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The Musical Works of Pauline Viardot-Garcia ( )

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Salle Favart from 12 to 24 October Dates 12 October 8. Activity related Meeting the artists from 06 February to 18 December Meeting the artists from 12 March to 25 November Je vous quitte pour le soir — demain je continuerai et j'expedierai cette lettre. Gute Nacht, liebster, strenger Freund. Je rentre bien fatiguee et encore plus enrhumee — decidement les rhumes et les maux de gorge courent dans Paris, malheureusement pas assez fort pour ne pas laisser attrapper par tous les imbecils qui mettent le nez dans la rue.

II m'est venue quelque visite dans la matinee, puis nous sommes alles tous ensemble chez ma mere qui nous attendait avec du vin et des gateaux, selon sa classique habitude. Pauvre maman, elle est dans sa 78 me annee, et chaque fois qu'il faut charger d'un an le millesime, son front se couvre de nuages, son sourire prend une teinte de plus en plus triste, ses yeux se remplissent de larmes, et chaque baiser contient un soupir.

Ma mere est bon philosophe dans la vie pratique — elle a toute sa vie durant su supporter les plus grands chagrins comme les plus grands revers avec courage et resignation. L'elasticite de sa nature est telle que son humeur enjouee a toujours fini par reprendre le dessus — mais depuis quelques annees The Musical Quarterly remarked the ravages of time; her sight is failing, her legs sometimes refuse obedience, her memory — formerly marvellous — plays her false at every turn; in a word, she feels the constraint of old age which she most cordially detested when young , implacable old age, the forerunner of death!

My mother, as you know, is Spanish and which is of greater significance was brought up in Spain. It suffices to tell you that she unites a great deal of Catholic superstition to a total lack of religion. She is not quite sure that a God exists, but she would not swear that there is no Devil, and I grieve to say that from what I can see, this latter gentleman terribly engrosses her attention. A species of Jesuit has found a way to sneak into her home, and nourishes the poor woman's spiritual frailties to his own advantage.

With the tact and courage which distinguish these good people, when my husband or I enter at one door he slips out at the other. Then my mother is the first to hold him in derision! I should be very glad if somebody else were to carry them all off! As for my father, he believed in neither God nor Devil — his personal religion was life with all its most ardent passions, it was art, it was love. He was handsome, he possessed genius, he had a passion for everything beautiful, and he never gave a thought to what might come after his life so full of sunshine and lightnings.

I should like to know how it could happen that a being as calm as I should be the offspring of two such opposite natures! Calm in com- parison with them, be it understood — yes, calm and obstinate, or stupid, as you will.

Full text of "Pauline Viardot-Garcia to Julius Rietz (Letters of Friendship)"

For, after all, the somewhat superstitious notions of my mother never gained a hold on me. I was too young when my father died to have been in- fluenced in any way by his purely material ideas, that is true. But how did I come by that innate faith which I have borne within me since earliest childhood — a faith that nothing has ever been able to shake, neither the most skeptical of books nor the ethics of the philosophers? I cannot propound any formula for my faith, but I have the firm conviction that the soul is immortal, and that all loves shall one day be united — the great loves, whatever be their nature, provided that they have made themselves worthy of it.

Perhaps, in order to reach the goal, one must be put to the test of several existences in the spheres, in worlds ever lovelier and better.

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Do not laugh at me, dearest friend; I know no more about it than anybody else, and, above all, I cannot give a definite shape to my thoughts on a subject so difficult, so impossible to explain. But all that I do know is this — that there is within us a divine spark which does not perish, and which will end in becoming a part of the great light. Do you believe so, my friend?

Oh, try to have confidence and faith like me — you will see how good, how beautiful it is! The 2d. Good-morning, dear friend. Yesterday's autograph is that of Mme. Sand — doubtless you have already guessed it. The 3d. Another day gone, in which they have left me no time to write you.

It began very late for me, because Louis insisted on my staying in bed until 11 o'clock — yesterday I was really coughing too badly — the foggy weather was to blame — it happens very seldom, Heaven be praised, that anything is the matter with me, but when it does happen, I have a bad attack. But as I enjoy quite a healthy healthy it never lasts long — I have never been seriously ill — the only sickness I ever had was the whooping cough, and only ten years ago, in Russia — and so my throat is sometimes affected.

As each of us bears within Pauline Viardot-Garcia to Julius Rietz elle s'appercoit elle me'me des ravages du temps — sa vue s'affaiblit, ses jambes lui refusent parfois le service, sa m6moire, autrefois prodigieuse, lui echappe a chaque instant, enfin elle sent l'etreinte de la vieillesse, ce qu'elle a le plus deteste quand elle etait jeune , l'impitoyable vieillesse, precurseur de la mort!

Ma mere est, vous le savez, espagnole, et, ce qui est plus significatif, elevee en Espagne. C'est assez vous dire qu'elle joint beaucoup de superstition catholique a un manque total de religion. Elle n'est pas bien sure qu'il y ait un Dieu, mais elle ne jurerait pas qu'il n'y ait pas un Diable, et d'apres ce que je vois avec douleur, ce dernier monsieur la preoccupe terriblement. Une espece de Jesuite a trouve moyen de se glisser chez elle, et alimente a son propre profit toutes les faiblesses d 'esprit de la pauvre femme. Avec le tact et le courage qui distinguent ces beaux messieurs, quand mon mari ou moi nous entrons par une porte, il se sauve par I'autre.

Alors ma mere est la premiere a se moquer de lui!. Je voudrais bien que quelqu'un d'autre les emportat tous! Quant a mon pere, il ne croyait ni a Dieu ni a Diable — sa religion a lui c'etait la vie avec toutes ses passions les plus ardentes, c'etait Tart, c'etait 1 'amour. II etait beau, il avait du genie, il etait passione pour tout ce qui 6tait beau, et il n'a jamais pense a ce qui viendrait apres sa vie si pleine de soleil et de foudres.

Car enfin, les idees un peu superstitieuses de ma mere n'ont jamais eu prise sur moi. Mais d'ou done me vient la foi innee que je porte en moi depuis ma plus tendre enfance, foi que rien n'a pu ebranler jamais, ni les livres les plus sceptiques, ni la morale des philosophes? Je ne peux donner aucune formule a ma foi, mais j'ai la ferme conviction que Tame est immortelle et que tous les amours se trouveront un jour — les grands amours de quelque nature qu'ils soient, pourvu qu'ils s'en soient rendus dignes.

Ne vous moquez pas de moi, theuerster Freund, je n'en sais pas plus long qu'un autre, et surtout je ne puis pas donner de forme arretee a mes pensees sur un sujet aussi difficile, aussi impossible a expliquer. Mais tout ce que je sais, e'est qu'il y a en nous une etincelle divine qui ne perit point et qui finira par faire partie de la grande lumiere. Y croyez vous, mon ami? Bonjour, cher ami.

L'autographe d'hier est de Mme. Sand — vous l'avez sans doute devine deja. Wieder ein Tag voriiber, wo man mir keine Zeit gelassen hat Ihnen zu schreiben. Er hat sehr spat fur mich angefangen, denn Louis hat mich gezwungen bis 11 Uhr in's Bett zu bleiben — ich hustete gestern gar zu schlimm — das nebligte Wetter war Schuld daran — es geschieht sehr selten y Gott sei Dank, dass mir etwas fehlt, aber wenn es einmal passirt, dann ist es sehr heftig.

Aber da ich eine ziemlich gesunde Gesundheit habe dauert es nie lange — ich bin nie formlich krank gewesen — die einzige Krankheit die ich je gehabt habe, ist Keuchhusten, und erst 10 Jahre her, in Russland — daher ist meine Kehle manch- The Musical Quarterly himself the seeds of death, I bear mine in me, and they are in my heart, which is too large — don't laugh, it is the literal truth — all the doctors Dr. Hahnemann among the rest have told me that I shall die of a rupture of the heart, and that I must guard against all violent emotions, etc.

