• Eternal Feminine Podcast Series

    Amice Calverley

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    In this episode of The Eternal Feminine Podcast Series, we discuss Canadian composer Amice Calverley (1896-1959). Born in London (UK) to Edmund Leveson Calverley and Sybil (née Salvin) Calverley, Amice and her family ultimately settled in Oakville, Ontario (Canada) in 1912. Calverley studied composition under famed composers Healey Willan and Ralph Vaughan Williams before pursuing a career in archaeology. Her entire body of compositions (mostly from her studies with Willan) have been entrusted to the care of the Canadian Music Centre in Toronto by her niece, Sybil Rampen.

    We were very fortunate to interview Ms. Rampen, who offered a unique perspective on Calverley’s life and works.

    Listen to the full podcast to hear excerpts from our interview with Ms. Rampen, as well as our recording of Calverley’s delightful Cradle Song.

    Watch the full video interview with Ms. Rampen here.

    Read more about Calverley in “Inter-National Treasure.”

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  • Eternal Feminine Series - Featured Work,  The Eternal Feminine

    Calverley – Featured Work

    Cradle Song

    Text by Amice Calverley (1896-1959)
    (Some punctuation added by Daniella Theresia)

    The big, round sun has gone to bed
    with rosy pillows for his head.
    Sleep, my little son, too,
    In your cradle beribboned with blue.

    The silver stars are shining bright
    Watching in heaven all night they peep.
    Hush-a-bye, rock-a-bye, lull-a-bye, sleep
    While Mother watches you.

    The pale, tired moon must go to rest
    Where dawn glow climbs the earth’s dark crest.
    Wake! my little son, wake!
    Your eyes unlock, your dimpled fists shake.

    The nice, clean world is bathed in dew
    My baby shall his bath too, and play
    Pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, fold his hand, pray
    Dear Lord, bless us this day.

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  • Eternal Feminine Podcast Series

    “Memories of Amice” – An interview with Sybil Rampen

    Please enjoy our interview with Sybil Rampen speaking about her aunt, Amice Calverley, recorded via Zoom on October 19, 2020.

    Ms. Rampen shared some fascinating and candid insights into Calverley’s life and works, which we are delighted to share with you here.

    Read more about Amice Calverley in “Inter-National Treasure.”

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  • Eternal Feminine Podcast Series

    Poldowski (Régine Wieniawski)

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    In this episode of The Eternal Feminine Podcast Series, we discuss Polish/British pianist and composer Poldowski (1879-1932). A woman of many names, Poldowski was born Irena Régine (Regina) Wieniawski in Belgium to an English mother (Isabella Wieniawski née Hampton) and the famous Polish violinist Henryk (Henri) Wieniawski. Young Régine showed musical talent at a young age and was the only one of her siblings to become a musician. She eventually married into the English aristocracy (thus becoming Lady Dean Paul), and made a name for herself as a sensitive composer of many genres, particularly in her setting of French poetry.

    Listen to the full podcast for more insight into this somewhat elusive figure and hear our live recording of her poignant work Berceuse d’Armorique, which she wrote after the death of her young son.

    To learn more about Poldowski’s famously colorful family, check out From Tsars to Stars.”

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  • Eternal Feminine Podcast Series,  Eternal Feminine Series - Featured Work

    Poldowski – Featured Work

    Berceuse d’Armorique

    text: Anatole le Braz, 1892
    translation: Suzanne Yeo

    Dors, petit enfant, dans ton lit bien clos:
    Dieu prenne en pitié les matelots!
    Chante ta chanson, chante, bonne vieille!
    La lune se lève et la mer s’éveille.
    Sleep, little child in your closed bed:
    May God take pity on the good sailors!
    Sing your song, sing old woman!
    The moon rises and the sea awakens.
    Au pays du Froid, la boule des fiords
    Chante sa berceuse en berçant les morts.
    Chante ta chanson, chante, bonne vieille!
    La lune se lève et la mer s’éveille.
    In the land of the cold, the swell of the fjords
    Sings its lullaby as it rocks the dead.
    Sing your song, sing old woman!
    The moon rises and the sea awakens.
    Dors, petit enfant, dans ton lit bien doux,
    Car tu t’en iras comme ils s’en vont tous.
    Chante ta chanson, chante, bonne vieille!
    La lune se lève et la mer s’éveille.
    Sleep little child, in your soft bed,
    For you will go as they all do.
    Sing your song, sing old woman!
    The moon rises and the sea awakens.
    Tes yeux ont déjà la couleur des flots.
    Dieu prenne en pitié les bons matelots!
    Chante ta chanson, chante, bonne vieille!
    La lune se lève et la mer s’éveille.
    Your eyes are already the colour of the waves.
    May God have pity on the good sailors!
    Sing your song, sing old woman!
    The moon rises and the sea awakens.

