Death and the Sun (King)

In the movie The Taking of Power by Louis XIV, the Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini concludes his film with a scene showing the Sun King, tired and overwhelmed by the burden of absolute power. After a long day spent embodying absolute power under the watchful eyes of his courtiers, the sovereign asks to be alone and enters his private apartments. He proceeds taking off his ridiculous clothes and wig to put on a simpler and more comfortable jacket. Then, he grabs a book of Maxims by La Rochefoucauld, lying around on his desk, and begins reading them aloud. He comes … Continuer de lire Death and the Sun (King)

Le (Roi) Soleil et la mort

Dans La Prise de Pouvoir par Louis XIV, le cinéaste italien Roberto Rossellini conclut son film en montrant le Roi Soleil, las et accablé par le fardeau du pouvoir absolu. Après avoir joué la comédie du pouvoir sous l’oeil des courtisans l’entourant de leurs attention, le souverain demande à être seul et rentre dans ses appartements privés, ôte ses vêtements et sa perruque ridicules pour mettre une veste plus simple et confortable. Il se saisit d’un livre de Maximes de La Rochefoucauld trainant sur son secrétaire, et se met à les lire à voix haute. Il tombe alors sur cette … Continuer de lire Le (Roi) Soleil et la mort

From youthful energy to sorrowful maturity

It’s difficult to imagine two works as different as Britten’s piano concerto and Mahler’s Lied von der Erde. When Britten composed his piano concerto in 1938, commissioned by Sir Henry Wood for his Promenade concerts, he was only 24, but he was already an established composer. It’s a crowd-pleasing piece that is full of bravura, energy, catching tunes and is made to wow both the critics and the audience, but it’s also full of satire and wistfulness. It’s also a piece that reflects the context in which it was created, both the uncertainty of the pre-World War II period and … Continuer de lire From youthful energy to sorrowful maturity