Stuff and nonsense! In any event, do not be anxious, dear friend, I do not suffer in the least — the only thing that annoys me a trifle is the stairs — when I climb them hurriedly, I feel the enemy's presence — or when I happen to be very nervous at the beginning of the opera, for instance in the first scene in Norma, my heart beats so wildly that I become quite breathlessly excited, as if it were about to burst — that, to be sure, is painful, but as I said it does not last long and seldom occurs.

Why have I told you this? I am sorry, for your mind may dwell on it, and it is really nothing, I understand it better than the doctors, who have so often laid their ugly heads against my chest and back so as to discover or invent something unpleasant. Berlioz came to see me to-day — he is very sick — body and soul are diseased. His wife is really too disagreeable! Orpheus is the best by far, is it not? I covered up a certain bust with my handker- chief; afterwards, in order to be able to sleep with a clear conscience, we played the C-minor Symphony, and at the glorious crescendo in the final movement the ceremonial unveiling took place — and the bust did not look one bit cross because of our having played something by Liszt for it.

I don't know whether the Original would have been so magnanimous. I haven't a doubt of it — but only for the first moment — and then lofty intellect immediately asserts itself, and the wrathful mood becomes speechless and powerless; — I do not believe that you are a disciple of Talleyrand, who said: "One should distrust his first impulse, for it is almost always good. I love him very much, and think that he rather likes me, but there is no true bond of sympathy between us.

Our ways are too divergent — we have met each other, but not found each other — that is the difference. The 4th. As I foretold you, my friendship is passionate — and yet tranquil — for that reason it does me so much good. Love kills, when not allowed to burst into flame. To extinguish it — oh, that is a cruel torture — doleful, dreadful, deadly.

1867 operas

Bereft of sacred friendship, I should have died long ago. By it alone have I been resurrected — like Lazarus. Without it I could not live; it is my salvation, the genial ray of my existence. And so you are now fully aware are you not? I do not shrink from the responsibility of a copartnership in other lives, for I know that I can bestow as much friendship — unwavering, self-sacrificing, unselfish, loyal, untiring friendship — as any human being can feel; — I can love more than I can say.

Had I been born in the North, I should be a phenomenon — in my Southland the sun is warmer! The strange bringing-up that I had, so far to the north, endowed my romantic heart with stability and constancy — I should like to tell Pauline Viardot-Garcia to Julius Rietz mal angegriffen. Da ein jeder seinen t5dtlichen Keim in sich tragt, so trage ich auch den meinen, und der liegt im Herzen, welches zu gross bei mir ist — lachen Sie nicht, es ist die reine Wahrheit — alle Aerzte haben mir prophezeit D r.

Hahnemann unter andern dass ich vor Herzbruch sterben werde, und mich von alien heftigen Emotionen httten muss u. Dummes Zeug! Uebrigens angstigen Sie sich nicht, theurer Freund, ich leide garnicht — das einzige was mich ein Bisschen genirt, sind die Treppen — wenn ich sie schnell hinaufsteige, dann merke ich den Feind — dann wenn ich sehr nervos manchmal beim Anfang der Oper bin zum Beispiel im ersten Auftritt in Norma, dann klopft mir das Herz so wild dass ich ganz athemlos aufgeregt bin als ob es zerspringen wollte — das ist freilich schmerzlich, aber wie gesagt es dauert nicht lange und kommt selten vor.

Warum hab ich das gesagt? Es thut mir Leid, denn vielleicht werden Sie dariiber grUbeln und es ist wahrhaftig Nichts, ich weiss es besser wie die Aerzte, die ihre hassliche Kopfe Uber meineBrust u. Riicken so oft gelegt haben um irgend was schlechtes zu spliren oder erfinden. Berlioz war heute bei mir — er ist sehr krank — Leib und Seele sind angegriffen — Seine Frau ist gar zu unangenehm! Orpheus ist das Beste bei weitem, nicht wahr? Ich weiss nicht ob der Original so grossmlithig gewesen ware — Also grimmig konnen Sie sein?

