Augusta Holmes: "Les Argonautes" and "La Montagne Noire"
Rockwood, Rebecca Larissa
Citron, Marcia J.
Master of Music
Augusta Holmes (1847--1903) was a popular composer in nineteenth-century France. Throughout her life, Holmes was known for her talent as a musician, charming personality, and beauty. After her death, Holmes's works were neglected, but this composer deserves to be re-evaluated. As one of the first women in nineteenth-century France to receive any recognition of her talents, her accomplishments as a composer were almost unthinkable. Holmes drew attention to herself by using popular patriotic sentiments when creating her self-image and her music. In this paper I demonstrate this by examining the background, music, and thematic material of Les Argonautes, a dramatic symphony, and La Montagne Noire, her fourth opera. In Les Argonautes, Holmes stressed the sacrifice of romantic love for higher ideals. In La Montagne Noire, Holmes utilized themes of exoticism to juxtapose patriotism against romantic love and reveal tension between genders.