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, 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.
A gloriously sunny February day – perfect for exploring ‘les plus beaux villages de France’ in the Dordogne Valley.
At the Halle aux Grains, Toulouse for an extremely enjoyable concert by the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. In the first half was Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 21, with the excellent Adam Laloum, who performed with a wonderful touch and was deservedly called back for two encores. In the second half was Mahler Symphony no. 1, always one of the most enjoyable symphonies to hear, extremely well played under the very enthusiastic Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong.
Mozart: Piano Concerto no. 21; Mahler Symphony no. 1.
At the Auditorium de l’Opera in Bordeaux, France, for an excellent Bartók concert by the Orchestre National Bordeaux under Michail Jurowski.
Beethoven: Coriolan overture; Bartók: Miraculous Mandarin Suite; Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
San Sebastián is a beautiful coastal city in northern Spain. Known as the ‘gastronomic capital’ of the country, it is home to several world-renowned restaurants.
San Sebastián cathedral
Playa de la Concha
At the Guggengheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain for an exhibition of selections from the Thannhauser Collection from the Guggenheim, New York. The collection was donated by the German-born art dealer Justin Thannhauser and his wife Hilde and is particularly rich in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art.
Edouard Manet ‘Before the Mirror’ (1876)
Vincent van Gogh ‘Mountains at Saint-Remy’ (1889)
Paul Gauguin ‘ Haere Mai’ (1891)
Paul Cezanne ‘Bibemus’ (1894 – 95)
Pablo Picasso ‘Le Moulin de la Galette’ (1900)
Georges Braque ‘Guitar, Glass and Fruit Dish on Sideboard’ (1919)
Pablo Picasso ‘Woman with Yellow Hair’ (1931)
Also an opportunity to see a retrospective of the works of the Swiss-born sculptor Alberto Giacometti, including his famous ‘Walking Man’
Alberto Giacometti ‘Walking Man I’ (1960)
St. Just and St. Pasteur Cathedral, Narbonne, begun in 1272
At Musée Fabre in Montpellier, south of France, for the fascinating ‘Picasso, Donner à voir’ exhibition. It looks at the whole of Picasso’s career by examining fourteen milestone moments in which a new style emerged or he began a fresh direction in his artistic practise.
It begins with Picasso as a teenager painting in Spain, moves on to his arrival in Paris and continues through the blue period, ‘Demoiselles d’Avignon’, Cubism, the return to classicism after World War I, Surrealism, the ‘Guernica’ period and his late career.
Pablo Picasso ‘Self-Portrait’ (1896)
Pablo Picasso ‘Woman Ironing’ (1901)
Pablo Picasso ‘Three Figures under a Tree’ (1907 – 08)
Pablo Picasso ‘Still-Life with Chair Caning’ (1912)
Pablo Picasso ‘Pan’s Flute’ (1923)
Pablo Picasso ‘Harlequin Musician’ (1924)
Pablo Picasso ‘Portrait of Marie-Thérèse’ (1937)
Pablo Picasso ‘Women of Algiers, after Delacroix’ (version H, 1955)