Ich Hebe ihn sehr, ich glaube er mag mich auch ein wenig, aber die rechte Sympathie existirt nicht zwischen uns. Unsere Wege sind zu entgegen- gesetzt — wir haben uns begegnet, nicht gefunden — das ist der Unterschied. Ich habe es Ihnen vorausgesagt, meine Freundschaft ist leiden- schaftlich — und doch ruhig — darum ist sie mir so wohlthuend.

Die Liebe todtet, wo sie nicht aufflammen darf. Sie auszuloschen, ach, das ist eine grausame Qual — schmerzlich, schrecklich, todtlich. Ohne die heilige Freundschaft ware ich langst gestorben. Durch sie allein bin ich wie Lazarus auferstanden — ohne sie konnte ich nicht leben, sie ist mein Heil, der warmende Strahl meines Daseins. Ich flirchte mich nicht vor der responsabilitS auch andere Leben zu besitzen, denn das weiss ich y ich kann so viel Freund- schaft, bestandige, aufopfernde, uneigennlitzige, strenge, unermudliche Freund- schaft geben wie ein Mensch nur fiihlen kann — unaussprechlich kann icb lieben.

Do not be alarmed — it is nothing bad, it is only characteristic, and might possibly help you to understand much in me which may sometimes appear inexplicable. Shall I tell you?. Lewes 1 is open before me and my eyes fall by chance on this anti-Weimarian phrase: "Art is nothing but putting into shape! Genius is not to be confined within a ready-made mould; it is a giant who cannot don the habiliments of a man of ordinary stature. He must be clad, I admit, according to the conventions of our civilization, but it is not indispensable that his costume should follow the prevailing fashion.

All the dimensions being different, one may surely leave him the choice of material and form. To begin with, he will not let himself be clothed otherwise than suits his taste. By the way, have I ever told you that Homer is my passion? It seems to me that there is no work in music which might be termed equivalent to those — a work which is the ideal expression of an entire people. Even painting seems inferior to me. Mozart, Raphael, these two divine artists, appear less colossal than Homer and Phidias.


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I tremble, lest you treat me as a heretic — so much the worse, I tell you what I think, ready for discussion with you to your heart's content. I love discussions, for they generally serve to fortify each discusser in his own opinion. My children know Homer as other children know fairy tales and the stories of the Arabian Nights.

Louisette knows the most inconsiderable episodes of the Odyssey and Iliad by heart — she has the German translations by Jacobi, and Monje. Didie has named her wooden horse Balios! Isn't that delightful? The long letter continues with friendly and tactful criticism of some unmelodic phrases in "Neumark," the opera which Rietz was just then composing and which was first performed at Weimar in The letter ends with an allusion to her approach- ing tour through England. The next letter, the fourth of the autograph series of this year, is dated January 6.

A remark of Rietz about the fifth symphony of Beethoven leads her to exclaim : That is true, it all sounds so simply beautiful, so colourless in detail by reason of its simplicity, and so marvellously rounded and harmonious as a whole. It attempts no pretty effects heaven be praised!

Pauline García Viardot - Hai luli - Cecilia Bartoli

Great is the power of our divine art, and happy is he who can 1 G. Lewes's "The Life of Goethe" Die seltsame Erziehung die ich gehabt habe, ganz nordlich, hat Festigkeit und Ausdauer meinem schwungvollen Herz gegeben — ich mochte Ihnen etwas sagen, aber ich fUrchte dass Sie mich noch nicht gut genug kennen um es ohne Vorurtheil zu horen. Fiirchten Sie sich nicht — es ist nichts boses, es ist nur characteristisch und wtirde vielleicht helfen manches in mir zu verstehen was Ihnen zuweilen unbegreiflich vorkommen mag. Soil ich's sagen?

Lewes 1 est oUvert devant moi et mes yeux tombent par hasard sur cette phrase anti Weimarienne "Die Kunst ist Nichts als Gestaltung! Le genie ne peut pas contenir dans une forme toute fatte deja, c'est un geant qui ne peut entrer dans les vetemens d'un homme de taille ordinaire. II faut qu'il soit habille, j'en conviens, d'apres les regies de notre civilisation, mais il n'est pas indispensable que son costume soit a lui [? Puisque toutes les dimensions sont autres on peut bien lui laisser le choix de Fetoffe et de la forme. D'abord il ne se laissera pas habiller autrement qu'a son gout.