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  • Eternal Feminine Podcast Series

    “From Tsars to Stars”

    Irena Régine Wieniawski (aka Poldowski) came from a world-famous line of musicians. Her father, Henryk Wieniawski (1835 – 1880), was steeped in music from birth and from a young age, made a name for himself as both a violinist and composer. He embarked on extensive world tours, often accompanied by his brother Joseph, an equally accomplished and respected concert pianist and composer. It was through his friend and colleague Anton Rubinstein, the celebrated pianist, that Henryk met the Hampton family in London and fell passionately in love with their daughter, Isabella. Isabella’s mother looked kindly on the match – her brother was a famous Irish pianist by the name of George Osborne, and so perhaps she felt more comfortable with yet another musician in the family. But Isabella’s father was more hesitant to accept this vivacious violinist into the family.

    A romantic story tells of Henryk Wieniawski finally winning over his future father-in-law by playing his own composition Légende on the violin and gaining his approval. But a more realistic account states that Mr. Hampton only consented to the marriage after insisting that Henryk take out a substantial life insurance policy and stop touring so much in favor of settling into the responsibilities of married life. Henryk and Isabella eventually married in Paris in August 1860 with quite the wedding party! Rubinstein had the privilege of walking Isabella down the aisle, while the opera composer Gioacchino Rossini served as witness and Belgian composer and violinist Henri Vieuxtemps provided the music. Henryk and Isabella then moved to St. Petersburg, where he had been engaged as the court musician. There, Henryk continued to compose, perform, and teach. He imparted a particular bowing technique to his students, which many still use today when playing particularly difficult staccato passages. Sadly, Henryk developed a heart condition and died, while on tour, at the young age of 44 years old.

    In 1896, Isabella moved her young family of four children back to London, and our story of Régine Wieniawski begins. It seems that Régine held her father’s same zest for life and music, but that didn’t preclude the rest of the family from living intriguing lives. Régine’s older sister Henryka Klaudyna (Henrietta Claudine) married an American stockbroker named Joseph Loring, who was aboard the Titanic during its doomed voyage across the Atlantic. After hearing news of his death, Henrietta booked her own passage to New York on the Carmania, from which she cast flowers into the sea near the site of the Titanic‘s sinking. This poignant scene inspired a New York Times article entitled “Flowers for the Ocean Grave,” which may in turn have have inspired the painting Le supreme adieu, by the French artist Rene Achille Rousseau-Decelle. In the painting, Henrietta is shown casting flowers into the sea, with icebergs floating placidly in the background.

    Régine’s children also led high-profile lives, they became part of a social circle in 1920s London known as the Bright Young Things. This group consisted mainly of young aristocrats and socialites who enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle of fancy dress parties, elaborate treasure hunts, and a (somewhat less salutary) fondness for hard drugs. This lifestyle didn’t work out entirely well for Régine’s daughter, Brenda Dean Paul, an early “It Girl” and celebrated beauty who later became notorious as an opiate user, jailbird, and failed actress.

    Meanwhile, Régine’s son, Brian Dean Paul, earned his nickname “Napper” from his tendency to fall asleep in doorways due to his drug use. He seemed to continue the family tendency to be well-connected with the arts scene – he was a good friend of Lucian Freud and even had his portrait painted by him in 1954! Brian Dean Paul led an apparently less eventful life than his sister, living out his days quietly until his death in 1972, which also marked the end of the Paul baronetcy.

    More first-hand information about the goings on of the Bright Young Things can be found in the novel Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh. Waugh moved in the same circles and it is said that Brenda Dean Paul inspired at least one character in the novel. (Stephen Fry created a film adaptation called Bright Young Things in 2003, featuring such celebrated actors as Peter O’Toole, Stockard Channing, Emily Mortimer, David Tennant, and Michael Sheen.)

    As for Régine herself, it seems that in addition to her musical creations, she also dabbled in fashion at one point (possibly after separating from her husband, although the dates and circumstances are unclear). Régine set herself up as a dressmaker for society ladies and some of her clients were even members of the royal family, but she had to wind up the business when it started taking a toll on her health. Her sudden and early death prompted many tributes from fellow musicians and critics alike, speaking to her much-loved personality as well as to her musical contributions.

    From tsars to stars, just imagine how many lives would have been changed had Mr. Hampton not approved that initial marriage between Henryk and Isabella!

    -Daniella Theresia Teodoro-Dier
    July 2020

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