Holme Pierrepont Opera Trust.
Opera company formed in 1979, based at Holme Pierrepont Hall near Nottingham; in 1985 it became the touring company Opera Restor'd.
(b London, 9 Nov 1837; d Paris, 4 March 1876). English violinist and composer, brother of Henry Holmes. He and his brother studied the violin with their father and made their début together at the Haymarket Theatre on 13 July 1847 in a duet arrangement of the overture to Auber’s Masaniello. In 1852 they played duets by Spohr for the composer, who was then in London. European tours in 1855 and 1856 took them to Brussels (where they won the praise of Bériot and Léonard), and a number of German cities; in Kassel they again met Spohr who, in recognition of their outstanding playing of his works, dedicated to them the three grand duos opp.148, 150 and 153. Spohr’s magnificent Guadagnini violin of 1780 was later owned by Alfred and Henry in turn. In autumn 1864 they arrived in Paris, where Alfred settled permanently; under the aegis of the Ministry of Public Education he organized a series of Sunday fortnightly concerts early in 1866 ‘to encourage a taste for classical art among the numerous scholars of public institutions’. He then devoted himself to concert touring and composing. His first symphony, Jeanne d’Arc, for solo voices, chorus and orchestra, was first performed at St Petersburg in 1867; other programmatic symphonies include The Siege of Paris and Robin Hood (both performed in Paris in 1870), Charles XII, Romeo and Juliet and The Youth of Shakespeare. He also wrote two concert overtures, The Cid (performed at the Crystal Palace on 21 February 1874) and The Muses, an opera Inez de Castro (1869), accepted by the Opéra but never staged, and piano music and songs.
W.H. HUSK/ALBERT MELL
Holmès [Holmes], Augusta (Mary Anne)
(b Paris, 16 Dec 1847; d Paris, 28 Jan 1903). French composer of Irish parentage. She became naturalized French after 1871, when she adopted the distinctive accent in her name. Some of her early works were written under the pseudonym Hermann Zenta. She was brought up in Versailles and showed an early talent for music, poetry and painting. She was encouraged by her godfather, the poet Alfred de Vigny, one of several artistic personalities with whom her parents were in contact at the time. According to a rumour that Holmès did little to dispel in later life, he was also her natural father. Another rumour has it that the composer’s mother forbade her interest in music and that, despairing, the young girl tried to kill herself. She trained in the subject nonetheless: with ‘Mlle Peyronnet’, a local pianist (about whom little is known); Henri Lambert, organist of Versailles cathedral; and Hyacinthe Klosé.
Holmès’s first compositions were performed locally; by 1875, however, she had moved into Parisian circles, becoming a well-known advocate of Wagner and one of Franck’s disciples. Here, again, it is difficult to distinguish fact from fable, though it is likely that she studied composition with Franck, in spite of d’Indy’s claims to the contrary, and sexual interpretations of their relationship (see especially Harwood). It was probably through Franck’s other pupils that she met the poet, critic and librettist Catulle Mendès, with whom she lived for almost 20 years and had five children. After their separation she continued to compose and teach professionally until her death.
Although Holmès devoted considerable energy to mythologizing her career, it was a tendency with which contemporary commentators were complicit. And even if such stories risk overwhelming the woman and her music, they are worth recalling as an example of the 19th-century impulse to conflate life and work, especially the life and work of female composers. One such story was of Holmès as a champion of various nationalistic causes. This was a result of personal publicity emphasizing her Irish roots and French ‘heart’, as well as a series of symphonic compositions on nationalist themes that received prominent premières in the 1880s (Lutèce, Irlande, Pologne and Ludus pro patria, for example). The composer became known as a kind of musical Marianne, innately concerned with the plight of oppressed European nations; her musical language, was at the same time viewed as ‘masculine’ and ‘virile’. It was perhaps for this reason that her Ode triomphale was commissioned, the musical centrepiece of the 1889 Exposition Universelle (see Ory). A semi-staged work influenced by the late 18th-century fête révolutionnaire, it inspired the best-known example of this strand of Holmès reception: Saint-Saëns’s claim that she was France’s Muse.
Surviving manuscripts provide evidence of Holmès’s interest in opera. However, only one of her numerous projects reached the stage: La montagne noire, with (as was usually the case) both text and music by the composer, was completed by 1884 and saw its première in 1895 at the Paris Opéra. It can be viewed as combining her two main compositional activities up to that date: charting the seduction of a Montenegrin soldier by a voluptuous Turk, it provided Holmès with the opportunity to exploit the closed forms and exoticism of her song composition alongside the more through-composed, Wagnerian procedures of her symphonic works. It is in the former realm that La montagne works best: Holmès’s arias, in their overall construction and vocal writing, are among the most innovative of those for the exotic mezzo-soprano; her music for the various ensembles is more derivative and harmonically unwieldy. La montagne was not well received and, after 13 performances, it was dropped by the Opéra; revivals at Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera were mooted, but like most of Holmès’s compositions except for a handful of songs, it has long been absent from the repertory.
Holmès bequeathed a large collection of musical manuscripts to the Paris Conservatoire; her personal papers were donated to the Bibliothèque Nationale by her daughter, Hélyonne Barbusse (n.a.fr.16258–63).
all printed works were published in Paris; unpublished MSS in F-Pc unless otherwise stated
opera and song texts by composer unless otherwise stated
unperformed unless otherwise stated
Libs: Le fils d’Olivier (4); Marie Stuart (3); La merrow (4); Norah Greena (4), late 1880s; La belle Roncerose (3), 1890s
Ops: Astarté (1), 1870s; Lancelot du lac (3), 1870s; Héro et Léandre (1), 1875; La montagne noire (4), 1884, Paris, Opéra, 8 Feb 1895, vs (1895)
Ave Maris stella, T, S (1872), F-V [ded. Franck]; Memento mei Deus, chorus, 1872 [ded. Franck]; Tantum ergo sacramentum, T, Bar, org, 1872; Veni creator, T, chorus, org (1887); La vision de la reine, scena, solo female vv, female chorus, pf, vc, hp (1895)
Over 130 songs (some repr. in Selected Songs (New York, 1984) [with an introduction by M. Irvin]), incl., La chanson de chamelier (L. de Lyvron), 1865 (1878); Les sept ivresses (1882); 3 chansons populaires (1883); Les  sérénades (1883–4), F-V; Noël (Trois anges sont venus ce soir) (1884);  Rêves parisiens (1886–92); Les  chants de la kitharède (1888); Les griffes d’or (1889);  Paysages d’amour (1889); La chanson des gars d’Irlande (1891);  Contes de fées (1892–7);  Contes divins (1892–5); Les  heures (1899–1900)
Symphonic: Air de ballet pour orchestre, 1870s; Allegro féroce, 1870s; Carmen nuptiale, chorus, orch, 1870s, F-V; La chanson de la caravane, solo vv, chorus, orch, 1870s, F-V; Ouverture pour une comédie, 1870s; Prométhée, solo vv, chorus, orch, 1870s [survives only in vs]; Hymne à Apollon, sym. poem, solo vv, chorus, orch, vs (1872); Roland furieux, sym. after Ariosto, 1877 [second mvt perf. as Andante pastorale the same year]; Lutèce, dram. sym., solo vv, chorus, orch, 1878, vs (1880)
Les argonautes, dram. sym., solo vv, chorus, orch, vs (1881); Irlande, sym. poem, arr. pf (1882), fs (1885); Pologne, sym. poem, arr. pf (1883), US-AAu; Andromède, sym. poem arr. pf (1883); Ludus pro patria, sym. ode, chorus, orch, vs (1888); Une vision de sainte Thérèse, S, orch (1888); Au pays bleu, sym. suite, 1888, arr. pf (1892); Le jugement de Naïs, 1902
Other orch: Danses d’almées, A, chorus, orch, vs (1868); La fille de Jephté, chorus, orch, 1869; In exitu Israel [Ps cxiii], chorus, orch, first perf. 1872, F-V; Ode triomphale en l’honneur du centenaire de 1789, S, chorus, orch, vs (1889); Hymne à la paix, solo vv, chorus, orch, vs (1890); Hymne à Vénus, S, orch, vs (1894); Fleur de néflier, T, chorus, orch, vs (1901)
Chbr: Marche des zouaves, pf, 1861; Minuetto pour quatuor à cordes, 1867; Rêverie tzigane, pf (1887); Ce qu’on entendit dans la nuit de Noël, pf (1890); Ciseau d’hiver, pf (1892); Trois petites pièces, fl, pf (1879); Fantaisie, cl, pf (1900)
A. Pougin: ‘Holmès, Augusta’, Biographie universelle des musiciens et bibliographie générale de la musique (Paris, 1878–81)
A. Theuriet: Le journal de Tristan: impressions et souvenirs (Paris, 1883)
L. de Romain: Essais de critique musicale (Paris, 1890)
A. Jullien: Musiciens d’aujourd’hui (Paris, 1894)
E. de Solenière: La femme compositeur: Augusta Holmès (Paris, 1895)
E. Noël and E. Stoullig: Les annales du théâtre et de la musique (Paris, 1896)
G. Moore: Memoirs of My Dead Life (London, 1906)
P. Barillon-Bauché: Augusta Holmès et la femme compositeur (Paris, 1912)
A. Daudet: Souvenirs autour d’un groupe littéraire (Paris, 1912)
R. Pichard du Page: ‘Une musicienne versaillaise: Augusta Holmès’, Revue de l’histoire de Versailles et de Seine-et-Oise, xxi-xxii (1919–20), 222–39, 290–305, 355–72; repr. as Une musicienne versaillaise: Augusta Holmès (Versailles and Paris, 1921)
E. Smyth: A Final Burning of Boats (London, 1928)
R. Berthelot: ‘“Trois anges sont venus ce soir …” ou le roman d’Augusta Holmès’, Musica, cv (1962), 20–24
R. Myers: ‘Augusta Holmès: a Meteoric Career’, MQ, liii (1967), 365–76
R. Harwood: César and Augusta (London, 1978)
N.S. Theeman: ‘The Life and Songs of Augusta Holmès’ (diss., U. of Maryland, 1983) [incl. complete list of songs]
I. Feilhauer: Augusta Holmès (1847–1903): Biographie-Werkverzeichnis-Analysen (M.A. thesis, Ruprecht-Karls U., Heidelberg, 1987)
G. Gefen: Augusta Holmès: l’outrancière (Paris, 1987) [incl. general bibl.]
I. Feilhauer: ‘Augusta Holmès und die Französische Revolution’, Musica, ii (1989), 138–44
P. Ory: L’expo universelle (Paris, 1989)
M.J. Citron: ‘European Composers and Musicians, 1880–1918’, Women and Music: a History, ed. K. Pendle (Indianapolis, 1991), 123–41
J. Parakilas: ‘The Soldier and the Exotic: Operatic Variations on a Theme of Racial Encounter, Part II’, OQ, x/3 (1994), 43–69
K. Henson: ‘In the House of Disillusion: Augusta Holmès and La Montagne noir’, COJ, ix/3 (1997), 233–62