II me semble qu'il n'y a pas en musique une ceuvre qui soit l'equivalent de celles-la — une ceuvre qui soit 1 'expression ideal e de tout un peuple. La peinture mSme me semble inferieure. Mozart, Raphael, ees deux divins artistes, me paraissent moins immenses que Homere et Phidias. Je tremble que vous ne me traitiez d'heretique — tant pis, je vous dis ce que je pense, quitte a discuter avec vous tant que vous voudrez. J'aime les discussions parcequ'en general elles servent a fortifier chaque discuteur dans sa propre opinion. Mes enfants savent Homere comme d'autres enfants savent des contes de fees et les histoires de Mille et une nuit.

Louisette kennt auswendig die kleinsten Episoden der Odyssea u. Ilias — sie hat die deutsche tJbersetzungen von Jacobi, und Monje. Didie hat ihr hblzernes Pferd Balios genannt! Es ist wahr, es klingt alles so einfach schon, so effektlos im Einzelnen wegen der Einfachkeit, und so wundervoll rund und harmonisch im Ganzen. Er sucht keine hiibsche Effecte, Gott sei Dank, darum dringt die schone, wohl- The Musical Quarterly wholly surrender himself thereto!

But, like the God of the Bible, it is a jealous god, who straightway forsakes and chastises the transgressor who neglects him to run after strange gods. I mean idols: is the word Abgott correct? This uncertainty prompts her to remark However you may assure me that you understand everything in French, I always find it irksome to address you in that language.

It always seems to me that I am not writing absolutely to you when I employ anything but your own language. For we have never spoken French together. To me you are a perfect type of the real German artist — so good, so noble, so childlike, and oh, so ungainly through and through! And just all that suits me so well — and the French language is not at all in keeping with it.

You must have patience with my salad of tongues — I do the best I can — and am not attempting literary composition. Her remark about Rietz's awkwardness must have worried her, for she hastens to add at eleven P. Viardot's opinion of her existing portraits and for her remarks about Julius Stockhausen's Bach choir: I am vexed that there is no really good portrait of myself. The best of any is the one by Lallemand. To be sure, I have the steel engraving after the great oil painting by Ary Scheffer, but it is not well done the steel engraving. Some time or other you will get it, to keep company in the portfolio with that of Norma, which, after all, is not so bad as it pleases you to say.

In the litho- graph by Lallemand I find an air of abstracted contemplation which displeases me. Some day, if I happen to be in the vein for drawing, I shall try to make a little sketch, which I shall send you in a letter 1. Stockhausen told me recently that he intends to go to Leipzig in February. His Bachgesellschaft, very good for Paris, would be positively wretched for any German city.

It comprises some fifty voices, almost all of which are poor, except about a dozen that belong to German throats. He takes extraor- dinary pains merely to attain the result that they sing true and in time. As for shading and delicacy, that is and always will be out of the question. I fear that S. Did Mme. Viardot have occasion to greatly modify her views in later years? Gross ist die Macht unserer gottlichen Kunst, und glUcklich der, der sich ihr ganz hingeben kann.

Sie ist aber wie der Gott der Bibel ein eiferslichtiger Gott, und verlasst, und bestraft sogleich den Frevler der sie vernachlassigt flir einen andern Abgott. Je veux dire idoles, ist das Wort Abgott richtig? II me semble tou jours que ce n'est pas tout a fait a vous que j'ecris quand j'emploie autre chose que votre propre langue. Wir haben ja nie franzosisch zusammen gesprochen. Mir sind Sie ja ein wahrer Typus eines echt deutschen Klinstlers — so gut, so edel, so kindisch und ach, so durch und durch ungeschickt!

