And Loving for All
a monologue for mezzo-soprano soloist and ensemble (2017)
for mezzo-soprano, ATB vocal trio, woodwind quintet, and piano
Duration: 20 minutes
Libretto by the composer based on the press release “Loving for All” by Mildred Loving, which she prepared for the 40th Anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia. The libretto also includes adaptations of lines from Judge Leon M. Bazile's decision in Commonwealth v. Loving, January 22, 1965 .
The work is available with texts in two forms, a first person telling for an African-American soloist, and a third-person narration for soloists who do not identify as African-American.
1. Pastorale & Fugue
2. Recitative & Chorale
3. Aria: Slow but lilting—Frantic
4. Recitative & Arioso
5. Aria with Chorus
6. Chorale & Pastorale
For Richard and Mildred Loving, their love became an accidental symbol of the civil rights movement. Following their marriage in 1958, they were convicted on charges of miscegenation by courts in the Commonwealth of Virginia—Richard was white and Mildred was of African- and Native-American decent, and their marriage was a violation of Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924. The Virginia government argued it was God’s will to keep the races separate and that intermarrying was a violation of His design. They also argued that interracial unions were contrary to centuries of tradition and would break down the social order and moral development of all citizens. In 1967, the Lovings’ case was taken to the Supreme Court who overturned interracial marriage bans across the United States and ruled that marriage is a basic civil right not to be infringed by racially discriminatory laws. Throughout the legal process, Mildred was the voice for her family and for many other families who were victims of institutionalized racism.
This work addresses the struggles this couple lived through and the changes in law and society that Mildred saw during her lifetime. The form of the work is a 21st-century take on an 18th-century wedding cantata, using arias, pastorales, a fugue, and a chorale from one of J.S. Bach’s own wedding cantatas, BWV 197.
Page Stephens, mezzo-soprano soloist
Steven Sérpa, alto; Cristian Cantu, tenor; Andrew Young, baritone
Nicholas Goodwin, flute/piccolo; Aidan Dugan, oboe/English horn; Nicholas Brown, clarinet/bass clarinet; Michael Mikulka, horn; Adam Drake, bassoon; Andrew Q. Langman, piano; Tiffany Galus, conductor
Bates Recital Hall at the University of Texas at Austin
February 2, 20017