Women’s voices resonate through classical music
Women’s voices, stories, and emotions in all their diversity will be the focus of a special musical event. Snapshots of Love and Life will present works by and about women – exploring an idealised domestic fantasy, a real-life musical marriage, and a contemporary feminist response to both.
Classical ensemble Seraphim Trio will perform with guest Lorina Gore, acclaimed Helpmann and Green Room award-winning Australian soprano. The concert will take place on Saturday 15 July as part of the Elder Conservatorium of Music’s 2023 series Awakenings at the University of Adelaide.
Audiences will be treated to three carefully curated and contrasting works, including two song cycles, in an evening of thought-provoking classical music sure to mesmerise.
“The song cycle can be an intensely personal vehicle, and in its greatest iterations has often been used both to exalt romantic love, and then to lament its loss, through betrayal or distance or bereavement,” said Professor Anna Goldsworthy, Director of Elder Conservatorium of Music and a member of Seraphim Trio.
“Schumann’s Frauenliebe und leben, to a series of poems by Adelbert von Chamisso, is one of music’s most tender expressions of romantic love, and I have always adored it.
“However, its overriding message of a woman’s life being redeemed by marriage sits at odds with a contemporary sensibility. As a performer, I feel transported by this cycle; as a feminist I feel a trifle uneasy.”
“The song cycle can be an intensely personal vehicle, and in its greatest iterations has often been used both to exalt romantic love, and then to lament its loss, through betrayal or distance or bereavement."Professor Anna Goldsworthy, Director of Elder Conservatorium of Music and a member of Seraphim Trio
Robert Schumann’s song cycle Frauenliebe und leben was written in 1840 and presents the perspective of a woman whose life revolves purely around her home and her husband, in an idealised domestic fantasy fitting of the 19th century.
Yet, as Professor Goldsworthy expressed: “It would be a tremendous loss to retire such a work from the repertoire, but perhaps some context can be added.”
The song cycle Snapshots of Love and Life, written by Anne Cawrse and Professor Goldsworthy, was born out of this uncomfortable disconnect and will be performed for the very first time in public at the evening concert.
“Anne Carwse and myself have penned a more contemporary version of a woman’s life, speaking of romantic love and its loss, but then moving into regions beyond, of ambivalence, grief, autonomy, and – yes – ongoing love. Schumann’s beautiful cycle remained a lodestar for us both,” said Professor Goldsworthy, who composed the lyrics that will be performed by Lorina Gore’s extraordinary soprano.
Audiences will also relish listening to Piano Trio by Clara Schuman, which was written during a desperately difficult time in Clara’s life, after she suffered a miscarriage and while her husband’s health seriously deteriorated. This beautiful chamber composition – often referred to as Clara’s ‘masterpiece’ – predated her husband’s first in the same genre by a year.
Seraphim Trio – Helen Ayres (violin), Tim Nankervis (cello) and Anna Goldsworthy (piano).
Lorina Gore (soprano).
Saturday 15 July, 6.30pm–8.30pm.
Elder Hall, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000.
Click here for tickets.