Moments from Proust VI. “O sole mio”

Albumleaf 190: May 18, 2022 (Bologna)

For I felt myself to be alone; things had become alien to me; I no longer had calm enough to break out of my throbbing heart and introduce into them a measure of stability. The town before me had ceased to be Venice . . . I could no longer tell it anything about myself. I could leave nothing of myself imprinted upon it; it contracted me into myself until I was no longer more than a beating heart and an attention strained to follow the development of O sole mio. . . . rising like a dirge for the Venice I had known. . . . My mind, no doubt in order not to have to consider the decision I had to make, was entirely occupied in following the course of the successive phrases of O sole mio, singing them to myself with the singer . . . No doubt this trivial song, which I had heard a hundred times did not interest me in the least. . . . None of the already familiar phrases of this sentimental ditty was capable of furnishing me with the resolution I needed; . . . I said to myself: “After all, I’m only listening to one more phrase,” I knew that the words meant: “I shall remain by myself in Venice.” . . .

My mother must by now have reached the station. In a little while she would be gone . . . I looked on at the slow realization of my distress, built up artistically . . . note by note, by the singer as he stood beneath the astonished gaze of the sun . . . Thus I remained motionless, my will dissolved, no decision in sight.

But suddenly, from caverns darker than those from which flashes the comet which we can predict . . . my will to action arose at last; I set off in hot haste . . .

Marcel Proust
The Fugitive, pp. 749-752
Translation: C.K. Scott Moncrief and Terence Kilmartin

“I Am Really Thinking about Ukraine”

Albumleaf 189: February 27, 2022 (Bologna)

The chorale melody and bassline are by Vincent Persichetti.

Moments from Proust V. “Mon chéri Marcel”

Albumleaf 188: February 2, 2022 (Bologna)

There are people whose faces assume an unaccustomed beauty and majesty the moment they cease to look out of their eyes.

I would run my eyes over [Albertine], stretched out below me. From time to time a slight, unaccountable tremor ran through her, as the leaves of a tree are shaken for a few moments by a sudden breath of wind. . . .

It was gratifying to me . . . that when she alighted from the car in the afternoon, it should be to my house that she was returning. It was even more so to me that when, from the underworld of sleep, she climbed the last steps of the staircase of dreams, it was in my room that she was reborn to consciousness and life. . . . Then she would find her tongue and say: “My–” or “My darling–” followed by my first name, which, if we give the narrator the same name as the author of this book, would be “My Marcel,” or “My darling Marcel.”

Marcel Proust
The Captive, p. 73, 77
Translation: C.K. Scott Moncrief and Terence Kilmartin

“Piece with a New Pencil”

Albumleaf 187: December 27, 2021 (Bologna)

Moments from Proust IV

“The Baron Laughs

and

Françoise Starts Again”

Albumleaf 186: December 3, 2021 (Bologna)

M. de Charlus, with a tolerant, genial, insolent smile, replied: “Why, that’s not of the slightest importance, here!” And he gave a little laugh that was all his own–a laugh that came down to him probably from some Bavarian or Lorraine grandmother, who herself had inherited it, in identical form, from an ancestress, so that it had tinkled now, unchanged, for a good many centuries in little old-fashioned European courts, and one could appreciate its precious quality, like that of certain old musical instruments that have become very rare.

Marcel Proust
Sodom and Gomorrah, p. 394
Translation: C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin

“After we’ve beaten them” [said Françoise] “we won’t allow one Englishman into France unless he pays three hundred francs admission, as we have to pay now to land in England.”

Such was, in addition to great decency and civility and, when they were talking, an obstinate refusal to allow any interruption, going back time and time again to the point they had reached if one did interrupt them, thus giving their talk the unshakeable solidity of a Bach fugue, the character of the inhabitants of this tiny village which did not boast five hundred, set among its chestnuts, its willows, and in fields of potatoes and beetroot.

Sodom and Gomorrah, p. 147

“Fast Horns”

Albumleaf 185: October 19, 2021 (Bologna)

FELSINA ALBUM NOW AVAILABLE

An hour-long disc of my piano compositions inspired by Bologna now out from Deux-Elles Records.

For purchase here and streaming on all the platforms

You can also purchase a signed copy directly from me. See the SCORES page for my contact information.

Meantime, enjoy the music video we filmed last January here in Bologna!

“Two Draughts from Lago Lambin”

Albumleaf 184: September 10, 2021 (Bologna)

Moments from Proust. III. “Saint-Loup’s Watch”

Albumleaf 183: August 20, 2021 (Bologna)

I heard the tick of Saint-Loup’s watch, which could not be far away. The tick changed place every moment, for I could not see the watch; it seemed to come from behind, from in front of me, from my right, from my left; sometimes to die away as though it were a long way off. Suddenly, I caught sight of the watch on the table. Then I heard the tick in a fixed place from which it did not move again.

Marcel Proust
The Guermantes Way, p. 78
Translation: C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin

Moments from Proust. II. “The Restaurant at Rivebelle”

Albumleaf 182: June 14, 2021 (Bologna)

. . . this music that greeted our ears—arrangements of waltzes of German operettas, of music-hall songs, all of them quite new to me—was itself like an ethereal pleasure-dome superimposed upon the other and more intoxicating still.  [. . .]  But while I was humming softly to myself the notes of the tune and returning its kiss, the pleasure peculiar to itself which it made me feel became so dear to me that I would have left my father and mother to follow it through the singular world which it constructed in the invisible, in lines alternately filled with languor and vivacity.

Marcel Proust
Within a Budding Grove, pp. 534-535
Translation: C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin