Introduction

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ingres and more in Montauban

At the Musée Ingres Bourdelle in Montauban in the Tarn-et-Garonne department of south-west France, recently reopened after a three year renovation, for two excellent exhibitions.

‘Constellation Ingres Bourdelle’ displays paintings by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, born in Montauban in 1780, and sculptures by Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, a pupil of Ingres, who was born in the town in 1861. The exhibition also includes works by students of Ingres, as well as twentieth-century artists, such as Pablo Picasso, who were influenced by him. Bourdelle’s works are compared to those of Rodin and the presence of paintings by Edgar Degas, Maurice Denis and others provides a context for artistic creation during this period. The second exhibition, ‘Dans l’atelier d’Ingres’, displays the museum’s incredible collection of Ingres drawings – 4,507 works, the largest collection in the world.

Ingres 'The Dream of Ossian' (1813)

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres ‘The Dream of Ossian’ (1813)

Ingres 'Christ Delivering the Keys of Heaven to Saint Peter' (1820)

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres ‘Christ Delivering the Keys of Heaven to St. Peter’ (1820)

Portrait of Ferdinand-Philippe d'Orléans' (1842)

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres ‘Portrait of Ferdinand-Philppe d’Orléans’ (1842)

Ingres 'Portrait of Madame Gonse' (1852)

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres ‘Portrait of Madame Gonse’ (1852)

Émile-Antoine Bourdelle 'Head of Apollo' (

Émile-Antoine Bourdelle ‘Head of Apollo’ (1900 – 09)

Bourdelle 'Grand Warrior of Montauban' plus Vuillard and Degas

Émile-Antoine Bourdelle ‘Grand Warrior of Montauban’ (1898 – 1900, cast 1956),    flanked by Edouard Vuillard ‘Lucien Rosengart at his Desk’ (1930) and Edgar Degas ‘Portrait of the Artist with Evariste de Valernes’ (c.1865)

Auguste Rodin 'Eve' (1907)

Auguste Rodin ‘Eve’ (1907)

Pablo Picasso 'La Petite Corrida' (1922)

Pablo Picasso ‘La Petite Corrida’ (1922)

Pablo Picasso 'Paul, as Harlequin' (1924)

Pablo Picasso ‘Paul, as Harlequin’ (1924)

The museum also has a permanent collection of paintings from the Renaissance to the modern era, formerly the collection of the bishops of Montauban, including the recently identified ‘Portrait of a Monk’ by Jan van Eyck:

Jan van Eyck 'Portrait of a Monk' (15 century)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ in Toulouse

At La Halle aux Grains, Toulouse, for a superb performance of Mahler’s Symphony no. 2, the ‘Resurrection’, by the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse under Tugan Sokhiev. The choir, ‘Orfeón Donostiarra’, were excellent, as were the soloists, mezzo-soprano Christa Mayer and soprano Jeanine de Bique.

Tugan Sokhiev Mahler

Jeanine de Bique

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Goya: avant-garde genius’ in Agen

In Agen, in the Lot-et-Garonne region of south-west France, for the exhibition ‘Goya: avant-garde genius. The master and his school’.

The exhibition followed the career of Goya from his time as a designer of tapestries and as a portrait artist whilst at the courts of Kings Charles III and IV in Madrid in the 1770s and 1780s, through his ‘Caprichos’, published in 1799, his ‘Disasters of War’ etchings from 1810 – 20, and the ‘Majas’ paintings, as well as a variety of works concerned with witches, fantastical creatures and religious and political corruption.

Goya exhibition

Goya 'Self-Portrait' (1783)

Francisco Goya ‘Self-Portrait’ (1783)

Goya 'Mariana de Waldstein, Marquesa de Santa Cruz' (c.1798)

Francisco Goya ‘Mariana de Waldstein, Marquesa de Santa Cruz’ (c.1798)

Goya 'Cannibals' (c.1800)

Francisco Goya ‘Cannibals’ (c.1800)

Goya 'And they are like wild beasts' (1812 - 15)

Francisco Goya ‘And they are like wild beasts’ (1812 – 15)

Goya 'The Balloon' (c.1816 - 24)

Francisco Goya ‘The Balloon’ (c.1816 – 24)

Goya 'Capricho with flying animals' (c.1818-19)

Francisco Goya ‘Capricho with flying animals’ (c.1818 -19)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A postcard from Poitiers, Vienne

Eglise Notre Dame la Grande, Poitiers

The west front of the Eglise Notre-Dame la Grande, Poitiers, with its magnificant Romanesque statuary.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘L’Enfant et les Sortilèges’ at Opera Limoges

At Opera Limoges to see an entertaining production of Maurice Ravel’s opera ‘L’Enfant et les Sortilèges’. First performed in 1924, the second of Ravel’s fantasy operas (after ‘L’Heure Espagnol’ 1907), the opera tells the story of a child ordered to stay in his room as a punishment. Magic takes over as toys, household objects and animals come to life. Back-projected images onto a black curtain provided the special effects that brought the story to life.

L'Enfant et les Sortileges 1

L'Enfant et les Sortileges 4

L'Enfant et les Sortileges 2

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ravel and de Falla in Toulouse

At La Halle aux Grains, Toulouse, for a concert with a definite Spanish flavour. Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse under Spanish conductor Josep Pons played a first half of Ravel’s ‘Rapsodie Espagnole’ and ‘Piano Concerto in G major’. The soloist was renowned Spanish pianist Javier Perianes, who returned to the stage for a stunning encore with a solo arrangement of the ‘Ritual Fire Dance’ from Manuel de Falla’s ‘El Amor Brujo.’  The second half began with Ravel’s ‘Alborada del Gracioso’ before continuing with an excellent performance of de Falla’s ‘Le Tricorne, Suites 1 & 2’.

Josep Pons and Javier Periannes

Josep Pons and Javier Perianes

Ravel: ‘Rapsodie Espagnole’; Ravel: ‘Concerto for Piano in G major’; de Falla: ‘Ritual Fire Dance’ from  ‘El Amor Brujo.’; Ravel: ‘Alborada del Gracioso’;  de Falla: ‘Le Tricorne, Suites 1 and 2’.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ravel, Poulenc and Schumann in Agen

An extremely varied programme at the Théatre Ducourneau, Agen, in the Lot-et-Garonne department of France, by Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine under Douglas Boyd. Beginning with the orchestrated version of ‘5 Piéces enfantines’ from ‘Ma Mère l’Oye’ by Maurice Ravel, followed by an excellent performance of Francis Poulenc’s ‘Concert champêtre pour clavecin’, with the extraordinary Jean Rondeau on harpsichord. The second half saw a beautifully-played ‘Symphony no. 2’ by Robert Schumann.

Douglas Boyd

Douglas Boyd

Jean Rondeau

Jean Rondeau

Ravel: ‘5 pièces enfantines’ from ‘Ma Mère l’Oye’; Poulenc ‘ Concert champêtre pour clavecin’; Schumann ‘Symphony no. 2 in C major’ opus 61.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment