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)
In Périgueux, France, for an outstanding concert by the world-class Quatuor Danel. Superb playing on string quartets by Schubert, Prokofiev and Dvorak and an encore by Weinberg.
Schubert: Quartet Movement in C minor, D 703; Prokofiev: String Quartet no. 1 in B minor, opus 50; Dvorak: String Quartet no. 12 in F ‘American’; Weinberg: Third movement, String Quartet no. 5, opus 27.
‘Rouge. Art et Utopie au Pays des Soviets’ is a fascinating exhibition which examines Soviet art from the October Revolution of 1917 to the death of Stalin in 1953. It looks at how communism first of all gave rise to the avant-garde groups of the 1920s only for the strict controls of Stalin to sweep them away in favour of socialist realism which created highly optimistic depictions of Soviet ideals.
Boris Kustodiev ‘The Bolshevik’ (1920)
Kouzma Petrov-Vodkine ‘Fantasy’ (1925)
Vladimir Lebedev ‘The red vision of communism is brushing over Europe’ (1935 – 45)
‘Alexander Deïneka ‘Lenin on an Outing with Children’ (1938)
Alexander Deïneka ‘Freedom’ (1944)
A wonderful performance of Olivier Messiaen’s ‘Turangalila Symphony’ at the Maison de Radio France with l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under the excellent Susanna Mälkki, with Roger Muraro on piano and Cynthia Millar on ondes Martenot.
‘Océanie’ was originally shown at the Royal Academy, London to mark the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook’s first expedition to the Pacific on the ‘Endeavour’. It celebrates the art of the vast region of Melansia, Micronesia and Polynesia; from New Guinea to Easter Island, Hawaii to New Zealand.
On show is an enormous range of art and artifacts: ornaments, ancestral carvings, masks, canoes, fabrics, ritual figures and representations of gods.
Kavat Mask (New Britain, PNG, 1890 – 1913)
‘Te otanga’ armour (Kiribati, end 19th century)
‘Akua hulu manu’ god image (Hawaiian Islands, late 18th century)
Nguzunguzu canoe prow figure (Solomon Islands, (1929)
‘Ahu ula’ feather cloak (Hawaiian Islands, early 19th century)
Paul Sérusier ‘The Talisman’ (1888)
In 1888 Paul Sérusier was painting together with Paul Gauguin in Pont Aven, Brittany, north-west France. Gauguin advised Sérusier: “How do you see these trees? They are yellow. So, put in yellow; this shadow, rather blue, paint it with pure ultramarine; these red leaves? Put in vermilion.”
When Serusier returned to Paris he showed his painting to his fellow artists (the future ‘Nabis’) and it was to be their influence in developing a style which would be revolutionary in its relationship between colour and form. The painting became their ‘Talisman’.
Paul Gauguin ‘Fête Gloanec’ (1888)
Maurice Denis ‘Landscape with Green Trees’ (1893)
George Lacombe ‘Marine Blue, the effects of waves’ (c.1893)