Thursday, 29 January 2009
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Prelude and Fugue in C minor
I became obsessed with this piece (the prelude) at the age of 13-14, and started to practice. Of course, I never managed to learn the piece fully.
Since that, I have discovered it in some movies, and I just love the scenes they include this piece in. For example -
Le Silence de la Mer (2004). A young girl, Jeanne refuses to speak to the German officer who stays at her grandfather's house during the occupation of Paris in World War II. But eventually, there's a certain, silent sympathy between the two, and in one scene when the officer is leaving the house and Jeanne wants to warn him (you can see why in the movie, I don't want to spoil anything) she doesn't find any other way than starting to play the piano - Bach's prelude in C minor.
The Forsyte Saga - in one of the episodes there is a scene where the lovers Fleur and John have an argument and then, when John's mother can't stand the tension anymore, she starts playing Bach's prelude in C minor.
The Triplets of Belleville - a wonderful, French animated film, where the Prelude is one of the very themes of the film, variated in several ways (there's even a jazz version!).
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Performed by Pierre Hantaï
Enjoy this sweet little masterpiece. :)
They used this as soundtrack for the movie Stupeur et tremblements a French/Japanese film. Then I loved the fact that they had a piece of Bach in a film which is set in the 80's (?) in a horrible office. But since I've seen the film (which was not so good, I think) I can't think of anything else when I hear this piece. So awful when you associate good music with experiences you don't want to associate it with, isn't it? Same thing usually happens when I read a book and listen to music at the same time. Later on, when listening to the music, it often strikes me how genuinly it has captured the atmosphere of the book.
Sunday, 25 January 2009
Saturday, 24 January 2009
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Sunday, 18 January 2009
A young woman is looking away from us in a quite idealized manner, holding a white ermine in her lap. She almost resemble a fashionable woman from the 20's with her necklace of black pearls and a black ribbon over her forehead - and an almost modern face. But she is a lady from the 15th century, this portrait being painted of her c. 1489-90 when she was about 16-17 years old. She was one Ludovico Sforza's, the Duke of Milan's official mistresses and a talented singer, musician and poet. According to some sources, her salon was the first in Europe, where she entertained the Milanese intellectuals discussing philosophy, art and other subjects. It was also here she invited Leonardo and became friends with him.
At first, I was puzzled by the fact that she is holding an ermine in her lap (clasping it with a slender hand - how different from the rounded, feminine hands seen in Rococo portraits!). Ermines are small predators, surely they wouldn't let you hold them without clawing or biting? And back then, they weren't pets either, people made collars and other fashionable accessories of them instead.
Then I found out that it might hint at the woman's name - Cecilia Gallerani - galée meaning ermine in Greek. It may also be a reference to her lover's membership of the Order of the Ermine. And then, of course - ermine is a symbol of purity and virtue - quite important things to a sophisticated Renaissance woman - a patron of the arts (according to a contemporary writer) - as Cecilia Gallerani.
Saturday, 17 January 2009
I think the art of checking small boxes (similar to the ones below) is underestimated. Therefore, feel free to do so whenever you agree with the statements.
Thursday, 15 January 2009
With soprano Emma Kirkby.
Nulla in mundo pax sincera,
Sine felle; pura et vera
Dulcis Jesu est in te.
Inter poenas et tormenta,
Vivit anima contenta,
Casti amoris, sola spe.
There is no true peace in the world
without bitterness; in you, sweet Jesus,
it is pure and rightful.
Amongst anguish and torment
lives the contented soul,
its only hope, chaste love.