The Diary of One Who Disappeared is the title of a song cycle written by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček. One of the purposes of this site is to act as a diary where I can keep a record of some of the things that I have spent my time doing, as well as memories that I want to preserve. The tabs above also contain some essays that I have written on subjects that interest me.
Although I am English I have disappeared from my native land and for the past two decades I have split my life between the south-west of France and the north-east of Italy. This has given me the opportunity to pursue a range of activities and interests, including completing a PhD in social history, teaching art history and English in Italy, going to art exhibitions throughout Europe, attending concerts and operas by favourite composers such as Janáček, Mahler, Shostakovich and others and travelling and exploring as much as possible.
In Montcabrier in the Lot for the annual visit to the Festival du 8 de Montcabrier. A very eclectic selection of works, with a first half of pieces connected by the theme of travel, with Felicien David’s ‘Marche de la Caravane’ from his ode-symphony ‘Le Desért’, Henri Duparc’s setting of Charles Baudelaire’s poem ‘L’Invitation au voyage’, and Camille Saint-Saëns’ ‘Tournoiements’ from ‘Mélodies persanes’. They were followed by Felix Mendelssohn’s overture ‘The Hebrides’ and four pieces by Hector Berlioz: ‘Villanelle’ and ‘L’île inconnue’ from ‘Les nuits d’été’, extracts from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Le Bal’ from ‘Symphonie fantastique’.
David: ‘Marche de la Caravane’; Duparc: ‘L’Invitation au voyage’; Saint-Saëns: ‘Tournoiements’ from ‘Mélodies persanes’; Mendelssohn: overture ‘The Hebrides’; Berlioz: ‘Villanelle’, ‘L’île inconnue’, extracts from ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Le Bal’ from ‘Symphonie fantastique’.
An extremely enjoyable concert in Saint-Chamassy in the Dordogne, part of the XXXI Festival Musique en Périgord. Quatuor Akitania played a very varied programme, including Bach and Mozart, Shostakovich String Quartet no. 8 and works by two new, to me, composers from Azerbaijan: Khayyam Mirzazadeh and Moussa Mirzoyev.
J.S. Bach: 2 Fugues, BWV 1080, counterpoints 1 & 5; Mozart: Divertimento in D, KV 136; Mirzazadeh: 8 miniatures; Mirzoyev: String Quartet no. 1; Shostakovich: String Quartet no. 8
In Cahors, in the Lot department of France, for an excellent concert to celebrate the 900th anniversary of Saint Etienne Cathedral. Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse under Lio Kuokman played the overture to Schumann’s ‘Genoveva’ and Brahms ‘Concerto for Violin and Orchestra’, with soloist Kristi Gjezi, in the first half, followed by an extremely well played Symphony no. 3 by Schumann in the second half.
Schumann: Overture to ‘Genoveva’, opus 81: Brahms: ‘Concerto for Violin and Orchestra’, opus 77: Schumann: ‘Symphony no. 3’, opus 97.
The walled town of Monteriggioni
Benozzo Gozzoli ‘Scenes from the Life of Sant’ Agostino’ (1464 – 65) San Gimignano
Rosso Fiorentino ‘Deposition from the Cross’ (c.1521) Pinacoteca Comunale, Volterra
Piazza del Campo and Palazzo Pubblico, Siena
Ambrogio Lorenzetti ‘The Effects of Good Government’ (1338 – 39) Palazzo Pubblico, Siena
Ambrogio Lorenzetti ‘The Effects of Bad Government’ (1338 – 39) Palazzo Pubblico, Siena
Simone Martini ‘Maestà’ (1312 – 15)
Simone Martini ‘Guidoriccio da Fogliano’ (1328)
Frescoes by Masaccio, Masolino and Filippino Lippi, Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence
Masaccio ‘Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden’ (c.1424 – 27) Brancacci Chapel
In Florence for the exhibition ‘Verrocchio – Master of Leonardo’. The artist known as Verrocchio was born Andrea di Michele in Florence, circa 1435. He trained as a goldsmith but also became a master of carving in marble. He came to painting late, but by about 1470 he had established himself with works such as ‘Madonna and Child’, ‘The Virgin and Child with Two Angels’ and ‘Tobias and the Angel’.
He was responsible for training some of the greatest artists of the second half of the fifteeenth century, including Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Lorenzo di Credi, Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci.
Andrea Verrocchio ‘Madonna and Child’ (c.1470)
Andrea Verrocchio ‘Virgin and Child with Two Angels’ (c.1471 – 72)
Andrea Verrocchio ‘Madonna and Child’ (c.1470 or 1475)
Andrea Verrocchio ‘Tobias and the Angel’ (c.1471 – 72)
Andrea Verrocchio ‘Giuliano di Piero de’ Medici’ (c.1475)
Andrea Verrochio and Lorenzo di Credi ‘Madonna and Child between St. John the Baptist and St. Donatus’ (c.1475 – 86)
An extremely enjoyable concert at the Issigeac International Music Academy in the Dordogne, south-west France. The excellent Tippett Quartet played a programme of Holst, Ravel and Schubert.
Holst: ‘Fantasia for String Quartet’; Ravel: ‘String Quartet in F major’; Schubert: ‘String Quartet in D minor (Death and the Maiden)’
An excellent all-Berlioz programme by Les Siècles under François-Xavier Roth at La Coursive in La Rochelle. In the first half was the overture to the unfinished opera Les Francs-Juges and a beautifully sung Les Nuits d’été with mezzo-soprano Marie Lenormand, whilst the second half saw a wonderfully performed Symphonie Fantastique.
Berlioz: Overture from ‘Les Francs-Juges’; ‘Les Nuits d’été’; ‘Symphonie Fantastique’