages, Kerry Furman
Chocolates, Etc., Georgia Hinderer
Lucia's Garden, Lucia Bettler
Teas Nursery, Diann Teas
The Wyndham Warwick Hotel, Mr. Mike Stock

Copyright 1996-9 by Houston Early Music 
P.O. Box 271193 | Houston TX 77277-1193 | Phone 713-432-1744 |