This week marked the official centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, so it seems only appropriate that we feature music from Lori Laitman’s song cycle Are Women People? on this edition of The Art Song Fix.
The text from the third movement, Take Pity, is excerpted from an 1894 speech delivered by Susan B. Anthony:
Now, women, if you haven’t any self-respect for yourselves, you should at least take pity on the men associated with you in your good works.
The singers perform a cappella without the support of piano accompaniment, perhaps a reflection of the lack of support early suffragettes may have felt for their cause.
Ironically the men sing the first notes of the song but thereafter echo the words uttered by the women, as if they immediately assume they have all of the answers but in reality only repeat the ideas of their female counterparts. The bass makes one final plea for pity at the end of the song, a humorous take on men finding a way to make women’s suffrage all about them.
You can hear the final movement of Are Women People? on our July 3 Art Song Fix, a setting of the text of the 19th Amendment itself.
Fourth Coast recorded the full song cycle in studio in January 2020, and we can’t wait to share the record with you upon its official release.
This week's #artsongfix is a two-for-one! Lori Laitman's setting of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, followed immediately by the quartet's a cappella encore of America the Beautiful. The 19th Amendment is the last movement of Lori Laitman's song cycle Are Women People?, jointly commissioned by Eastman School of Music and the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership.
Speaking live at this concert, ensemble tenor Ace Gangoso said:
While we’ve had this legislation for a hundred years now, the work towards women's equality and women’s rights still marches onward. And on a broader scale, there are people in our nation who feel persecuted and who feel that for simply being who they are, their livelihood and even their lives are at stake. It’s a message of the work that is yet to be done.
Since this November 9, 2019 performance, Fourth Coast Ensemble has recorded the cycle in studio with pianists Maria Sumareva and Andrew Rosenblum for inclusion on Laitman's next CD release.
Hello, and welcome to the blog! We are Fourth Coast Ensemble, Chicago's classical vocal quartet. Join a different member of our ensemble each week for insights into our favorite art songs, links to archival and new recordings, and reflections on why we value and continue to come back to this musical medium. We proudly present, your weekly #artsongfix!