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Les Journaux

Music and art news from the European press.

Sandrine Piau is singing Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare at the Théâtre royal de la Monnaie in Brussels (sharing the role with Danielle de Niese). René Jacobs conducts the Freiburger Barockorchester. Piau gave an interview to Martine Mergeay (Sandrine Piau, de la harpe au trône, January 18) in La Libre Belgique. Her answers to questions about how she came to specialize in Baroque music are priceless (my translation):

What did you know about the Baroque repertoire?

What all musicians knew about it, namely, precious little. I was coming from much more recent music, tougher, more tortured, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Bartók, and as a harpist I was giving premieres. It was engaging musical work, but obscure. With Christie, I was suddenly thrown into the light about which I knew nothing.

And bel canto?

Bel canto is wonderful, marvelous, and I have the greatest respect for those who sing it -- I am thinking of Natalie Dessay -- but bel canto does nothing for me, it does not interest me. I prefer the voice to rise up out of the text, out of the story.
If you have heard of the French town of Cateau-Cambrésis at all, it is because you read at some point that Matisse was born there. As related in an article by Françoise Dargent (Matisse, Picasso, Giacometti sous le soleil du Nord, January 29) for Le Figaro, the late Alice Tériade, the wife of Efstrathios Elefheriades (dit Tériade), the art editor and founder of Minotaure and Verve, has just donated a staggering collection of modern art to the Musée Matisse there, being described as one of the largest donations given to a French museum in 20 years.

Incredibly, it includes the entire dining room from the Tériade villa in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, completely decorated by Matisse, Giacometti, and Henri Laurens. The other thirty-some paintings and sculptures are all being described as major works, too. If you think you knew the work of Matisse but had never heard of the Tériade dining room, join the club. The Tériades only let a few close friends and artists see it, and few people had even heard about it. Mme Tériade promised her late husband that she would not allow the collection to be sold off piece by piece, and she had fond memories of the Cateau-Cambrésis museum since a 1986 exhibit about Matisse and her husband. We all have a new cultural destination to visit in northern France.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I knew about Cateau Cambresis because of the treaty of 1559--the one that led to Henri II's death by speared eye.

Charles T. Downey said...

Or that. How could I have forgotten? It was also the site of the end of that war.