Welcome to Marie Antoinette's Home Page
I'm Fumie Sakurai, a Japanese translator. I translated gMarie-Thérèseh by Susan Nagel, gThe Lost King of Franceh by Deborah Cadbury and gMarie Antoinetteh by Joan Haslip from English into Japanese. After publishing Haslip's book, I wanted to express my thoughts on the Queen, so I made this Website in 2001 and still update it.
This site comprises as follows:
@@The contents of Haslip's gMarie Antoinetteh
@@The review of Cadbury's gThe Lost King of Franceh@@Columns(Antoinette's innermost thoughts, Music relating to the Queen, etc.)
@@The photographs of France and Austria (my husband's works)
@@The back numbers of the front pages
If you want to listen to gC'est mon amih by Marie Antoinette (Arranged by AKI), please see AKI's site in the link. Ms. Mayuko Karasawa, soprano, sang the song for the first time in Japan in 2003.
@The following is the extracts from Columns.
yJoseph FouchezyMarie Antoinette's HeadzyElizabethzyTrip to Paris and VersailleszyMadame CampanzyLibertyzySissizyL'Herbier de Marie-AntoinettezyMadame du BarryzyMarie CarolinezyMadame Le BrunzyMaria CarolinazyMadame de PolignaczyCorrespondence of Marie AntoinettezyMaria TheresazyMaria AntoniettazyDantonzyMadame Royale by CastelotzyMarie-Antoinette l'insoumisezyLouis-PhilippezyLuciazyJewels of Marie ThérèsezyMadame de la Tour du PinzyThe Private Life of Marie AntoinettezyMARIE-ANTOINETTE and the Last Garden at VersailleszyThe Queens of FrancezyVersailleszyThe Kings of FrancezyCatherine the GreatzyThe Duchess of Dino, DorotheazyIllustrated book of Marie AntoinettezyThe Great Royal FavoriteszyThe World Heritage by TBSzyBiography of Louis XIVzyExhibition of the LouvrezygThe French Revolutionh of Christopher HibbertzyMadame TussaudzyLuigi XVIzyMarie Antoinette's family in ItalyzyMarie-Antoinette of Evelyne LeverzyBiography of RobespierrezyMarie Antoinette in the quiz programzyLa petite musique de Marie-AntoinettezyQueen of FashionzyThe DanaidszygThe Memoirs of Marie Antoinettehby Madame CampanzyThe large-sized color book on Marie AntoinettezyAndrea Chénier in 2006zyNapoleon and VersailleszyMarie Antoinette and ManzonizyA Novel gThe Hidden Diary of Marie AntoinettehzyLouis XVIIIzyMarie Antoinette's pearlszyMarie Antoinette's friend, Georgiana DevonshirezySummer in 2005zyMary RobinsonzyMarie Antoinette's hairstylezyIl Viaggio a ReimszyLe cabinet doré concertzyOmbres et LumièresMusique françaisezyThe first performance of Marie Antoinette's songszyIphigénie en AulidezyThe Lost King of FrancezyPortrait of Louis and a lecture on Marie AntoinettezyTV programme on Marie AntoinettezyC'est mon ami by an orchestrazyAntoinette's cardboard dollzyGluckzyRidiculezyMarie Antoinette and KouglofzyBeaumarchaiszyAndrea ChénierzyBal au Palais de VersailleszyThe exhibitions at TokyozyAntoinette's innermost thoughtszyMy opinion after reading gMarie AntoinettehzyMusic relating to the Queenz
yJoseph FouchézBorn into a shipping business family, Joseph Fouché studied at the Oratory, became a teacher there, and went into politics after the Revolution broke out. He voted for the death penalty of Louis XVI, massacred many civilians in Lyon and was the Minister of Police under the Directory, Napoleon, Louis XVIII, but he was obliged to resign because of his infamous regicide and died at Trieste as an exile.
I read the latest biography, gFouchéh by Emmanuel de Waresquiel (Tallandier, 2014, 830 pp.). This long and detailed work also spotlights Fouché as a private citizen by new historical sources.
Marie Thérèse, who adored her father, never forgave Fouché for his crime while he blamed her for having prevented his comeback under the first Restoration. The relationship between Marie Thérèse and Louis XVIII got worse over godious Fouchéh under the second Restoration. Fouché kept the Duchess of Guiche (daughter of Madame de Polignac) waiting for long time without offering a seat when she obtained a passport. Franz I advised her daughter Marie Louise to ask Fouché for his opinion in case of emergency when he gave her in marriage to Napoleon.
Madame de Stäel was a favorite of Fouché. Delphine de Custine, widow of the general, called him gChéchéh. As a teacher, he was adored by his colleagues and his students, and he protected them later. He was uxorious and a fond father. After his former wife died, he discovered her much savings. He remarried a noblewoman who was about 30 years younger than him ( her relatives called her gThe mother Fouchéh scornfully ). When she was suspected of a love affair, he lost his calmness and was heartbroken. The life of his children was also written in this book.
Fouché was 175 cm long, which was tall at that time. He loved music like his second wife and his daughter. He was perspicacious enough to write to Napoleon in 1804 that the nation loved peace, and to notice the new era that commerce and trade would change the world in the 19th century.
A scene gave me a deep impression. That is the first audience which Louis XVIII granted to Fouché at the kingfs small room in Saint Denis in 1815. What kind of thought crossed their mind ?
Some sobriquets by contemporaries are excellent. Madame de Stäel called Louis XVIII gPhilosophical kingh. Napoleon gRobespierre on horsebackh (Constant). An Ultraroyalist gSaint Just of White Terrorh.
yMarie Antoinette's HeadzI read gMarie Antoinette's Headh by Will Bashor (Lyons Press, 2013). The main focus of this book is Léonard's life rather than popular towering hairstyles in 18th century.
The author says in a note on sources that the work is based on Léonard's memoirs ghostwritten. So there are some stories different from common ones or historical facts. But with that in mind, one can enjoy the 18th century world.
Léonard came to Paris only with an aesthetic sense and an ambition and succeeded as hairdresser thanks to his sociality. He became popular among ladies, doing hair of Madame du Barry or Marie Antoinette. He was jealous of Mademoiselle Bertin though he recognized her talent. Two younger brothers of Léonard also became hairdresser, which confuses historians.
When Marie Antoinette lost a lot of hairs because of childbirth, Léonard panicked at it, but he could change the crisis to a chance. He survived the Reovolution and died in the reign of Louis XVIII.
yElizabethzLouis XVI cut a poor figure in the presence of Marie Antoinette. His sister, Elizabeth, more. I read the latest long biography, gMadame Élizabeth Soeur de Louis XVIh of Anne Bernet (Tallandier, 2013). I could be immerse in the atmosphere of the 18th century by this book on Elizabeth who is often regarded as a saint.
Nicknamed Babet, Elizabeth lost her parents in her early childhood. She was a feeble baby, but grew up to be a healthy lady who was good at mathmatics and horse riding, though no talent for mjusic. Pious, considerate, she ran a clinic for free for the poor in her estate, or took care of the Countess of Artois on the point of dying to whom nobody paid attention. She was also used by her selfish, calculating servants or friends. When she was involved in a court intrigue, she retorted and the Queen was taken aback by it.
After an eviction from Versailles, Elizabeth went there and when she saw the palace and the garden at a distance, she was afflicted by the devastation. She was unmoved when demonstrators invaded the Tuileries and one of them put a saber to her throat. Before she was taken to the Temple, she cut an unfavorable letter into small pieces and swallowed them.
At the Conciergerie Elizabeth asked a jalor the whereabouts of Marie Antoinette. And after she was given a death sentence, she demanded a pen and ink to write to the Queen. She didn't know the Queen's death just before her execution.
This book is a compulsive reading because it gives us a lot of unknown facts such as her tragic love, her parmistry. I wish this kind of book would be translated into Japanese.
yTrip to Paris and VersailleszI went to Paris and Versailles. It was fair and summer. I also saw a lot of items belonged to Marie Antoinette and her family.
In Les Arts Décoratifs Museum I saw a jewelry inlayed with portraits of Marie Antoinette and her family, two crystals with portraits of Louis XVI and his wife, a large-sized portrait of the Duchess of Berry, a cradle for Henri. Sèvre plates are exhibited such as a gift from Louis XV to Maria Carolina (Marie Antoinette's sister), du Barry's.
I gave attention to a colorful flower-painted ewer which the Queen may have used before the execution, a part of faded carpet which is believed to cover the floor of her cell at the Conciergerie. In the Musée de l'Histoire de France we can see various historical persons' handwritings in addition to the Queen's. I thinik Robespierre and Madame de Staël wrote skillfully. There are handwritten documents of Louis XV and his wife, a testament of Napoleon at Longwood.
I visited a grave of the Bourbons at the crypt of Basilique de St-Denis. While it was hot outside, I felt cool inside the crypt. There are a cenotaph of Louis XVII and a crystal urn containing his heart. Postcards of them are on sale at a shop.
One of my friends, who is very kind, intelligent, erudite French lady, deigned to guide me round the redecorated department of the 18th century works of art in the Louvre. We can see each item of Marie Antoinette's bulky necessaries of voyage; a small bottle of eau de cologne and funnel, chocolate pot and beater, tea pot and tea cups, broth bowl, cream pot, powder pot, small tray painted a house. A porcelain spitoon has a monogram of Marie Antoinette and a painting of pink roses. I asked my friend about a use for an item like an egg cup. She answered it was used for washing eyes.
There are also Marie Antoinette's collection; a gold-lacquered writing case, two ewers (originally Madame de Pompadour's), caskets, soup plate (sky blue, pink roses), round tray of pearls and cornflowers for icecream cups.
The Queen's armchairs from Saint-Cloud, a fire screen of Madame du Barry and so on are exhibited in Marie Antoinette's room. There is a pair of andirons (from Fontainebleau) in the Turkish-style room of the Count of Artois. The gueridon in the room of Louis XVIII is decorated with a medaillon of the King promenading the Hartwell House, white lilies. Madame Récamier's salon and room were reproduced where we can see pretty pink sheets or curtains. Regarding Marie Antoinette's daughter, Marie Thérèse, there are her bust, a gift from Louis XVIII like a tiara of emeralds and diamonds, bracelet of rubies and diamonds. A lot of furniture of the family of Louis Philippe is on exhibit.
And Versailles. My friend showed me round the city. Thanks to her, I got to know the monument of the Duke of Berry in the Cathedral Saint Louis. He was assassinated in Paris in 1820 and his word, gForgive the assasinh is carved on it. After lunch, she gave me delicious icecreams of rose and violet as a treat. I had to take her leave owing to the time, but I do appreciate her guide round Paris and Versailles, and her valuable explanation of everything because my trip became productive.
Then I visited the Lambinet Museum with Mayuko Karasawa, who is active in France, and whose gC'est mon amih by Marie Antoinette was broadcast on national radio in Japan recently. In the museum there are various exhibits of Charlotte Corday. The terracotta bust of Saint Just is rare ! I was dazzled by the gorgeous interior decotation of apartments. After the visit, Ms. Karasawa took me to the Peiti Trianon in her car (Thank you very much !). Marie Antoniette felt at ease at the Petit Trianon. While inside the palace there were many visitors, a few of them were in hamlet and I had a very good time there.
Some photographs of this trip can be seen in the Japanese version. Click here, please.
yMadame CampanzI read gMadame Campan Première femme de Chambre de Marie-Antoinetteh by Inès de Kertanguy, Tallandier, 2013.
Madame Campan, aged 15, was selected as a reader for daughters of Louis XV thanks to the education her father had instructed her to receive. Louis XV felt a great interest in this reputed prodigy and teased her. When she frequented the rooms of the princesses, Marie Antoinette noticed her and they made friends. Later she was elevated to a femme de chambre of the Queen.
Madame Campan put her life in danger and suffered a suicide or an execution of her family members during the Revolution. Under the republic she established a boarding school from scratch to provied for her many dependents. She run it well because some members of the Bonaparte enrolled in it. Napoleon found her talent and appointed her as supervisor of la maison de la L'égion d'honneur d'Écouen.
Madame Campan never forgot Marie Antoinette, showing the Queen's dress or cup, talking about anecdotes on the Queen, to her students. She carried a snuffbox with a miniature of Marie Antoinette with her, which Napoleon, who disliked ingratitude, praised. She talked about the Queen even just before her death.
By changes of government, she lost her house, her farm, her property. But she summoned up her courage, never compromised her belief and never thought of exile.
yLibertyzHow did women get involved with the French Revolution? What kind of influence did it exert on them? gLiberty The lives and times of Six Women in Revolutionary Franceh by Lucy Moore (Harper Perennial, 2007) gives a vivid description of six women with completely different backgrounds, who were involved in the Revolution. Main characters are Mme de Staël, Thérèsia Cabarus, Manon Roland, Pauline Léon, Théroigne de Méricourt and Mme Récamier. The author gives lif to them.
Mme de Staël offered to help Marie Antoinette's escape or appealed to the general to rescue her, but the Queen didn't think well of her. Robespierre hated Thérèsia Cabarus and during her imprisonment, she wasn't allowed to take a bath or change clothes for about one month. She captured the mind of Tallien with her beauty. He took part in an overthrow of Robespierre and put an end to the Terror while he saved Thérèsia. Becoming a celebrity, Thérèsia was called gNew Marie Antoinetteh as the complaints to the new regime were growing. Her last husband was a nobleman, son of a lady-in-waiting of Marie Antoinette.
Marie Antoinette noticed Mme Récamier's beauty when she was a child, and found that she was a little taller than Madame Royale. Mme Récamier's lifelong friend was Mme de Staël, she also made friends with Georgiana Devonshire.
Among color plate section, there are portraits of Mme de Staël in a court dress aged 14, Thérèsia in La Force.
ySissizI read a plate-rich biography of Elizabeth which I had bought in Venezia some years ago. It is gSissi Imperatrice ribelleh by Alessandra Millo and Lino Monaco (Giunti, 2007).
Grown unconstrained in Bavaria, Sissi married the Austrian Emperor, couldn't adapt herself to the rigid court life in Vienna, came to get frustrated, always away on a journey. She was rebellious from childhood, sat stay only when sketching. It was said that she was a victim and her mother-in-law was a cold woman in their conflicts, but authors insist that the truth lies in the middle of it.
Sissi was so eager to keep her slim figure that she put compresses of salt water on her body at night. There was an unfounded legend that she was eating on a scale.
On the eve of her assassination, Sissi confessed agitatedly to her lady-in-waiting that she had dreamt of a white lady, who was said to appear before the Hapsburgs whose days were numbered.
From an astrological point of view, Sissi is gpessimistich, gcan't stay in the same place for a long timeh, gvery charming, often admiredh, glives a frustrated lifeh, gher mysterious atmosphere makes her fascinatingh, gtends to be melancholic, obsessiveh. I think the mention hit her characteristics. We can also see rare plates such as Sissi in gondola in which she talked with a lady, while a dog putting its paws on the edge of the gondola. A full-length portrait of Sissi wearing a white dress with a white fan in her hands. A half-length portrait of Sissi in silver and blue dress with braid decorated with jewelry.
When a court physician, Seeburger, diagnosed Sissi's eldest daughter wrongly and she died young, Sissi did everything in her power to sack him. But she didn't succeed in it, because her mother-in-law protected him. It was Seeburger that the Hapsburgs sent to dying Madame Royale.
yL'Herbier de Marie-AntoinettezI read gL'Herbier de Marie-Antoinetteh by Élizabeth de Feydeau (Flammarion, 2012), which gives you good information on vegetation in Trianon.
Marie Antoinette aged 14 already took an interest in plants and loved flowers in life. She was sent flowers even at Conciergerie. Her favorite violet was in mode , so a person in charge took care of the plant with affection. She sometimes planted trees or plucked fruits, and ordered her gadener to make flower beds for her daughter. She had a passion for horticulture. Her mother asked her ambassador Mercy to send her favorite fruit trees to her. I have read of domestic troubles because young ladies of those days wasted their money on dresses or accessories, following the Queen, but their desire to imitate Trianon garden also caused the troubles. After the Revolution, pots with the Queen's monogram were destroyed, some vegetation of Trianon was transplanted to Paris.
This book gives you explanation that vegetation was used for medicine, cosmetics, perfumes, accessories, dye, pesticide, furniture, and that breed improvements were done in various countries. There were trees indigenous to Japan which were naturalized in France, flowers that the persons concerned sent seeds from Japan to France, plants having gjaponicah as a part of a botanical name.
yMadame du BarryzWhen Marie Antoinette married into the French royal family, she found the royal mistress, Madame du Barry, and came into conflict with her. I read gMadame du Barry The Wages of Beautyh of Joan Haslip (Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2008) to know her better.
Jeanne Bécu took her mother's family name because her father was a monk. The Bécus were famous for their uncommon good looks, so they could find jobs in the houses of the nobility. Jeanne was strikingly beautiful from childfood. She was enraptured with her reflection in the shiny pan in a convent where she received education. When she went out into the world, having a talent for painting, she made a friend with Labille-Guiard who taught her the arrangement of colors or dressing. On the other hand her extraodinary beauty enthralling many men caused some troubles and she lost her job. But she met debauched du Barry, caught the King's eyes and became his official mistress. Fersen was dazzled by Jeanne, not by Marie Antoinette at court.
Madame du Barry loved not only jewels and luxury, but history, litterature, Shakespear. She played the harp to the King.
After the Revolution she was still fashionable enough to wear the latest dress by Mademoiselle Bertin. She took the perfumed bath and had a daily massage.
She fainted from the verdict in a courtroom, but after that she ate well. She struggled to the last and was guillotined.
Louis XV was recommended remarriage with the Princesse de Lamballe.
yMarie CarolinezMarie Caroline was named after her grandmother, Maria Carolina (Marie Antoinette's sister). I read gLa Duchesse de Berry L'oiseau rebelle des Bourbonsh of Laure Hillerin (Flammarion, 2010) because I wanted to know her better who was unconventional in my translation gMarie-Thérèseh.
As the author says, Marie Caroline enjoyed great popularity among the royal family under the Restoration and stirred authors' imagination like Hugo, Dumas, Balzac, though now she was completely forgotten. But she sent a eventful life, wandered from place to place in Europe.
She was driven from Naples to Sicily by the French troops when she was only a baby. After she lost her mother and her brother, she was brought up with her half brothers and sisters by her stepmother. At the suggestion of Talleyrand, she got married to the Duke of Berry. She didn't become accustomed to a stiff court life ridden by etiquette. She sometimes irritated Louis XVIII and Madame Royale with her lateness for a court function. She and her busband had many in common and they had a happy married life. But the Duke was assassinated, which surprised Napoleon in St. Helena.
Overcoming her husband's death, Marie Caroline decided to lay out a garden on the model of Marie Antoinette's Trianon and sent to see it. But Louis Philippe came to the throne at the revolution of 1830 and Marie Caroline was ousted from France. Frank and generous though she was, she couldn't forgive th Orléans, calling Louis Philippe gUsurperh, gPhilipponh. Although Marie Caroline admired her aunt, Marie Amélie, who loved her and was like an elder sister as a child, her love for her aunt turned to hatred.
Later Marie Caroline sneaked into France to attempt un uprising in favor of her son, but failed. She was arrested and imprisoned in a fortress where she gave birth to a girl (The author gives her opinion on the girl's father in the annex). After a release, she got married again to an Italian, who became an ideal husband.
We can see black-and-white photographs of old Marie Caroline in this book.
yMadame Le BrunzI read gElizabeth Vigée Le Brun The Odyssey of an Artist in an Age of Revolutionh by Gita May (Yale University Press, 2005). I found it readable.
Madame Le Brun's self-portrait was beautiful though she was an ugly duckling. With an aptitude of painting and her good looks, Madame Le Brun became Marie Antoinette's official portraitist. At the first sitting the Queen was considerate to the artist who was very strained. Both of them loved music and were of an age, so they formed a friendship regardless of their social standing. During the Revolution Madame Le Brun exiled herself with her only daughter, Julie. She was so curious that she visited historical sites and museums, sketching wherever she went. She was welcomed by society in Vienna, Russia, London as an official portraitist of Marie Antoinette.
She made friends with Maria Carolina in Naples and climbed Mount Vesvius. In Russia Catherine the Great wanted her to paint a portrait for her, but her plan wasn't realized because of her sudden death.
After 12 years of exile Madame Le Brun went back to home, but members of her family died one after another. As an education-minded and affectionate mother she was strongly opposed to Julie's marriage and became estranged from her. But Julie's death was a terrible blow to her. This biography says, however, that she spent her last years peacefully surrounded by her friends and nieces.
Madame Le Brun painted a portrait for one of sisters of Napoleon too, but the sitter was so rude to her that she deliberately said sharp words in her hearing. Did she see David's cruel sketch of Marie Antoinette on her way to the scaffold? The author answers th question in her book.
yMaria CarolinazMaria Carolina and Marie Antoinette were intimate sisters and brought up together, but the former was to marry the King of Naples in place of her two late sisters. Her life after that is not known so muh as one of Antoinette is. There are not many books on her, but I read gA sister of Marie Antoinetteh written by Catherine Mary Bearne about ninety years ago (Reprint, BiblioLife). It is an interesting biography describing characters vividly.
Maria Carolina was disappointed by her husband who was uneducated, coarse, pleasure-seeker, but she steered her way in the voyage of life by her own strong will and energy. Like her mother, Maria Theresa, she pushed reforms through, having many children, living a prosperous life. She planned to marry her daughter, Amélie, to Marie Antoinette's son (Dauphin). Two sisters decided to realize this alliance, but the son of Antoinette died of illness.
After the French Revolution, republican ideas began to spread into Naples and Maria Carolina became the focus of public slander and criticism. Many needles were found in coffee cups of her and her children. Maria Carolina blamed Louis XVI for his weakness and when his escape failed at Varennes, her terror and indignation knew no limits. She made every effort to save Antoinette, though the Queen of France was guillotined. The execution distracted Maria Carolina and even changed her character. When Louis XVII died, she sent a letter deploring his death to Emma Hamilton.
Finding a refuge in Sicily, Maria Carolina was banished to Austria under pressure of the British government. She kept portraits of her family including Marie Antoinette in her room. She loved her granddaughter and great-grandson, Marie Louise and the King of Rome. Marie Louise loved Maria Carolina better than anybody else.
Maria Carolina was a opium eater to relieve neuralgia with a face lined, white hairs in her last years. She died of apoplexy in 1814 when the Congress of Vienna sat.
yMadame de PolignaczI think gMadame de Polignac et Marie-Antoinette Une amitié fataleh of Nathalie Colas des Francs is an excellent, long biography which gives light on the unknown life of Yolande (Les 3 Orangers, 2008). This book contains her family tree, coat of arms, castle, a color bookmark of Yolande's portrait by Vigée-Lebrun.
Yolande was born in September 8, 1749 at Paris. As the author points out, her date of birth was same as Madame de Lamballe's. She was brought up by her aunt because her mother died young, and married at 19. Dressed simple without diamonds, Yolande was always calm and modest, lazy and indolent by nature, so it was her family that coveted positions or money at court. Her family urged her to ask a favor for them to the Queen. Unselfish Yolande was appointed to a governess to the children of the royal family but Madame Royale was so uncontrollable that she tendered her resignation.
On the eve of the Revolution, Marie Antoinette and Yolande had many altercations, though the Queen recognized her as one of her two true friends. After the storm of the Bastille the Polignac were ordered to escape from France by the royal couple and went to Switzerland, Italy, Austria. The Polignac remained loyal to the royal family, especially Yolande was tormented ever since by remorse for having left the Queen. She grew weak from illness and died at 44 in 1793 when the Queen was executed.
One of Yolande's cousin, to whom the Queen gave a belt that she embroidered herself, became a Jacobin. He was so popular among the public that Robespierre and Saint-Just were jealous of him.
Louise de Polastron appears as a lover of Artois in my translation gMarie Thérèseh. Thanks to the book on the Polignac I came to know that Yolande found Louise as a bride of her brother, but Louise sacrificed her husband for love to Artois.
This biography is gripping and regales me. I wish I could read a book of
this kind in Japan.
yCorrespondence of Marie AntoinettezAuthors of a substantial biography of Marie Antoinette invariably use correspondence of the Queen. The latest voluminous correspondence is gMarie-Antoinette Correspondance (1770-1793)h ed. Évelyne Lever (Tallandier Éditions, 2005). One can read the Queen's letters in chronological order to/from Maria Theresa, Madame de Polignac, Joseph II, Leopold II, Fersen, childhood friends, etc. The book also contains correspondence between Maria Theresa and Mercy, a letter from Gustave III to Louis XVI. Notes by Lever are interesting.
This work gives us a glimpse of a court life at that time; Marie Antoinette took a very hot bath and caught a bad cold. She went to a ball to see the world, not to dance. She gave a concert and sang in her apartment since she was the Dauphine. She inadvertently tore a letter to Joseph but sent it to him because it could be read. The count of Artois fell into a critical condition because of measles.
During the Revolution the Queen cried from the heart that the world should evaluate her rightly. She wrote to even Queen Maria Luisa of Spain to get her help. Mercy predicted from the first that the Revolution would bring down abominable consequence.
It is possible to read the Queen's growth as a human being in correspondence.
yMaria TheresazBlue eyes, strawberry blonde, high forehead, fine hands, snow-white skin. Elegant, sociable, love for riding, music, dance, performances, roses. It reminds me of Marie Antoinette, but it is a description of Maria Theresa. (Edgarda Ferri, gMaria Teresa Una donna al potereh, Mondadori, 2009). When she was young, her writing and spelling were poor like Marie Antoinette's.
Maria Theresa was an able monarch who reformed the judical system and military affairs in spite of objection of conservatives, even promoting an industry, generalizing education in Italy. She had a strong sense of responsibility, so she brought documents to her bed and worked wearing galsses till dawn. The British government called her gJeanne d'Arc of the Danubeh.
At 30 she already had 10 children and thought they were enough because of her physical strength and aging. If she had stopped a childbearing, Marie Antoinette wouldn't have been born. Her favorite son, Carl, died of smallpox, though she tended him day and night. Her favorite daughter, Maria Christine, had her lover before marriage.
Maria Theresa dared to threaten her father in order to get married to Franz Stefan. When he died suddenly, she cried all night long and concentrated on sewing of a sudario with her ladies-in-wating the next day. Several months later, Marie Antoinette begged her mother to care and smile at her because her mother was a shadow of her former self.
But after her husband died, she got an information on his secret child. According to research after her, it seemed it was true, which troubled her. This interesting biography gives a vivid description of Maria Theresa.
yMaria Antoniettaz"To the Scaffold" of Carolly Erickson was translated into Italian (Arnoldo Mondadori Editore S.p.A., reprinted in 2010).
At first Marie Antoinette's Hapsburg family and her background are described, especially her mother. She was distressed about her husband's love affairs and Marie Antoinette's sister, Maria Carolina, knew it.
When story is moved to France, apart from Marie Antoinette, there are explanations about the life style of pages or a severe winter on the eve of the Revolution in Paris when wolves strayed. In the Versailles Palace a chimney was not good and a soot stench permeated even underclothes. Parisians with their muddy shoes and wild cats and dogs were wandering inside the palace.
The author has a low opinion of Madame du Barry and Louis XVI, but his behavior on his execution is written more minutely than the Queen's and the description of it is true to life. There was another swindler who counterfeited Marie Antoinette's letters before the Diamond Necklace Affair.
yDantonzA young man from Champagne went to Paris and worked hard as a clerk at a law office to get his diploma. He fell in love with a daughter of a café's owner and got married with her. He borrowed money to buy an office from his acquaintance. His sons were born. His name might not have been entered in a history if the Revolution hadn't break out.
Having jumped on the tide, Danton became an idol of the Paris populace for his feature and eloquence, and involved deeply in the Revolution in spite of not his violent nature. He stopped the royal family from going to Saint-Cloud, voted for the execution of Louis XVI, refuted the hostile Girondins. But after assassination of Marat a confrontation between Danton and Robespierre increased. He began to doubt the Terror, sick of men, an attempt to reconcile with Robespierre failed. At last by an unsatisfactory trial without proofs and witnesses he and his friend, Camille Desmoulins, went to the guillotine.
Danton proposed that Marie Antoinette should repudiate Louis XVI and been sent back to Vienna with respect due to her noble status. He wanted to save her as the day wore on. He exposed himself to danger to save Talleyrand.
Some interesting scenes are Danton seeing the Bastille when swimming in the Seine, Robespierre ordering a glass of milk while Danton and Desmoulins wine at a café, Robespierre dandling Camille's son.
There is a caption ghellraiserh around a portrait of Hébert. It is so, expecially for Marie Antoinette and Louis XVII.
I read gTHE GIANT OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION DANTON A Lifeh (David Lawday, Grove Press, 2009). It gives us information that what became of Danton's widow left at sixteen.
yMadame Royale by CastelotzA Japanese edition of gMadame Royaleh by A. Castelot (Perrin, 1962) has not been issued.
The story begins with an account of married life of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. The book is readable and one can find the author's lamentation here and there which some readers might feel annoying.
Throughout the work, her melancholy and tragedy are tend to be stressed. Her bluntness is often described. But Castelot doesn't excessively criticized her, and he conjectures her psychological reasons behind her attitude. We can learn from this biography that aged Madame Royale got on a train, and that whom her beloved nephew fell in love.
yMarie-Antoinette l'insoumisezgMarie-Antoinette l'insoumiseh by Simone Bertière (Éditions de Fallois, 2002) is a long biography having over 900 pages. This book tells us that her life demands further investigation.
The author gives her persuasive opinion on the Queen's early marital relationship that is quite different from Zweig's. She investigated the truth of a common view or a popular version of history by searching sources thorouhly. For example, was the Queen really honest and supple? Did she get undressed completely at the time of the remise? Did Louis XVI eat a lot at the bridal night? She also states her own views; did the Queen cause the French Revolution and bankrupcy of France? Why did the nobles and the populace detest her? Why does she fascinate people in spite of her faults? What caused a failure in the escape to Varennes?
I could get to know that Mercy got married with his lover to legitimate their child during the Revoluion, and that Fersen's mother was descended from the French.
The author uses spoken langage too, and explains a nuance of old and new French.
yLouis-PhilippezWhile there are many books on the French Revolution or Napoleon, few books about the era from the Restoration to the Revolution of 1848. If you want to know more about this era, gThe Perilous Crownh by Munro Price (Pan Books, 2008) is recommendable. As Virginia Rounding says ga real page-turnerh, it is an engrossing non-fiction.
Main characters are Louis-Philippe, People's king, and his intelligent sister, Adélaïde. Sharing sorrows and joys, they were united by strong bonds. Their father, Philippe d'Orléans, was the archenemy of Marie Antoinette and voted for the execution of Louis XVI, so some books describe him as a villain, but this work says that he was forced into such an act by circumstances as a weak man, and that he had his fatherlike affecton for his daughter.
The children of the Orléans got unconventional education by Madame de Genlis, and when the Revolution broke out, they wandered from place to place. Under the Restoration they were on bad terms with the elder Bourbons and Marie Antoinette's daughter. After Charles X made a mistake about politics, Louis-Philippe ascended the throne. The author detailed the birth of July monarchy, the subsequent social, political state, Louis-Philippe's family life, his abdication.
You can read of Jules de Polignac, the son of Marie Antoinette's favorite. Louis-Philippe's wife, Marie-Amélie, was docile, domestic but at a critical moment she roused herself like Marie Antoinette.
yLuciazAttracted by the beautiful blue of Lucia's eyes and a subtitle, gA Venetian life in the age of Napoleonh, I bought gLuciah of Andrea di Robilant (Vintage Books, 2009).
I found that the author had found out the owner of a portrait of Lucia by Kauffmann, who also portrayed Maria Calolina, Marie Antoinette's sister, and that many figures known for a hisotory of the French Revolution appear in this book because the scenes of the story are laid in Vienna and Paris too.
I think that Lucia, a Venetian, would have lived a tranquil life in a peaceful age because her father and her husband held an important post. But after the Venetian Republic fell to Napoleon, her fate changed dramatically. Before Lucia was presented Francis II and Empress Maria Theresa, Mademoiselle Bertin, ex-Marie Antoinette's couturier, put the fianl touches to her dress at her house in Vienna.
Maria Theresa came from Naples, so she had a good time with Lucia and shared a talented court obstetrician with her. As the French Revolution worsened, Lucia noticed that the court of Vienna worried about the fate of Marie Antoinette.
Moving to Paris, Lucia who had heard a lot about Marie Antoinette went to see the Versailles Palace, the Petit Trianon, the hameau with interest. She went to search the common grave of Louis XVI and his wife. Louis XVIII was well treated by Lucia's husband while in exile, and he singled her out and spoke to her at an audience.
The domestic life of Lucia was also full of ups and downs. This book makes me think what husband and wife should be.
yJewels of Marie ThérèsezI happened to find gJewels in the Louvreh (Goets and Joannis, Flammarion, 2008) in a small book store.
The small, colour book gives a close, plain explanation to details of jewels from ancient times to the modern period. What dazzled my eyes is the diadem of Marie Thérèse, which comprises of 1031 diamonds and 40 emeralds. The explanation runs that the stones were taken from the crown treasury founded by Francis I, and that a jewelry of Marie Louise was partly changed for Marie Thérèse. This item was worn by Empress Eugénie, and taken to England by a public sale, it was bought by France.
We can see others such as a magnificent parure of Marie Amélie (sapphires and diamonds), a diadem of Eugénie (pearls), the Regent of 140 carats. A history of the Regent is like a fiction.
yMadame de la Tour du PinzElaborate biographies of Marie Antoinette invariably quote from memoir of Madame de la Tour du Pin. Among a few books on her, I readgDancing to the Precipicehby Caroline Moorehead (HarperCollins Publishers, 2009), which was unstoppable to read.
Lucie de la Tour du Pin (1770-1853) was a French of Irish origin, whose father was a soldier, mother a lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette. As a child she lived in Paris with her parents and autocratic, spiteful grandmother. This old lady and the Queen, who paid travel expenses for Lucie's mother, disliked each other. Raised up in a rich family full of many connections with the nobility of both England and France, in the Court and a religious world, Lucie was always troubled with her cold grandmother after her mother died young of illness.
Lucie's fortunes turned when her arranged marriage turned into a love match, thought she had to go through her children's death in succession or a series of exile forced by the Revolution, and died in a foreign country.
This book is excellent because a description of characters and customs is minute and lively, never boring. And figures with whome Lucie associated were those often appears in the Revolution history. Lucie was presented at Court with a necklace lent by Marie Antoinette. The Talliens helped her family escape to the United States. In America Talleyrand sent Lucie her possession, a cameo of Marie Antoinette, which he got back for her. She was introduced the Duchess of Devonshire who lost her look in England. Under the reign of Napoleon, she met the Emperor, Josephine, Marie Louise.(General Bertrand's wife was Lucie's half sister). Under the Bourbon restoration, Lucie's daughter presented bouquets to Marie Thérèse. I wonder why Saint-Just wore a gold earing.
yThe Private Life of Marie AntoinettezgThe Private Life of Marie Antoinettehby Madame Campan has not been translated into Japanese. The version of The History Press Ltd, 2008 carries many extracts from other books.
Madame Campan says that Marie Antoinette could speak Italian fluently and translate the difficult poems. But the Queen gave up German and English which she learned after 30.
According Madame Campan, Maria Theresa wanted to have a boy while she's pregnant with Marie Antoinette because she already had many daughters, or the Queen desired to get the engraving of Jeanne de La Motte. The author tells us about the bitterest enemy of the Queen or her new favorite after becoming estranged from Madame de Polignac. The Queen so trusted Madame Campan as to make her read a letter from Catherine the Great, so there were intrigues of separating them.
This book gives us the Queen's last words by Lamartine, a description of the coronation of Louis XVI and some letters of Joseph II.
yMARIE-ANTOINETTE and the Last Garden at VersailleszI read gMARIE-ANTOINETTE and the Last Garden at Versaillesh(Christian Duvernois, François Halard, Rizzoli International Publications, 2008).
This book explains that Louis XIV bought the Trianon estate and Louis XV had a large number of plants cultivated in novel greenhouses in the first half. Though Trianon was blamed for a waste of money or make-believe, Marie Antoinette made every effort to make her hamlet and gardens with talented gardeners, botanists, architects, and Trianon is still useful to sightseeing or an extracurricular lesson of children. We can get information about the manegement, fire prevention, security and cleaning of the gardens, labor conditions of the staff, various shapes of flower beds, vegetable gardens, and so on.
There was something which reminded the Queen of her native country in Trianon. A certain preparation was made to eat ice cream, her favorite, in summer. Some plans of Trianon didn't bear fruit because of the Revolution.
In the latter half, there are photographs worth seeing such as the painting on the ceiling of the temple of love, the interior of the grotto, the wall painting of the belvedere.
yThe Queens of FrancezgLe Pointh(7 May 2009) features the Queens of France, explaining the Queen Regent under the ancien régime, the true character of notorious Isabeau de Baviére, a deep love between HenriV and his wife.
The interview gives a full detail of a non-French princess'es marriage to a French prince; a process to her marriage, purposes of French maison, her way to escape from surveilance. There is an episode of a dinner in public when Marie Antoinette ate little while Louis XVI ate a lot.
yVersailleszgVersailleshby Tony Spawforth (St. Martin's Press, 2008) is an interesting biography of a palace, introducing a lot of anecdotes not to bore readers with a tedious history of architecture.
It reveals living conditions there such as gambling, hunting and music of Court, qualifications and quarters of servants as well as the origin of words,gVersaillesh,gTrianonh, and the reasons why Louis XIV moved the center of his country to Versailles. We can know about a bath, a toilet at that time, the place where the washing of princesses was hang out to dry, the leftovers' whereabouts. The book also tells us that courtiers were vexed with stink from toilets, and that Marie Antoinette's kitchen was damaged by poor toilet facilities.
