“Miserere of the Pines” by Lucy Virginia French, from “The Learned Ladies”
Join us in a revisitation of Lucy Virginia French’s famous poem, “Miserere of the Pines.” Mrs. French finds echoes of both songs of jubilation and funereal anthems in the “stately, solemn, swelling miserere of the Pines.” In the words of one of Mrs. French’s critics of the time: “[You will] find [y]ourself floating away on a tide of rippling rhyme— forgetful of all but the delicious motion, and the silvery ‘tintinnabulation.'”
The companion piece is a multi-layered song by Amy Beach, called “Le Secret,” with French and English lyrics, which also finds deeply hidden meaning in what appears to be a simple love song.
“The Learned Ladies” is a new musical internet series featuring stories, songs, poems and essays from obscure women composers and forgotten women authors of the past. Award-winning actress Elise Dewsberry plays southern belle Ann Reeves Jarvis as she welcomes us into her pre-Civil-War music room, introducing us to women authors and composers, like an antebellum “Masterpiece Theatre.” Mrs. Jarvis first tells us a little about the featured woman author’s background and literary bent, and then regales us with a reading, followed by a song.
We urge you to invest some time with the words and music celebrated not only in this episode of “The Learned Ladies,” but with the entire series at www.nmi.org/online