Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, where Gounod's opera Mireille is set

Gounod and Mistral – Mireille

The video below is Vincent’s aria in the second scene of the fifth and final act of Charles Gounod’s 1864 opera Mireille, written the year before his remarkable Faust, based on the first part of Goethe’s play. Mireille contains fascinating music. The libretto is based on Frédéric Mistral’s long lyric poem Mirèio. Mistral was the 1904…

Marcel Proust

Exhaustion and Intoxication

“… while pretending not to have heard anything, and preserving in her fine eyes, ringed with dark shadows by the habit of listening to Debussy more than they would have been by that of sniffing cocaine, the exhausted look induced by musical intoxication alone, would revolve nevertheless behind her splendid brow, bulging with all those…

Rembrandt, drawing at a window. Self-portrait, 1648.

Self-portraits

“Each new doubt makes us feel that the limit has been reached, that we cannot cope with it; then we manage to find room for it all the same, and once it is introduced into the fabric of our lives it enters into competition there with so many longings to believe, so many reasons to…

From the first page of the MS of Mendelssohn's violin concerto.

Felix Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto, Op. 64 (1844)

Felix Mendelssohn’s last major orchestral work, the violin concerto, in that exceptional key of E minor, is one of the foremost of the genre, and incorporated several alterations to the violin concerto form, in particular the telescoping of the usual two expositions, one for orchestra, a second for the soloist, through the introduction of the…

Self-portrait with Saskia

Lionello Puppi’s “Rembrandt”

Lionello Puppi’s is a fine, short work on Rembrandt. Aside from Rembrandt’s indisputable greatness, I am additionally drawn to him because he was born in the same town as I, Leiden, and studied, in Amsterdam, under Pieter Lastman, said to be “the most influential Dutch painter of the time,” and who greatly admired the Italian…