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.
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’
In the delightful town of La Rochelle on France’s Atlantic coast. It has a very attractive harbour, excellent shops, a wonderful food market and more restaurants than I have ever seen in one town.
Back at the Halle aux Grains, Toulouse for another very enjoyable concert by the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, this time under American conductor Joseph Swensen. In the first half was the Adagio from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no. 10, whilst the second half was Mahler’s excellent ‘Das Lied von der Erde’, with soloists Janina Baechle and Christian Elsner.
Mahler: Adagio from Symphony no. 10; Mahler ‘Das Lied von der Erde’
Antoni Gaudi was the greatest exponent of Catalan Modernism. All his buildings have a highly individualized style, influenced by nature and religion.
The industrialist Eusebi Güell was an early patron and for him Gaudi designed a home, the Palau Güell, and began an ambitious development now known as Parc Güell. Other commissions for houses included Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, both located in Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona.
From 1883 Gaudí took over as chief architect of Sagrada Familia, his magnum opus, on which he would work until his death in 1926.
Looking at the permanent collections of the excellent Museu Picasso de Barcelona, particularly rich in paintings from the beginning of his career as well as the later ‘Las Meninas’ series, and the Fondacio de Joan Miró, created by the artist himself, mainly with works from his own private collection.
Pablo Picasso ‘Man in a Beret’ (1895) – painted at the age of fourteen
Pablo Picasso ‘Science and Charity’ (1897)
Pablo Picasso ‘Waiting (Margot)’ (1901)
Pablo Picasso ‘Harlequin (Léonide Massine)’ (1917)
Pablo Picasso ‘Las Meninas’ (1957)
Joan Miró ‘Flame in Space and Nude Woman’ (1932)
Joan Miró ‘Man and Woman in front of a pile of excrement’ (1935)
Joan Miró ‘Morning Star’ (1940)
Joan Miró ‘Moon, sun and one star’ (1968)
At the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya in Barcelona for the fascinating exhibition ‘Bermejo: the 15th century Rebel Genius’.
Bartolomé Bermejo is one of the most interesting painters of the fifteenth century. Probably born in Córdoba, he lived an itinerant life, working in Valencia, Zaragoza and Barcelona, partly because of his status as a converted Jew, which forced him to work together with other artists to get round the restrictions of the painters’ guild. He was fascinating because of his mastery of the oil painting technique usually practised at that time by Flemish artists.
Bartolomé Bermejo ‘St. Michael Triumphant over the Devil’ (1468)
Bartolomé Bermejo ‘Flagellation of Saint Engracia’ (c.1474 – 77)
Bartolomé Bermejo ‘Descent of Christ into Limbo’ (c.1475)
Bartolomé Bermejo ‘Desplà Pietà’ (1490)
Bartolomé Bermejo ‘Adoration of the Magi’ (c.1500)
A splendid lunch at Els Quatre Gats tavern in Barcelona, which occupies the ground floor of Casa Marti, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch in 1896.
Els Quatre Gats was the focal point of Picasso’s life in Barcelona and was where he would meet and socialise with other members of the Catalan modernist group.
Pablo Picasso ‘Menu design for Els Quatre Gats’ (1899 – 1900)