I read of a change of the dress code at an audience by Marie Antoinette, her efforts to improve her image after the Diamond Necklace Affair, her precaution against an attempt on her life even inside the palace before the Revolution. I can't imagine that after the Revolution the Grand Canal was drained and the Petit Trianon was used for profit-making for some time.
This is an excellent book which reminds me of bygone days.
yThe Kings of FrancezgLe Pointhof 18 and 25 December 2008 features the Kings of France, with headlines of what we never know about them, their secret, their love, their diseases, their solitude on the cover. I didn't know Francis I was 180 cm in height or one of Dauphins died because of pigs. The 66 pages comprise opinions of scholars or authors, episodes of the Kings' favorites, photographs of royal treasures and so on.
One of biographer of Marie Antoinette was interviewed about the spleen of the Queens of France. She answered interesting questions such as criteria of a future queen, what the Queens knew about their future husband, their reaction at the first meeting, existence of a love match, their homesick, their acting, their attitude to womanizing husband, their next measure after their first public delivery and so on.
The sketch of young personable du Barry by Drouais took my breath away. We can see Francis I's sword , Louis XIV's big diamonds, a snuffbox with a portrait of Louis XV and his wife, Louis XV's fleur-de-lis-topped crown for coronation, decorated with 282 diamonds and various colorful jewels. The daguerrotype of Louis-Philippe sitting on an armchair made me think that his portrait by Winterhalter was lifelike.
In case you read Louis XIV's detailed medical history, you must have a strong heart, the magazine says.
yCatherine the GreatzgCatherine the Greathof Virginia Rounding (St. Martin's Griffin, 2008) is a long biography which gives us a detailed description of her inner thoughts and her family life.
The formidable, self-possessed Empress of Russia was a woman who wished to love and to be loved. Before her accession, she suffered from illness, insecurity and neglect. But during loneliness, she learned to act positively.
Catherine entertained Joseph II, Marie Antoinette's brother, in Russia. She liked him and described him as talkative and knowledgeable. We can know how he spent there and his flirtation from the book. When he died, she wrote that she felt sympathy for Marie Antoinette, and that she praised her for her courage. Catherine commissioned a cabinetmaker of the Queen to make some cabinets. There is a reference to Mercy, Mademoiselle Bertin, Louis XV too in this book. When Louis XVI was executed, Catherine took to her bed and proclaimed an official mourning (it was proclaimed when the Queen was guillotined).
Catherine's letters to Grimm about her family life, grandchildren gave me an impression that I heared her chat. Any letter is full of sensibilities, without affectation. Some people feel that her getting over grief is heartless, but it may have been all she could do.
We can see portraits of her parents, family, lovers. Vigée-Lebrun portrayed a composer who amused unmusical Catherine.
yThe Duchess of Dino, DorotheazI read gThe Duchess of Dinohby Philip Ziegler (Phoenix Press, 2003). She was the wife of a nephew of Talleyrand, but she became a lover of Talleyrand and he is said to be a father of her youngest daughter.
Dorothea's father, the Duke of Courland, was a notorious tyrant, who loved her, while her mother was always busy with social life, and neglected her. The Duke soled his duchy to Catherine the Great, so his family could make a good living. Dorothea was brought up by two tutors. She liked books, mathematics, climbing a tree, and she was not good at accomplishements. She was an ugly, precocious, moody child, but under such an appearance, intelligence and sensitivity were hidden.
At Mitau in Courland, Louis XVIII in exile adored Dorothea, and her union to the Duke of Berry was suggested. If this marriage had been realized, she would have been the sister-in-law of Marie Antoinette's daughter.
Though Dorothea had an admirer, she was forced to get married to a nephew of Talleyrand. At this time she had grown to be a beautiful lady with analytical intelligence and sharp understanding. After the Congress of Vienna in which she played a great role, her relationship with Talleyrand grew closer. Eventually she separated from her husband, and lived with Talleyrand. She went throught the problems of her children's marriage, management of her property in France and Prussia, an unfortunate family of her daughter. One of impressive scenes is that she mused in front of her mother's tomb,gIf my mother had loved me, my life would havech. Living for long time in France, Dorothea couldn't assimilated there because of a foreigner. She had love and hatred toward Paris because she was slandered like Marie Antoinette.
The book has beautiful portraits of Dorothea and her mother. Dorothea with big dark eyes looks like a strong-willed lady.
yIllustrated book of Marie AntoinettezOne of my familiy had given gLe Style Marie-Antoinettehof Adrien Goetz (Assouline, 2005).
Eyecatching rare items are belongings of Marie Antoinette, a bracelet inlaid with cameos and rubies, a fan representing a vessel and courtiers. There are flowery doors or a armchair in her apartments of the Versailles Palace. Their tone is light.
We can see photographs of a polonaise, a robe à l'anglaise, shoes in the 18 century. Some of the shoes are damaged, worm-eaten, but they are full of variety, colorful, having a cute design, so I'd like to try them on. There is also a picture of some hats with plumes or ribbons. It is fun imaging what dresses they suit.
In a engraving the Queen takes a walk leading Louis XVII by the hand with her daughter and her sister-in-law near the Petit Trianon.
yThe Great Royal FavoriteszI happened to find im my house gThe Great Royal Favoriteshof Armel de Wismes, Artaud Frères Publication, which I bought about 15 years ago in France.
The royal favorites from Charles VII to Louis XV are explained with their portraits or their castles. Charles VII loved passionately Agnes Sorel, so that she was always at his side. She bore him four children, but died of illness at 28. Francis I had a lover whom his mother disliked, so she intrigued to send her away. Henry II was deeply in love with Diane de Poitiers who was 20 years older than him to the last. She was an avaricious, selifish favorite, so she was detested by the public. During the Revolution, her sepulcher was desecrated. One of favoirtes of Henry IV, Gabrielle d'Estrées, prepared her wedding dress to marry him, but suddenly died. His last lover was 40 years younger than him.
Madame du Barry, a lover of Louis XV, didn't get along with Marie Antoinette. All the supporters of the Queen took part in a quarrel, and her attendants didn't want to sit next to Madame du Barry. But this royal favorite was good-natured. After the Revolution broke out, she took care of injured guards, and the Queen thanked her for her offer to help her. At the Conciergerie she could help a lady through an intermediary. Ironically her counsel at the revolutionary tribunal was the same lawyer as the Queen's.
yThe World Heritage by TBSzThe Palace and garden of Versailles as a world heritage was televised by TBS on April 13. Opening with an image of the magnificent palace, this program unfolded focusing on Marie Antoinette. What was the Palace of Versailles to the Queen ? A court life from the era of Louis XIV, a life of the Queen were explained with a picture of the apartments and garden of Versailles, portraits of the royal family and paintings. We could see the Queenfs favorite Petit Trianon, le hameau, makies, and details of decoration in her bedroom.
The Galerie des Glaces was overwhelming. What an enchanting picture of following slowly the glittering gallery where nobody was there ! I understood a size of Versailles by a birdfs-eye view from the grand canal to the palace.
An interview to Evelyne Lever and her apartments were informative.
Fortunately, I could take part in this program as one of general editors.
yBiography of Louis XIVzI read an interesting biography, gLove and Louis XIVh of Antonia Fraser (Anchor Books, 2007), which concentrates on women around the King rather than historical incidents.
The first woman who influenced the Sun King was his mother, Anne of Austria. She got this gGodgivenh child after some 20 years of her married life. He respected and was bound to her by strong bonds, though they quarreled over his affair.
Louis married his cousin, Marie-Thérèse whose white skin, proturuding Hapsburg lower lip, high forhead make me remind of Marie Antoinette. The Queen was good-natured and docile, but a bore, so the King's affair started. One of his mistresses was Madame de Montespan. She was suspected of poisoner in the Affair of the Poisons which terrified the court and society. But after she retired from the court, she devoted herself to charities, creating a hospice. Madame de Maintenon, whom Louis secretly married, had hard time. She didn't fill her own pockets even if she was in the King's favor. She was called gOld womanh by the King's sister-in-law, Liselotte, who had hostility toward her. Wild, having strong individuality, Liselotte used slang in her letters to her relatives.
The King adored his grandson's wife, Adelaide, in his last years. She was lively, fresh, springlike, so her presence brightened the court. But she and her husband died of illness all of a sudden, though both of them were still young. The King's heir was his very young great-grandson (Louis XV), because his son had already died. He must have worried about future.
Color portrais of main figures are printed in this book.
yExhibition of the LouvrezI visited an exhibition of the Louvre at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. Looking beautiful art works, I thougt about the court of France in the 18 century.
By tobacco pouches and bonbonnières with the portrait of a royal family, I knew the face of the unknowns and appreciated essence of exquisite workmanship neaby. There was a bonbonnière with the portrait of Marie-Josèphe. A biography of Louis XVI says that he inherited obesity, a squarish face, big blue eyes, abundant silvery blond hair from her. There was also a tobacco pouch with the pictures of royal palaces which had been demolished. I found it valuable because it helped me imagine what they had looked like.
In this exhibition lacquerware of Marie Antoinette was displayed too. Her chairs, candelabra, secretary were refined. I could have a good look at contents such as a toilet set or tableware of her big traveling case.
ygThe French Revolutionh of Christopher HibbertzgThe French Revolutionh of Christopher HibbertiPenguin Books, 1982) appeals to me whenever I read it. It states plain facts, merits and demerits of the French Revolution, not sermonic. After reading it, I don't feel like praising the Revolution uncritically.
I can easily immerse in the story. The features, characters and behavior of the leaders such as Danton, Robespierre, Marat are well described with concise words. Robespierre fed the sparrows in the gardens of the Tuileries. Fouquier-Tinville remarried and was blessed with many children. Carnot prevented Collot from using violence on Saint-Just. The author gives a full detail of the Bastille. The September Massacres are written vividly. When Lucille Desmoulins was sentenced to death, her mother wrote to Robespierre, begging him for her daughter's life, but if not, she asked him to kill her family, so that they could go to their final rest. I feel the uncertainty of life when I read the end of Madame de Noailles whom Marie Antoinette gave nickname, gMadame Etiquette h. The breath-taking scene is the days of Thermidor when Robespierre struggled for his life against his enemy.
Marie Antoinette, who spoke French with a slight German accent, is described as a proud counterrevolutionist.
yMadame TussaudzI found gMadame Tussaudh of Kate Berridge (HarperCollins Publishers, 2007) very interesting !
In the first half pre-Revolutionary Paris where Madame Tussaud lived is so vividly described that I forget that she is a heroine. Though in a class society there was a differential in amusements or candles, there were all kinds of show around the clock everyday, with shouts of hawkers in bustling Paris. Marie Antoinette liked a popular show too. Some people got hurt to take a look at the Queen's new hairdo (She put a vegetable in her hair for fun one day, but nobody imitated it). This book gives information about the Queen's bathing, audience, change of clothes, the Grand Couvert, protocol which she neglected.
After the fall of Bastille (whose house blend coffee was good, the book says), various kind of commodities on it were sold. We can see a pillow case with a picture of Bastille and fleur-de-lis. With the progress of the Revolution, while the fashion industry declined, printers thrived. Sans-culottes enjoyed etraining their dogs to growl at the word aristocrat.f When Marat was worshiped, babies named Marat increased. Ladies played executioner. Toy and accessories of guillotin appeared. The author presents us with a lot of other interesting episodes.
Madame Tussaud was taught how to make waxwork by her uncle and she became an art teacher of Madame Elizabeth. I read in the biography about her uncle's guests (Mirabeau, Lafayette), her reaction to pretenders to the Daupin, her settlement in England where she worked to finance the family business at first.
yLuigi XVIzThis summer when I traveled in Italy, I saw gLuigi XVIh of Antonio Spinosa (Mondadori, Milano, April 2007) at bookstores. I found it readable and enjoyed reading it.
I read about Luigi's unknown aspects, his childhood (he had his elder sister, Marie Zéphyrine). When he was a child, he was scolded for a bad record. But as he grew older, he read well and studied hard in spare moments from his work. He felt a great interest in science, investing a huge sum of money in explorers.
The King prohibited his subjects from using rusty scales or tableware made of lead. He also tried to help unfortunate children.
The book gives information that Nostradamus predicted the King's fate, and that before the assault on the Tuileries some maids witnessed a person who was supposed to be a ghost of the Tuileries.
I knew for the first time that the King was rumored to have a lover and a natural child, that the Comtesse d'Artois had an affair, that Marie Antoinette abandoned her spittoon, her case for toothpicks to make coins from them at a mint.
There are the King's testament, Edgeworth's memorandam in Appendix.
yMarie Antoinette's family in ItalyzThis summer, I made a trip to Italy where I could retrace Marie Antoinette's family.