Gerade das alles gef allt mir so sehr — und die franzosische Sprache passt gar nicht dazu. Sie mlissen Geduld mit meinem Salat von Sprachen haben — ich helfe mich wie ich kann — et ne cherchfe pas a faire de la litterature. Ich argere mich, dass es kein wirklich gutes Portrait von mir giebt. Das Beste ist noch das von Lallemand. Wohl habe ich den Stahlstich von dem grossen Oehlbild von Ary Scheffer, es ist aber nicht gut gelungen der Stahlstich. Sie werden es doch einmal bekommen, pour tenir compagnie dans le carton a celui de Norma, qui n'est pourtant pas si mauvais que vous voulez bien le dire.

Je trouve dans la lithographie de Lallemand un air d'observation distraite qui me deplait. Si un jour je me trouve en bonne veine de dessiner, j'essaierai de faire un petit croquis que je vous enverrai dans une lettre 1. Stockhausen hat mir neulich gesagt er beabsichtige in Februar nach Leipzig zu gehen.

Seine Bachgesellschaft, sehr gut fiir Paris, ware ganz miserabel fllr irgend eine deutsche Stadt. Er hat einige 50 Stimmen die fast alle schlecht sind, ausser ungefahr ein Dutzend die deutschen Kehlen gehoren. Er giebt sich ausserordentliche Miihe um den einfachen Zweck zu erreichen dass man rein und im Takt singe.

Von Niiancirung und Feinheit kann nicht, wird nie die Rede sein. Ich fUrchte S. Er muss bei jeder Pause 1, 2, 3 a nous! It is a puzzle for students of race psychology to solve why choral music flourishes quite naturally in some countries and in others not at all.

Good-evening, dear friend. Yesterday I had not a moment to spare for writing. I was away from home nearly all day, and at 6 o'clock we dined at Rossini's. He always has a diabolical wit. His wife told us how they had received that morning the visit of a lady who lamented that she had eaten onions. The other evening a pianist and a violinist were deciphering a piece of Rossini's, written very recently. Each went his own way, without rhythm and without measure. Carafa said to him, "But, mio caro, do tell them to play together! He has composed some operas 1 , which he has survived. Although he was an old friend of my father's, I never could bear him.

In youth he was a libertine — at present he is sixty- three, and is an old libertine, that is all the difference. In the evening a great many people came — a very mixed company — some of our friends, too, such as Reber, M. Cremieux the lawyer , M. Legouve, the author — then a crowd of dreadful little tuppenny musicians.

Rosenhain played three Bagatelles after his fashion — then a' deformed young person mee- owed "Voi che sapete"; after that — the mere thought makes me blush with indignation — a bad singer of comic chansonettes regaled us wit h the Lord knows what disgusting platitudes, intended to excite laughter.

Yes, my friend, just imagine that in Paris there are people who have no other trade, who are paid for that, and who often win a larger audience and greater applause than serious artists. I felt affronted at meeting and hearing a creature like that at Rossini's! Mind you, while I was almost in tears with vexation, they were laughing and applauding frantically. Ah, it is hardly necessary to say that I felt outraged — I could not stand it any longer, and departed, so as not to wit- ness further such an abasement of art.

As for Rossini, this sort of magic lantern, all this crowd that passes through his salons as through a street, amuses him. It is my private opinion that he laughs to himself at everybody and everything — there are but very few people whom he regards with some little affection; I flatter myself that I am one; — he greatly liked my father, for whom he wrote several of his principal operas, the Barbier, Otello, Donna del Lago, etc.


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I never see him kiss any one except myself. To-morrow, or later, he wants to come to hear my organ. What shall I play for him? Bach, no doubt. But no, I think I shall do better to let him play himself; that will amuse him much better — and me, too. The rest of the letter is taken up by a minute schedule of her approaching concert tour through Great Britain and Ireland, from January to March.

It has all the ear-marks of the "one- iSome operas? Michele Enrico Carafa de Colobrano composed 36 operas, not to mention his other baggage. Gestern habe ich keine Minute Zeit gehabt zum schreiben. Ich bin fast den ganzen Tag ausgeblieben, und um 6 Uhr haben wir bei Rossini dinirt.