Werner Jaegerhuber's "Messe Folklorique Haitienne": A conductor's guide
Werner Jaegerhuber (1900-1953), a composer and leading ethnographer from Haiti, lived a life and career committed to bringing the folk music of Haiti to international recognition. His most significant work, Messe Folklorique Ha√Øtienne , the background leading to its composition, performance of the work and a conductor's analysis is the focus of this study. The folk music of Haiti consists primarily of Vodou melodies which are performed in Vodou ceremonies. Haiti's long history of colonization, slavery, chronic economic struggle, African roots, and Catholic influence all play unique, but significant roles in the life of Werner Jaegerhuber and his passionate study. He spent his formative years in Germany studying composition, organ and conducting. After his return to Haiti, he spent several years collecting Vodou melodies as he attended ceremonies and transcribed the melodies for his future use. Jaegerhuber's musical output is primarily focused on the transformation of the melodies that he collected into pieces that are suitable for the concert stage. This study highlights the major historical events in Haiti, noteworthy elements of Vodou, and previous and original research available on Jaegerhuber and his Messe Folklorique Ha√Øtienne that will aid in a conductor's analysis of the work. Messe Folklorique Ha√Øtienne is a six-movement Catholic Mass that contains melodies that are derived from both the Gregorian chant and Vodou traditions. The conductor's analysis will assist future performances of this work from a pedagogical standpoint through notated examples of the Gregorian and Vodou melodies; gestural suggestions for the conductor; and instructional suggestions for an accurate execution of the work. This piece has never been published, but has served this project as a significant demonstration of the religious culture in Haiti, both Catholic and Vodou.