In Naples there are a few coins celebrating the birth of Maria Teresa, the eldest daughter of King Ferdinando IV and Queen Maria Calorina of Naples at Museo Archeologico Nazionale. On the obverse of the coin, busts of the King and Queen are depicted, and on the back, a lady holding a baby in her arms. There are also some coins of Ferdinando IV and his son, Francesco I, a commemorative medal which was coined to celebrate Maria Calorina's marriage. A coin of the 7th year of French Republic bears a statue of liberty and a staff covered by a Phrygian cap.
In Appartamento@Reale of Museo di Capodimonte, I saw a portrait of family of Ferdinando IV by Kauffmann. In the picture against a background of pastoral landscape, Maria Calorina is dressed in white, with beige shawl on her shoulders. Her children are young Maria Teresa (later Empress of Austria) in red playing the harp, little Francesco I, baby Maria Amalia (later wife of Louis Philippe), etc. I was surprised to see a portrait of princess Maria Cristina whose atmosphere resembles Marie Antoinette's by Vigée-Lebrun. The King and Queen of Naples comissioned the artist to paint portraits for their children. Maria Cristina in the picture is elegant, having roses. Seeing these portraits, I think I understand why Marie Antoinette favored Vigée-Lebrun. Then gMaria Amalia d'Orléans with her son, the Duc de Chartresh by Gérard is on display. Though she met with an opposition from her mother, hoping to marry Louis Philippe, she has a contented expression. There are a bust of Maria Calorina by Tagliolini, two Sèvres plates of the Duc de Berry and his wife.
In Venice I went to see Palazzo Franchetti-Cavalli where Madame Royale had stayed. The palace is now the institute of science, literature, arts of Veneto. It has a fine facade, facing Canal Grande. Madame Royale had frequented neaby San Vidal Church where I listened to Interpreti Veneziani playing gLe Quattro Stagionih of Vivaldi, gConcerto per pianoforte e archih of J.S.Bach, gLa Campanellah of Paganini. I appreciated music resouned in the dome, especially deep Bach.
yMarie-Antoinette of Evelyne LeverzI reread gMarie-Antoinetteh of Evelyne Lever (Fayard, 1993) which I bought at a big bookshop in Paris several years ago. This great work comprising 661 pages of text retraces the Queen's life, taking a broad view of a historical background.
The author's view of the Necklace Affair is different from others', and the process to the trial is detailed. Marie Antoinette repeats gMoi !h to the Cardinal Rohan. In the affair of Bavaria, Louis XVI makes a sound judgement, destroying his image of a dull monarch. His wrong belief which delayed the consummation of his marriage is also mentioned.
A relationship of Maria Theresa and Marie Antoinette is suggestive. Maria Theresa, who penetrates her daughter's good and bad points, advises her minutely by letters, but I don't think that she loved Antoinette blindly. She sometimes takes advantage of her daughter's attachment to her for state affairs.
There was a priest who predicted early the Queen's fate when she was admired by everyone. She might have been boiling with rage when La Fayette, detested by her, broached divorce from the King.
The book has pleasant scenes. Marie Antoinette, Maximilien, her younger brother, and the Comte d'Artois, her brother-in law laugh with open mouth at a ball. If her mother had seen the sight, she should have looked up at the sky. And Fersen plays blindman's buff which the King and Queen like ! In a flight to Varennes, the Queen brought with her a silver hot-water bottle.
yBiography of RobespierrezI read a biography of Robespierre, gFatal purity : Robespierre and the French Revolutionh of Ruth Scurr (Metropolitan Books Henry Holt and Company, 2006), from which I learned his unknown aspects.
Robespierre was born at Arras, but his mother died when he was six, and his father abandoned his family. Despite of adversity, Robespierre rose in the world by working hard. When he was young, he had tenderness, so he wept because his bird died which had been left in his sisters' care.
The author writes his life as if she saw everything with her own eyes, with a full description of a background. He, who couldn't eat because he had sentenced a murderer to death or opposed death penalty, changed into a coldhearted man, confronting his friends, spending all his time on political strife, coming to power.
When Louis XVII suffered severely from ill-treatment in the Temple, did Robespierre remember the scene that the little prince had waved and clapped his hands to him at the Tuileries gardens?
This book has interesting anecdotes about Robespierre (his dog, his favorite food, the misspelling of his name gRobespierroth ) , Saint Just (imprisonment for having stealing his mother's silver). And I think that the law of 22 Prairial was cruel because one could execute someone who produced bad wine by this law.
yMarie Antoinette in the quiz programzThere was a broadcast of a historical quiz program by TBS TV on 7 April. The competitors on the quiz show guessed the most well-known historical person by the first letter of his/her name. These figures had been chosen from 2783 persons mentioned in history textbooks of a junior and senior high school in Japan, as a result of interviewing 1000 men.
Marie Antoinette was the most renowned person in gMah . Some unknown episodes were showed. The Queen asked her courtiers to contribute to the poor or she herself contributed a large amout of money by saving her allowance in the hard winter. And there was a time when she didn't buy toys for her children and explained to them that the money for toys would be spent on blankets and bread for the poor.
I'am very glad to cooperate with the TV station in collecting data on the Queen.
yLa petite musique de Marie-AntoinettezA kind person informed me of the DVD, gLa petite musique de Marie-AntoinettehiArmidej. It consists of two parts. In the first half, the ensemble and two singers perform works by the Queen's favorite composers at the theatre of Marie Antoinette near the Petit Trianon.
In the latter half we can see a documentary about the theatre where the Queen could escape from reality. I learned what is the material of ornaments, how the actors at that time were considered, what kind of voice the Queen had. And there is also explanation about the machinery of the stage, lighting and the change of the theatre including the redecoration after the Revolution. The theatre has been restored to its original state, and preserved.
yQueen of FashionzI have just read a suggestive biography of Marie Antoinette which is well worth reading. That book is Calorine Weber, gQueen of Fashionh(Henry Holt and Company, 2006) . I thought it was the history of dresses and accessories at first, but I found it also described the life of the Queen. The author presents a new view of her emphasizing her fashion.
The Queen appearing from the book is not a passive princess, but a courageous, strong-willed, active lady. She had her own way even when it was easy to follow others blindly.
This well-researched work helps us understand the contents of caricatures, influence of the Queen's fashion on politics and economy, where her belongings went after the handover, how the ladies wearing towering poufs slept and so on.
yThe DanaidszI read a detailed biography of Salieri, which tries to disclose his true character completely different from that of gAmadeush. It is gSalierih by Akira Mizutani¤ published in 2004, Ongakunotomosha.
Salieri was orphaned, but his talent for music was found by those around him, and he had a success in Vienna. Later he teached a young generation such as Beethoven, Schubert.
gThe Danaidshwas a great success at the first performance in 1784 when the Queen saw the play (Ibid, 111). In the score we can see gDedicated to the Queenh(Ibid, 112).
I listened to this opera in five acts by CD. The music harmonizes with the words. There is no air which singers show their transcendent techniques. The overture is dramatic, colored by various melodies, giving an impression that it condenses the whole drama.
Danaus, dethroned by his brother, Aegyptus, was forced to wander with his 50 daughters, the Danaids. After Aegyptus died, Danaus plans to marry his daughters to his nephews as a reconciliation. But Danaus secretly orders his daughters to kill their husbands. The Danaids are very eager to do it because they can avenge their father. But Hypermnestra loves Lynceus. Danaus threatens to kill her if she reveals the secret. She hesitates what she should do.
ygThe Memoirs of Marie Antoinettehby Madame CampanzS. Zweig, whose gMarie Antoinettehhas been read, said that Madame Campan was a know-it-all, dismissing her memoirs as unreliable.
But other biographers refer to her work for their book, and I don't think all her saying is untrue. There is no way to confirm historical facts now, but an image of the Queen comes to mind by reading through her memoirs.
Madame Campan was a wise, faithful lady-in-waiting of Marie Antoinette. The Queen didn't betray her weakness outside, but she confided her real thought to her. The Queen was described as a sensitive lady who sometimes had hysterics.
I read about what the Queen ate at breakfast, dinner and supper, an episode of her wedding ring that someone stole secretly, what she wanted her mother to do, terror of poison, an attempted assassination, with my heart beating fast.
One of unexpected episodes is that in the middle of the Revolution attacking the Queen, the people of men and women of all ages, who were not blinded by prejudice, gathered outside the Palace, expressing their love and respect to Marie Antoinette, encouraging her. She burst into tears.
And Louis XVI was thought to be dull, but he was also sensitive. He wept over maltreatment of his people. When the Queen had a miscarriage, he shed tears with her. In his last years he endured an abuse by revolutionists. The King's attitude reminds me of his virtue.
I readgThe Memoirs of Marie Antoinettehby Madame Campan, Kessinger Publishing.
yThe large-sized color book on Marie AntoinettezOne of my family traveled abroad this spring and gave me a large-sized color book on Marie Antoinette as a souvenir. This book is gMarie-Antoinettehof Xavier Salmon, published by Michel Lafon in 2005.
I could retrace Marie Antoinette's life from her happy childhood to her heart-rending last by beautiful color illustrations, her busts, her engravings. I found some portraits rare (the Queen's brothers, her sisters-in-law by Gautier-Dagoty).
The Queen's bust by Boizot wearing a diadem and a manteau, which have fleurs-de-lis, can be seen front, rear and sides. And her favorite tableaux with which she decorated the Petit Trianon are also printed. Her coffer for jewelry with legs and flower piece is refined.
The history and criticism of each work of art are useful information. I am sure this book will satisfy Marie Antoinette's fans.
yAndrea Chénier in 2006zRecently I saw gAndrea Chénierh twice. On the stage of New National Theatre last year, the nobility wore in white, the starved people in black. And after the Revolution broke out, the stage overflowed with tricolor which is used in uniforms, skirts, fichus, ribborns.
In June Teatro Comunale di Bologna performed gAndrea Chénierh. The ladies were dressed in pastel colors. Under the Terror an oppressive atmosphere was created by the statue of Marat and a tumbril passing slowly at the back of the stage. Big tricolor flags and an immense tricolor tablecloth had a good effect.
Maria Guleghina's singing was so overwhelming that I was moved by it. There was a time when the applause continued for a while after her song.
yNapoleon and VersailleszThe exhibition, gNapoleon and Versaillesh, is held at Edo-Tokyo Museum until 18 June 2006. We can see pictures of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.
What attracts my interest is a gun of Barras which was made of a walnut tree.
After Robespierre's downfall, Paul de Barras went to the Temple where he asked after Marie Antoinette's children, Madame Royale and Louis XVII.
I see articles of someone who had a contact with the Queen and her family with deep feeling.
yMarie Antoinette and ManzonizWhen Marie Antoinette was confined in the Temple, she spent her time embroidering tapestries. Alessandro Manzoni, the Italian poet, possessed a piece of them and treasured it. (gMarie Antoinetteh of Haslip).
Manzoni married twice and got many children. But two of his wives, his daughters died one after another during his liftime. In his masterpiece, gI promessi sposih, various characters are full of life. A penitent villain, a tortuous nun, a disinterested father, meddlesome women, etc.
Verdi composed gRequiemh for Manzoni and performed it for the first time in Milano at the first anniversary of his death. Recently I had an opportunity of singing this gRequiemh as one of sopranos.
yA Novel gThe Hidden Diary of Marie AntoinettehzI read a novel, gThe Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinetteh by Carolly Erickson (Published in 2005, St. Martin's Press).
This novel takes the form of a diary assuming that Marie Antoinette kept a diary from her girlhood to prison in the Conciergerie. The sentence is short, concise, rhythmical, very easy to read. It seems that I hear Marie Antoinette's murmur.
There are some fictions and fictitious characters in the book, but the most remarkable person is Antoinette's lover, Fersen. He is active, energetic, trying to relieve her from the prison at the last scene that looks like a movie and expresses the author's wish. The description of the attack of the Tuileries is vivid and makes a reader hear shrieks and cries. Antoinette's childbearing scene has also reality.
I read gLouis XVIIIhof Philip Mansel, John Murray (Publishers). Louis XVIII is the younger brother of Louis XVI, and the brother-in-law of Marie Antoinette. He was an exile during the Revolution, abetting the Counter-Revolution, being a nuisance to her. He is often described as a wicked person. But what is his true character?
At first I was surprised that Louis XVIII was depicted with favor. I thought he was a strong Royalist because of his long exile and the Hundred Days. But learning from a bitter experience, he took a moderate line, and lead his country to prosperity by reorganizing the military, diplomacy, finance as a constitutional monarch in France where two chambers functioned well. Bonapartists and ex-republicans held official posts and went to Court, forming the early nineteenth-century society full of vanity, ambition and materialism.
Having learned much from the Revolution, Louis XVIII, who was different from Marie Antoinette, was attentive to public opinion and bread shortage, confirming his popularity directly by driving in Paris. He sometimes quarreled with his Ultra brother, the Comte d'Artois (later Charles X) about opinion but cherished his family.
Marie Antoinette's daughter, Madame Royale, also appears in this book. We can get to know her character, face, relation to her uncle, favorite city. I was relieved to read the scene which she weeped with joy when she visited the provinces because the people pelted her with flowers. And she overjoyed at her husband's pacificaton in Spain, and her happy mood delighted Parisians. Even though she suffered too much, there was a time when she felt happy.
In this book the society of the time is also explained with statistics, and important words are printed in French.
yMarie Antoinette's pearlsz
gPearls | A Natural Historyhis held at the National Science Museum, Tokyo. It is organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Field Museum in Chicago.
The formation or history of pearls is explained. There are also colored pearls such as pink and lavender, jewelry from all over the world.
We can see two pearls which are believed to be Marie Antoinette's. They miraculously survived the Revolution. One is round, the other is in the shape of a tear. Later they were changed into pins ornamented with gold.
The big black pearl is also on display. It belonged to one of ladies-in-waiting of the Queen, and is surrounded with diamonds, gold and silver.
yMarie Antoinette's friend, Georgiana Devonshirez
I got to know Georgiana Devonshire by gMarie Antoinetteh of Joan Haslip, took an interest in her and read gGeorgiana Duchess of Devonshireh of Amanda Foreman. Its first edition was in 1998. I have a paperback edition of Modern Library, New York in 2001. What a eventful life of her, breath-taking book! I wish this biography would be published in Japan too.
Georgiana Devonshire (1757-1806) was born in England, the eldest daughter of the Earl Spencer. She had a younger sister and a brother. She got married to the Duke of Devonshire at 17. She spent busy days managing household affaires while entertaining local tenants as well as the nobility, helping an election campaign for the Whig party. She got three daughters (one of them was illegitimate) and one son. She was reputed to be the belle of society but she found it difficult to stop the gamble and was troubled with a huge debt. She died of illness at 48.
Sometimes she went on a trip to France where she nurtured a friendship with Marie Antoinette and Madame de Polignac. Georgiana called the latter gLittle Poh or gMadame Poh. Three of them went everywhere together and exchanged locks of hair (Ch. 2). When Lady Elizabeth Foster, Georgiana's bosom friend, visited France, Madame Po was so jealous of her that she influenced Marie Antoinette to exclude Elizabeth from the society (Ch. 10).
Georgiana received a present from the Queen when she gave birth to the first daughter (Ch. 8), and one of chemise dresses when it became fashion in France (Ch. 10). In the chapter 14, I feel the imminent atmosphere of the Revolution. Marie Antoinette's Anglophile was known to the people, so the mob besieged the British embassy, which was a misfortune to French ambassador, Duke of Dorset (a friend of Marie Antoinette and Georgiana). Georgiana visited Marie Antoinette at Saint Cloud in summer, 1790 but the topic of Madame de Polignac made the Queen cry. Georgiana was distressed at hearing an abuse to the Queen and Louis XVII (Ch. 16). She looked after Corisande de Grammon, the granddaughter of Madame de Polignac (Ch. 22).
Georgiana and Marie Antoinette had much in common in strange charm to attract people around her, the belle of society, a fashion leader, having an exacting mother and a bosom friend, mania for a gamble, debt.
Georgiana's confident was Lady Elizabeth Foster who lived with the Devonshires. The relationship of these three persons was an enigma. Elizabeth and Fersen were lovers in Italy. Fersen, Duc d'Orléans and Calonne visited Georgiana's house. Mary Robinson also knew her.
The book has a colored portrait of Marie Antoinette by Courniere besides Georgiana's and Elizabeth's. I think the Queen's face is diffirent from what I see in other pictures but she wore a typical rococo dress. Duke of Dorset in the black-and-white portrait was handsome.
Georgiana was the ancestor of the late Princess Diana.
ySummer in 2005z
I listened to an old lecture on the French Revolution by Mr. Kuwabara and Mr. Kanazawa at NHK Museum of Broadcasting in Tokyo. That was gHistorical small talkhin July 1963 (about 1 hour). Main characters of the Revolution appeared in it and they talked about a rumor of a substitute for Louis XVII or personality of Robespierre. I think that essence of human nature doesn't change over 200 years after the Revolution.
The exhibition of gMasterpieces from the Louvre Museumhwas held at Yokohama Museum of Art. gThe Death of Marathby the atelier of David or gMirabeau in front of Dreux Brézéhby Alexandre Evariste Fragonard were displayed. Charles X and his son were painted in the foreground in gDeer Hunt for St. Hubert's Day in the Forest of Meudon in 1818hby Carle Vernet. This picture was Charles X's collection, then Louis Philippe's.
I read the legend written on a wall of Furano Wine House in Hokkaido. According to it, Marie Antoinette took champagne bath.
When I strolled about a bookshop one day, a green-eyed, blonde beauty smiled at me in a cover. I wondered who she was and picked the book up. That was a biography of Mary Robinson (1757-1800).
Mary Robinson was an English actress, poet, author, fashion leader, sensationalist for lovers (including Prince of Wales). But as Ms. Paula Byrne, the author of gPerditahsays, she is forgotten now and there are few who know her name, though some scholars began to research her in 1990's.
Mary was called gPerditahbecause she played the role in Shakespeare's gThe Winter's Taleh. Mary attended a public dinner at Versailles with the help of the Queen's dressmaker, Mademoiselle Bertin. In the chapter 12, gPerdita and Marie Antoinetteh, we can read that Mary was fascinated by the Queen's beautiful hands or Marie Antoinette liked Mary. The Queen sent her a gift for her favor.
Marie Antoinette appears a little in other chapters too. Mary set the fashion of a muslin chemise in England. During the Revolution, Mary advocated the Queen in her pamphlet. When the Queen was imprisoned in the Temple, and after her execution, Mary wrote poems on her. Mary had a deep insight into human nature. I think one of her charms is that she exerted her talent and lived her life to the full despite a misunderstanding of the world, scandal and illness.
Among illustrations, there is a portrait of Marie Antoinette in a white muslin chemise by Lebrun. Next to it we can see Mary who looks willful and has stern eyes by Reynolds. Her expression is more relaxed by Romney. Interesting caricature of the age is also carried.
The biography is gPerdita The life of Mary Robinsonhby Paula Byrne, Harper Perennial. 430 pages, UK7.99. Well researched, well worth reading, readable, detailed book. Ms. Byrne brings Perdita and other characters to life wonderfully.
3 May, 2005
yMarie Antoinette's hairstylez
I could see by chance the exhibition gHairstyle from the Renaissance to Art decohat Pola Museum of Art in Hakone. Seeing this display, it is easy to understand that woman's hairstyle became simple as she wore her hair cut short.
At the Rococo era section, 2 miniatures of Marie Antoinette's towering hairstyle were exhibited. gStyle of Queen of Francehis a coiffure with white feathers, red or gold ribbons, pearls, big blue gem on the top, and long curls at the back of the head.
There were some illustraions. gChild styleh is one for short hair, originally designed for the Queen whose hair had been thinning due to childbirth. gQues a co stylehis a model that Mademoiselle Bertin created based on a catchword of Beaumarchais. Marie Antoinette wore it when she was a young Dauphine.
There was also a miniature ofgFrigate styleh, a symbol of preposterous hairdressing.
2 February, 2005
yIl Viaggio a Reimsz
This opera was composed by Rossini for the coronation of Charles X, King of France. The premiere was performed on 19 June 1825, attended by the royal family. The music is buoyant like other operas of Rossini. Charles X, the youngest brother of Louis XVI, was a good companion of Marie Antoinette when he was young. But after the Revolution broke out, he went into exile and did her much harm stirring up the counter-revolution. His eldest son, Duc d'Angoulême, married Madame Royal (Marie Antoinette's daughter).
Though it's the honor to have Rossini composed the opera, Charles X's halcyon days didn't last for long and forced to defect to other countries because he was an ultra-royalist. Needless to say, Madame Royal got involved in his misfortune. When I translated my second book, I felt strongly her doom the insurrection, confinement, the execution of her family, the enigma of his brother's death, unhappy married life, exilewhich was as terrible as her mother's.
The scene of this opera represents the spa hotel, Golden Lily where various European travellers stay going to see the coronation of Charles X at Reims. The heroin is Corinna, a Roman poetess. Other characters are a fashion mania French countess, a womaniser French chevalier, a Russian general, an English colonel, a German major, a grandee of Spain and so on. While seduction, jealousy and reconciliation unfold, there is a tragedy that the stagecoach carrying wardrobe of the French countess was overturned and she laments it, though later she overjoys at her fashionable hat that was found. In the end the group finds that no horse is available and they can't go to Reims, but knowing forthcoming celebrations at Paris, they give a party and make merry.
For an entertainment each one sings a national song. The German sings Haydn's hymn for the Emperor, the Polish lady a Polonaise, the English gGod Save the Kingh(How interesting to listen to an Italian version!), the Frenchmen gCharmante Gabrielleh(Henri IV's mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrées), the owner of the hotel yodel. The grandee of Spain praises Duc d'Angoulême who pacified Spain in his song. The last is Corinna who improvises and praises Carles X to the skies, joined by chorus of all.
1 January, 2005
yLe cabinet doré concertz@
Monsieur Teycheney, an assistant professor of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, was kind enough to invite me to his wonderful concert on 5th December, 2004 at Tokyo. This concert consisted of music by cembalo and two harps, reading and ballet.
Delightful, splended music started. That kind of music might have been sounded in gle cabinet doréhof the Versailles Palace in a peaceful time. gBoîte à musiques de Marie Antoinettehof Mr. Takaha, the cembalo solo, was played by M. Teycheney. This work was composed of 7 tunes included the melody of gC'est mon amih. I felt an unique atmosphere when red roses or colourful flowers was reflected one after another on the white cembalo.
Among compositions, Ms. Mari Nakayama, an actress, read passages of gLes adieux à la reinehby Chantal Thomas. Her voice was full of life and appealed strongly to the audience. After the Revolution broke out, the circumstances around the Queen became uneasy. As courtiers left her one by one, the music gradually increased gravity. I listened togMarche funèbrehof Dussek for the first time and was impressed by it because of its excellence. gBallet des ombres heureuseshof Gluck by the cembalo and harps was incomparably beautiful.
Ms. Ichise danced elegantly with a blue panier dress at first, then gold and black later.
The score covers were printed in the programme;gOrphée et Eurydicehof Gluck dedicated to the Queen, gSonateshof Baur to Princesse de Lamballe.
After the concert, wines and sweets were served to the audience.
yOmbres et LumièresMusique françaisezTokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra gave a concert, gLes compositeurs post Révolution françaisehon 12 November at the Tokyo Opera City.
The first was Symphony No. 1 of Méhul (1763-1817) whose music master was Gluck, who was also the music teacher of Marie Antoinette. This work consists of 4 movements. The Allegro is ebullient like the boiling waves. It is so fresh and modern that I can't think it was composed 200 years ago. The Final is as good as works of Haydn. This symphony should not be remain in obscurity.
Then Harp Concerto of Boieldiew (1775-1834) came. Ms. Naoko Yoshino played the harp. An elegant melody sounded in the hall and it seemed to me that I was in a dream world.
The last was Symphony No. 1 of Gounod (1818-1893). This work is elegant, pastral and well-knit.
A conductor, Mr. Hikotaro Yazaki, writes about the history of La Marseillaise and the French Revolution in a programme.
yThe first performance of Marie Antoinette's songszMs. Mayuko Karasawa gave the first performance of two songs by Marie Antoinette in October at Ginza. Both of them are major. gAmour, tu fuis loin de moi his lyrical and tasteful. And gAmour, tu fais nos malheurs hgave me an impression that the Queen asked something to the audience. From the words, I could imagine her straight, ardent and bitter love. As a woman, she had a fine, delicate heart, I think.
I could enjoy other songs, such as Paisiello, Gluck, Hahn, Takemitsu, Obradors and so on.
yIphigénie en AulidezMarie Antoinette led the first night of this opera to victory.
The overture begins with a moanful melody and develops to the cosmos like Mozart's. Agamemnon was tormented because he was ordered to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, to assuage the angered Gods by Diana. Calchas also laments for the cruel destiny, but he persuades Agamemnon to obey the order of the Goddess. Then Iphigenia and her mother, Clytemnestra, arrive at Aulis who don't know their doom. Iphigenia is to meet her beloved Achilles there. Arcas can make the mother and daughter believe that Achilles changed his mind in order to hasten their departure from Aulis. But Achilles appears and assures Iphigenia of his true love for her.
While everyone happily prepares for the marriage, Arcas can no longer sustain his guilty silence, and tells the truth. Clytemnestra grieves at it. Iphigenia makes up her mind to sacrifice herself in spite of her regret for Achilles. He and Agamemnon quarrel over her. The orchestra accompaning Agamemnon's dilemma for an obedience to the Gods and a love for his daughter sounds like an opera in 19 century. At last in a turmoil Diana turns up and says that Iphigenia will be saved. Here comes a music that makes me imagine that the clouds cleared and the sunshine comes. The all people praise the Gods.
Gluck respects words and has delicacy. His music is modest even though some airs has intensity. It's true that this opera was too new to move some audience at that time. I think a transparent, pretty voice fits the role of Iphigenia.
yThe Lost King of FrancezNow I translated gThe Lost King of Francehby Deborah Cadbury. This new book will be on sale from September 10. The Japanese publisher is Kindaibungeisha in Tokyo. Once I read this book, I couln't stop reading. I was profoundly moved by its contents. I learned from this book of resolution to the enigma of Louis XVII, the stream of Madame Royale's consciousness, dark side of pretenders to Louis XVII who played on human's weakness, the nobility of Madame Elizabeth.
History isn't a relic of the past. This year on June 7 the heart of Louis XVII was shown to the public and on 8 his funeral service was held at Saint-Denis. Then on July 28 Dr. Francis Click past away who discovered the structure of DNA. Without his discovery, no one couldn't have solved a mystery of Louis XVII, therefore my new book wouldn't have been issued.
I hope that you can find new sides of Marie Antoinette by this fascinating, thrilling biography.
And I'd like to write about an exposition. That isgArts of East and West from World Expositions 1855 - 1900 Paris, Vienna and Chicagoh. Three Japanese maki-e of Marie Antoinette's collection were exhibited. These were Incense containers in the shape of a melon, a drum, a bamboo basket. Last one is hexagonal and a squirrel is painted on the lid. Seven little balls can be seen inside the container. The exposition will be held in Osaka and Nagoya.
yPortrait of Louis and a lecture on Marie AntoinettezgThe Hermitage Exhibition ` The Glory and Legacy of Catherine the Greathis held at Edo-Tokyo Museum in Tokyo. I went there on the opening day. I feasted my eyes on Catherine U's Green Frog Set (Plates, Sauceboat produced by Wedgwood), Rectangular Snuffbox with big sapphire and diamonds, and Watch on Chatelaine.
Among pictures, there is a Portrait of Louis, Grand Dauphin of France aged 10 (Louis XVI's father) by Louis Tocqé. This clear-cut Dauphin with big eyes and a soft ambience died before coming to the throne. He was a family man of strict morals, so Louis XVI may have been influenced by him.
This exhibition will be held in Fukuoka and Hiroshima.
In July I attended a lecture on gMarie Antoinette's necklace and a birth of a museumh that one of my readers was kind to tell me. I was impressed with a lecturer's saying, gThe most important thing is what palpitates a heart or soulh. Nothing is born unless one thinks something beautiful. And I heard that a lot of French jewelry flowed into the Great Britain because many noblemen exiled themselves carring movable, valuable jewelry with them during the Revolution. By the way, a piece of kouglof and a cup of tea with brandy were served.
The place for the lecture was MAISON des MUSÉES de FRANCE at Ginza where some replicas of Marie Antoinette's possessions are on sale. For example, a cream pot and plates painted pearls and the Queen's favorite cornflowers. There are also a gold brooch of MA monogram and two-fold pearl necklace and bracelet.
One can read art books or guidebooks on the Versailles Palace.
yTV programme on Marie AntoinettezI appeared on television last month. The programme was gA pitiful Life of a character hof TV Tokyo, including various episodes which usually not shown in a textbook. This time a Life of Marie Antoinette was broadcast.
After explaining her life shortly, several interesting episodes were told. I was asked about existence of toilets in the Versailles Palace at an interview. And I answered that there was a small number of them. (How awful, especially to ladies!). I found by this programme that the blood type of the Queen was O, and court ladies hid a potpourri inside a panier.
A production of TV programme seems to be different from translation, but producing something from nothing is common. A process in which small parts gradually form a shape is interesting. Until they are completed, it's necessary to have many hands in the background.
6 June, 2004
yC'est mon ami by an orchestraz@
The Orchestre d'Auvergne gave a concert at Tokyo on 2 June, 2004. I could appreciate the high quality performance.
The first tune was Carmen fantasy of Bizet=Sarasate, which includes the melody such as Havanaise, Séguedille that Carmen seduces Don José, and Chanson. It was played on the violin with its singing sound.
Next came Piano concerto no.1 of Shostakovich. It expressed an opaque uncertainty of our own time mingled with funny parts. A young pianist, Mademoiselle Salle, immersed herself in playing the piano. She ran her fingers on the keys freely. Her dynamic sound made a contrast with her sweet appearance.
Then Mayuko Karasawa, a soprano singer, sang five songs from Chant d'Auvergne of Canteloube expressively. After that, C'est mon ami of Marie Antoinette by an orchestra was performed for the first time in Japan. The accompaniment of the orchestra was profound and deep compared with that of a piano. I wanted the Queen to see Ms. Karasawa dressed like a nymph sing lively her song. Les filles de Cadix of Delibes was rhythmical and tempted listeners to dance.
The last was the famous Serenade c major of Tchaikovsky. Live music has no equal. This Orchestre d'Auvergne with a compact sound and superb ensemble received loud applause at the end of the concert, so there was an encore.
This time also I was delighted to talk to Ms. Karasawa.
2 May, 2004
yAntoinette's cardboard dollz
I bought characters to cut out dolls at Versailles some 10 years ago (30F). 21 characters are color printed on 30 ~ 40 cm cardboard, and can be cut out and stood. The background is formed by the hamlet of Trianon, a sailing ship, a castle and balloons.
At the top, there is the royal family. Louis XVI wears a court dress. Marie Antoinette in light blue dress wears a hat with plumes and pearl necklace (Her face has no resemblance to the life !). Madame Royale's pink dress is pretty, like Laura Ashley's. Young Louis XVII in yellow white clothes has a wreath of rose on his shoulder, a wooden horse in hands.
Under the family, there are Cardinal Rohan involved in the Necklace Affaire, next to him the Princess Lamballe with a tall hair style decorated with flowers. Her fashionable dress is olive green with a striped ribbon.
Others are a French guard, a Swiss guard, Necker, Turgot , La Fayette and Rochambeau. Because of the age of enlightment, the brothers Montgolfier, Lavoisier and La Perouse are also printed.
Explanation is written in French, English, German, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese. On the back of each characters, a brief personal history is written.
yGluckzI'd like to add the music the Queen listened.
ôs Gluck Iphigénie en Tauride (Opera) tô
This opera was first staged in 1779 and the sequel to gIphigénie en Aulideh which was a great success at the Opera in 1774. Now it's not famous, but a masterpiece that we can fully appreciate even today. Lacking in splendor or magnificence compared with works of Verdi, but it shows that human's emotions are beyond time and place.
Iphigenia, the daughter of Agamemnon, was saved by Diana just before she was offered to gods. She became a priestess of the Godess. One day she is forced to offer two Greeks to gods as her duty. One of them is her brother, Orestes, who hides his identity and tells her about the tragedy of his kingdom, Argos; Agamemnon was killed by Clytemnestra, so Orestes took a vengence on his mother for the murder of his father. Iphigenia laments for her country. The music is impressive as well as the story. The air of gContemplez ces tristes apprêtshis so profound that it rings in one's ears. Other highlights are the first tempest scene, gDieux qui me poursuivezh(Air of Orestes), Ballet of Furies, gChaste fille de Latonehand so on.
The libretto of Minkowski's CD has a picture of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette crossing the Pont Neuf lined with the guards in an open carriage. She puts up a parasol.
ôs Gluck Orpheus and Eurydice (Opera) tô
Delicate and refined opera, based on the Greek myth. There are Italian and French versions.
When Orpheus laments for the death of his beloved wife, Eurydice, in front of a tomb, Love appears. Love says that if Orpheus could placate the spirits of Hades with his lyre, and give no look at his wife, he would live with her again in the upper world. He manages to reach Hades, but as Love ordered him not to turn to look Eurydice, she thinks he is cold, and gets angry. He is tormented with a keen desire to look her. Can he bring her back to this world?
In the act U, listening to the air of Orpheus singing that there is no hope without his wife, his sigh also could be heared. And gChe faro senza Eurydicehin the act V is a famous air that is sometimes sung at a concert.
gRidiculeh is a French film directed by Patrice Leconte in 1995. A hero, Ponceludon, is worried about a local disease which deprives his subjects of their lives, and goes to Versailles to make a direct appeal to the King for developing a waterway and canals. But what was waiting for him is the hard reality, so to speak, officers indifferent to his petition. They don't want to spend more because of strict economy.
Ponceludon is mocked by courtiers as a countryman or attacked by a bandit, but his wit attracts a nobleman who teaches Ponceludon manners in court; Don't laugh at your own jokes or don't show your teeth. At that time, esprit was highly evaluated in court. Marie Antoinette is also amused at wit. She appears with gTwinkle, twinkle, little starhtune. She wears light blue dress which has abandant laces. Her head is decorated with pearls.
Ponceludon makes a progress with his quick wit, so he is received in audience by Louis XVI. At hometown, he loves a pretty girl, Mathilde. She is a scientist who dives in a well with a diving suit for experiment. But Ponceludon approaches an influential countess so that he can improve his land. Thanks to her connection, he succeeds to appeal to the King directly, but he was forced to have a duel with a courtier over honour.
Fortunately, Ponceludon wins in the duel and abandons a his lover, a countess, to marry Mathilde. She was engaged to a rich nobleman, but broke off her engagement. Needless to say, the countess gets frustrated. One day she contrives to have Ponceludon tumbled at a masked ball. He leaves court for ever. He becomes a civil engineer and is said to continue to work hard for his subjects during the Revolution.
By the way, with a curious coincidence, Judith Godrèche playing Mathilde acts Marie Antoinette in gBeaumarchaish. And Fanny Ardant plays a scheming countess. She plays a title role with good skills and intelligence in gCallas Foreverhby Zeffirelli. And Maria Callas stared in gAndrea Chénierhwith Mario del Monaco at la Scala.
When I traveled in Paris, I saw an advertisement of this movie around the town.
yMarie Antoinette and KouglofzWhenever I find Marie Antoinette's faovite cake, a kouglof, I buy it. Last year I could find good one at last! With a permission of the cake shop, I cite a explanation of kouglof.
gThere is an episode that the kouglof, a local cake of Alsace, was brought by Marie Antoinette from Austria to France in 18 century. It's a crown-shaped baked cake and characteristically made from brioche dough. It is said to be fermented by a beer yeast special to Alsace.h
The kouglof I ate looked like a Mt. Fuji which had a hollow in the middle coated with chocolate. It contained raisins and orange peels. Because of eggs and butter, it's gold color inside. Not so sweet, like a bread. It matched chocolate. Did a kouglof remind Marie Antoinette of her hometown, Viena, when she ate it?
Judith Godrèche plays pretty Marie Antoinette in a French movie, gBeaumarchaishproduced in 1996. The actor playing Louis XVI is imposing and I think his image is a little bit different from the real king who was good-natured and rather timid.
This movie is full of witty lines and a typical French one. The cosutume is perfect and creates 18 century atmoshpere. Beaumarchais, a watchmaker, writing a play, buying status and acting as a judge or spy of Louis XV and XVI. During the American Revolutionary War, he ships arms or ammunition. I saw with interest familiar characters in my translated book such as Sartine, minister of police, mysterious chevalier d'Eon, corrupt judge Goëzman, Benjamin Franklin and so on.
On the day when gThe Marriage of Figarohis performed, le compte de Provance, Louis XVI's younger brother, gets out of a carriage and he is cheered by huge crowds in front of the theater Luxembourg. It is an impressive scene. He appears to be an idol. After following many ups and downs of Beaumarchais, the movie ends before the Revolution.
When I saw this movie some years ago, I could see a cosutume of the woman in a foyer.
yAndrea Chénierz@I went to see gAndrea Chénierhby Giordano. Chénier is a poet(1762-1794) and Maddalena is a fictious character. The story develops with them as leading roles.
In the first act, a party is given in the castle of Conte di Coigny. gPassiamo la sera allegramente!his a merry melody. gO pastorella, addio!his sweet. Maddalena makes fun of Chénier at first, but when he sings of love seriously, she apologizes. In contrast with dazzling atmosphere at the party, footsteps of the Revolution can be heard outside.
In the second act, when the tumbrils go to the guillotine, the revolutionary song, gÇa irah, is played vigorously. Now poverty-stricken Maddalena meets Chénier in secret and confesses that she has no one to implore for help except him. They swear eternal love.
The Revolutionary Tribunal is set in the third act. While women are donating for France, a blind old woman dedicates her only grandson to the country. It is a moving scene. Meanwhile Chénier's rival, Gérard, denounces him after hesitation and presses Maddalena for her body. After she tells her loneliness and bad luck, she offers to give her body to Gérard in exchange for Chénier's life. But Gérard is moved by her story and decides to save Chénier. In time, the trial begins. Here appears Fouquier-Tinville, the public prosecutor, who was the Marie Antoinette's inquisitor. Gérard tries to defend Chénier, but Fouquier-Tinville sentences Chénier to death. Maddalena bursts into tears.
In the forth act, the prisoner Chénier sings gCome un bel di di maggiohat St. Lazare prison. This air touches my heartstrings. After that, a revolutionist sings gLa Marseillaiseh. And here comes Maddalenac We can see the unexpected last.
It's interesting to hear the name of historical persons such as the King(Louis XVI), Neker, Robespierre, Vergenne, Dumouriez, Coburg, Pitt.
This opera is rarely performed in Japan, though we can buy several CDs. The hall was full and there were even standees. Each time singers finished their famous air, audience applauded them. The countess wore purple hoop skirt and tiara, so she looked like a queen.
yBal au Palais de Versaillesz@I went to a concert, gBal au Palais de Versaillesh and could appreciate the Baroque songs and ballet performed in the time of Louis XIV. They were given by Suzie le Blanc, Ensemble Richard Boothby and Ana Yepes Dance Company.
In the first part, the ensemble performed the overture from gArmidehby Jean Baptiste Lully(1632-1687). Then dancers wearing historical costume appeared. The ladies were dressed, one in red, the other in blue with large white sleeves. The genglemen wore a wig of long wavy hair and a typical white jabot. They looked as if they had stepped out of a picture. Their ballet was light and soft, and their attention was concentrated on even fingertips, so they looked like butterflies. Between the ballet, the soprano sung some airs. I like gJe veux me plaindrehlike a elegy.
In the second part, I saw the excerpts from gLe Bourgeois Gentilhommehby Molière and Lully. The songs alternated with the ballet. The dancers changed a costume. Two men played a harlequin triying to catch a girl's attention. It's interesting. The last ballet was Spanish style. Castanets rang out in the hall.
Listening to the Baroque music, I remembered a word, gEach music has a sound that calls an era to mindhby my musical teacher. I think that is right. And Ms. Ana Yepes was a very good dancer. She transmitted her love for dance to the audience from her small body. By the way, under the reign of Louis XIV, it's hard time to some courtiers, because they had to dance well.
yThe exhibitions at Tokyoz@I visited interesting exhibitions where I could see some objects of those had relations with Marie Antoinette. In July I saw the gold bracelets at the gJewellery from Renaissance to Art@Déco 1540-1940h. One of them has a miniature of Louis Philippe, king of the French, in the uniform. His father was Philippe Egalité, the Duc d'Oreleans, who voted for the death of Louis XVI. Other has a portrait of the Queen Marie Amélie who was one of the daughters of Maria Caroline(Marie Antoinette's elder sister). I appreciated various jewellery of many countries in various times. It is not so much accessories as an elaborate object of art.
Next was thegTreasures of the Romanovs and Russiah. I paid attention to three portraits. The Czarina Ekaterina II who was cold to Marie Antoinette and Louis during the Revolution. And the Czar Pavel I and his wife, Maria Feodorovna.This couple was entertained by Marie Antoinette at Trianon.
And gThe exhibition of a court painter, Pierre Joseph Redoutéh. He was appointed as a court painter of Marie Antoinette in 1789 and painted many plants(Especially the roses). We can see also today his works in the book on La Pérouse whom Louis XVI patronized. There are roses titled gDuchesse d'Orleansh or gLes Enfants de Franceh.
yAntoinette's innermost thoughtsz@I imagine the bottom of her heart, though nobody knows her true feelings nowc
To her husband, Louis
Why could they continue their married life without the crisis though they had different character and tastes? Is it because they had the same value? Both of them esteemed humanity and their family life. Louis lacked in decisiveness and judgement as a political leader, and sometimes made Antoinette deplore, but he was no doubt uxorious. She respected Louis who had what she hadn't. She might have loved him tenderly, not ardently.
I don't think that she knew other lovers of Fersen. There was no possibility of the marriage because of difference in social standing, so she could devoted to him.
To her children
She had two children, but I think that she loved her son most. A son seems to be a special being for his mother.
To the public
The public came to treat her badly as the Revolution got worse. Did she hate them? I don't think so. A hatred makes one dark. Perhaps she ignored the people of strong prejudice against her with sadness.
What was the most intolerable ordeal to her?
I think that it was the separation from her son, and her mother's death.
Why didn't she commit suicide in the extreme situation?
Catholicism forbids suicide, but were there other reasons? She might have had a little hope to see her children again or relieve from the terrible situation. However she was in the depth of despair, her optimism planted in her childhood might have lingered on. Or did she think she could endure further because she had done so far ?
If she had been like a saint, wouldn't she have been more attractive? She had the defects, so some people around her could feel an affinity for her. Her famous frivolity could be taken as frankness. And I think that she had the charm coming from the inside. She could attact even the harsh people at Conciergerie.
yMy opinion after reading gMarie Antoinettehz@ Man should not lose decency in any circumstances.
Marie Antoinette wrote to her mother, Maria Teresa about abuses by the French as if they had nothing to do with her. It shows her self-confidence. If she had refuted an opponent, he could have got what he wanted.
Person in fault often makes an excuse.
Sweet-tempered person doesn't revenge.
When man is at the bottome of Fortune's wheel, there is the one good thing in such a situation. That is no bottom. (He has only to climb up slowly.)
Composure is always important. If one can't get things in perspective, one has no good idea.
No one can tell his act until he faces a certain situation.
Every man has self-respect.
Human's heart has no bottom.
In any time and place, there is a minority of conscientious people who aren't contaminated by mass hysteria.
Some people can have an insight into essence, others can't.
There is a happy-looking person who is in fact unhappy, and vice versa.
It's impossible to separate woman from beauty.
The women's fashion never dies, however others think it foolish.
If Marie Antoinette had not meet Fersen, wouldn't her gwomanh part have waked?
Is woman loved by someone beautiful, or is woman who loves someone more beautiful?
If man often evades troubles, he will get involved with troubles.
Under the monarchy the people could say what they wanted to a certain degree, even if there was censorship. Under the Reign of Terror they couldn't speak inadvertently. The monarchy was more democratic than the Terror.
In danger, wisdom and instinct besides knowledge are also helpful.
There is no life full of only happiness, but there is no life full of only sadness.
If the society that freedom, equality and fraternity prevail can't be realized, it's because man is imperfect.
If it's impossible to realize the ideal society, man should decrease the evils before he gives up the realization.
Man who has too strong personality isn't loved by everybody.
A casual remark sometimes cuts into the heart like a knife and becomes trauma, while a little word lightens his feeling.
Man can't get his way.
If man rests on the tradition, he will go down on his luck.
Freedom is different from a let-alone policy.
Everyone can criticize, but many of them can't think out a concrete plan.
Reading is an active deed.
Man can't get happiness unless he makes an effort to get it. Happiness doesn't fall from the sky.
To get everything is less enjoyable than to choose something within the limited budget.
The grudge concerning food is terrible.
Man who can change his way of thinking lives well.
A talent is necessary for scouting out a man of talent.
yMusic relating to the QueenzHere is the music relating to the Queen and the persons concerned.
ôs Haydn Symphony No. 85 in B-flat major gLa Reineh tô
This symphony is in 4 movements. It has the light and happy melody. Ms. Midori Takeishi explains. (ERATO, WPCS-11112 HAYDN SYMPHONIES NO. 83, 84, 85). gLANDON, the scholar of Haydn, told the anecdote; the confined Queen during the Revolution found the score of this symphony on the cembalo. And she said the time had changed, so the persons around her couldn't keep back their tears.h
ôs Tchaikovsky Overture g1812h tô
The third theme of this overture is gLa Marseillaiseh, the national anthem of France. This work represents the victory of Russia against the Napoleon's invasion to Moscow. I like the CD by Seiji Ozawa & Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra the most because it is full of energy and power. You can hear the cannon roaring in the last part.
ôs La Marseillaise and Ça ira arranged by Balbastre tô
I have the only cassette of this piece arranged for cembalo. The gÇa irah was one of the popular songs during the Revolution.
ôs La Marseillaise arranged by Berlioz tô
I have this tune played by Orchestre de Paris and choeur de l'Opera. I think that the listeners are overwhelmed by this stirring tune. The melody is unforgettable once hear it! Just imagine. How awful the scene was! The Marseillais were marching into streets in Paris, singing this song loudly.
ôs Verdi Un Ballo in Maschera (Opera) tô
GustavusVof Sweden, the ally of the Queen, is the leading character in this opera. The story is based on the historical fact that the king of Sweden was assassinated during a masked ball. The drama develops, accompanied with the love, friendship and betrayal on melody. The king secretly loves his confident's wife with ardor. That wife loves the king, but tries to sever the love. Her husband reveales the secret and decides to revenge the king. This opera represents not only the feelings of the characters, but also the atmosphere of the dreary field at midnight or the uncanniness of the diviner's hut. At that time, by the censorship the scene was transferred to North America. I like this opera very much. I appreciated it at the Tokyo Opera City in 2001, 100 years after the death of Verdi.
ôs Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 26 gLes Adieuxh tô
Beethoven dedicated this work to his patron and friend, the Archduke Rudolf(Marie Antoinette's nephew). Rudolf took refuge from Vienna when Napoleon invaded Austria in 1809-10, but he could come back. By the mishap, the sonata was born. The first movement is gLes Adieuxh, the second gL'Absenceh, the third gLe Retourh. The melody of the first movement seems to be haunting and the third one is full of joy. Beethoven dedicated the grand piano sonata No. 29 gHammerklavierh to the Archduke too.
ôs Frederic the Great Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major tô
Frederic of Prussia plundered the province of Silesia of Maria Teresa, so she was infuriated by his nefarious act. But as long as I listen to this concerto, I don't get bad image from him.
The liftime of Mozart was almost same with that of Marie Antoinette. (He had a short life, 35) . The music of Mozart sublimates the various emotions, so I'm not tired from or of his music. His musical sources are copious and I think that his music will never fade.
ôs Piano Concerto No. 13 in C major K415 tô
Antoinette's brother, Joseph II listened to this work at the concert. I think that this compact tune is lilting and buoyant.
ôs Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor K466 tô
At the first performance of the concerto, Joseph II applauded. He had an ear for music! The first and second movements are used in the film gAMADEUSh. The minor is rare to Mozart, but the melody is profound and will ring in one's ears. The first movement is filled with sorrow or warmth, and the beautiful melody is beyond description. It's like appealing something or asking. There are some philosophical parts. The second movement fits the film well as if for which Mozart himself composed. The third movement has a melancholic atmosphere characteristic to Mozart.
ôs Piano Concerto No. 26 gCoronationh in D major K537 tô
When the Queen's brother, Leopold, was crowned at Frankfort, Mozart played the concerto by himself. The concerto is majestic and unconstrained. There are some delicate parts.
ôs Concerto for flute and harp in C major K299 tô
It's well knowned that the Count Guines, an amateur of music, commissioned Mozart to compose for him. (In my book, the count gives the Queen troubles, though she defends him). His daughter could play the harp and for her Mozart gave the composition lessons, too. This concerto is brilliant, cheerful and rococo. Perhaps it reflects that epoch.
¡The erudite person kindly told me about Davaux and Dittersdorf. I'm deeply grateful for the kindness!
ôs Jean-Baptiste gCitoyenh Davaux tô
sSymphonie Concertante en Sol pour deux Violons principaux, melée d'Airs Patriotiquest
Davaux was the excellent violinist and composer. This composition is French, refined, not heavy and makes me feel better. From the first note, it attracts me. In the first movement the gLa Marseillaiseh is adopted naturally. The song played by the orchestra has a different taste. It's elegant, not violent like a military song. As the title says, the violin is the leading role which fascinates the listeners by its own melodious timbre. In the final movement we can hear gÇa irah.
ôs Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf gLa prise de la Bastilleh tô
Dittersdorf was the Austrian composer and raised to the peerage by Maria Teresa. This music begins with the Grave that makes me think a dark cloud hangings low. And it becomes bright slowly, getting vigor, then rushes into the stormy Allegro assai. Rhythmical and passionate. The intense emotions are bubbling. Then the pensive Adagio is followed by the final Allegro assai.
(By the way, I like music very much. I play the piano. And I had sung gRequiemh by Mozart and by Berlioz as one of the chorus.)
Update @28 September, 2016
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