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Entries from May 28th, 2011

Carmen Sylva, Elena Vacarescu and the British Composer Sir Hubert Parry

May 28th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Art Exhibitions, Books, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Reviews, Translations

This beautiful Queen Anne house @ nr 17 Kensington Square has the largest staircase in the square. Kensington Square, 17, was the home of Hubert Parry. His eldest daughter inherited the house in 1932. She was married to Lord Ponsonby, leader of the Labour opposition in the House of Lords. In 1936 Lord Ponsonby produced a detailed and well-researched history of Kensington Square.

A prolific musician, composer and from 1885 Director of the Royal Academy of Music who nursed a whole generation of British composers, Hubert Parry is much forgotten today except for his piece sang by riotous crowds at the last night of the Proms set on Blake’s poem “Jerusalem”. He composed chamber music, oratorios and symphonies.
On a more exotic note he set to music “The Soldier’s Tent” a poem by Carmen Sylva, Queen of Romania and Helene Vacaresco, which at the time of the Boer War was greatly en vogue raising the spirits of the British public at home.

The Soldier’s Tent
The Queen of Romania wrote the poem “The Soldier’s tent” put to music by Sir Herbert Parry – a song popular during the Boer War

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“Carmen Sylva – reine Elisabeth de Roumanie” (Gabriel Badea-Paun) aux Editions “Via Romana”, 2011

May 27th, 2011 · Comments Off on “Carmen Sylva – reine Elisabeth de Roumanie” (Gabriel Badea-Paun) aux Editions “Via Romana”, 2011 · Art Exhibitions, Diary, Diaspora, PEOPLE, Reviews

Paris: GABRIEL BADEA-PAÜN signe sa biographie “Carmen Sylva Reine Elisabeth de Roumanie” Editions Via Romana
Né en 1973 à Sinaïa, Roumanie, auteur de plusieurs ouvrages de prestige sur l’histoire de l’art, Monsieur Badea-Paun est agrégé de L’université Paris IV Sorbonne, DEA en histoire de l’art, avec un mémoire sur Les portraits de la Famille de Hohenzollern par Philip de Laszlo. Sa thèse à Paris IV Sorbonne sous la direction du Professeur Bruno Foucart a eu pour sujet Antonio de La Gandara, le catalogue raisonné de l’œuvre peint et dessiné.

Monsieur Gabriel Badea-Paun est éagalement l’auteur de plusieures monographies ainsi que d’articles de l’histoire de l’art dans des revues de specialité en France et en Roumanie. Son dernier ouvrage sur la Reine Elisabeth de Roumanie, vient de parraitre en France aux editions Via Romana.

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Maria MESTEROU (France) artist painter – her work on the conservation of Orthodox images

May 26th, 2011 · 7 Comments · Art Exhibitions, Diaspora, International Media, PEOPLE, Reviews

Il m’est arrivé d’avoir à faire à une vaste gamme de techniques picturales, allant de la classique peinture sur toile, passant par celles sur plaques de cuivre et sur bois, jusqu’à la détrempe à l’œuf sur tissu non tendu sur châssis, comme ce fut le cas pour un très ancien voile grec couvert de beaucoup de scènes de l’Ancien et du Nouveau Testaments, dominées par deux grandes icônes de la Vierge et de Jésus Christ. Les deux premières images montrent le voile avant la restauration, avec, cependant, les visages de la Vierge et du Christ nettoyés. On voit ensuite son aspect final:

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Orpheus never turned up for tea

May 18th, 2011 · Comments Off on Orpheus never turned up for tea · Art Exhibitions, PEOPLE, quotations

Our painter is called Janet Cree. Born in London in 1910, she is an artist of early promise as the Tate Gallery acquires one of her works when she is only 23 years of age. From then on we know little about her artistic fortunes and true to herself Janet carries on quietly with her craft, sending regularly her pictures to the RA exhibitions, without making waves. Soon the war takes its toll as the art aficionados go silent as the bottom falls out of the art market.
In spite of it all Janet Cree takes her due place in the dictionaries of contemporary British painters. Doubtless her family, as she sets up a home, makes demands on her time too, for she is now married to a mercurial lawyer whose physical and social stature is larger than life: this is John Platts-Mills, the six-foot New Zealand-born athlete and Oxford-educated student. He comes to Britain as a Rhodes scholar to Balliol College.
By this time, the trauma of the First War takes its toll on the mood of the young people, who are disaffected with the society and over-enthusiastic about the social and economic ‘paradise’ promised by Joseph Stalin.

Platts-Mills is no exception. At first he hopes that luck may strike closer to the British Isles as he gives his support to the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War. That was not to be. For a moment it seems that his political sympathies go astride the main flow of the British establishment, as he is not considered good material to enroll as a RAF pilot during the war. Earlier on, in 1932 he is called to the Inner Temple, but will not become a King’s Council for a long time, because of his political sympathies.
However, at the beginning of the war the Allied troops suffer many set backs, which cause Platts-Mills’ fortunes to change for the better, as Churchill calls on him and urge him to be a go-between with Stalin’s Russia. This is the time when Platts-Mills throws himself arduously into Soviet-British PR, forging endless Soviet-British friendship societies all over Britain. Yet, on the political board of snakes and ladders fortunes change quickly and with the advent of the cold war the maverick barrister looses his political clout: in the process he also looses his Finsbury seat in Parliament, as he is expelled from the Labour Party. But hard luck turns to good fortune as his reputation precedes him. He becomes a much sought-after lawyer in some of the most controversial legal cases, defending the Kray brothers, the Great Train Robbers, the Shrewsbury two. He also acts as a secret adviser of Trade Union leader Arthur Scargill in the miners’ strike of the 1970s, which caused the fall of Edward Heath’s government. He appears on the Grunwick picket line and acted on the Bloody Sunday inquiry in Londonderry.

But before he becomes involved in these high-profile cases Platts-Mills takes care to pay his last respects to “Uncle Joe”, as he dies in the Kremlin, in 1953.

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Conversation with Domnica Radulescu, Romanian-American Academic and Novelist about her first Novel – “Train to Trieste”

May 2nd, 2011 · 3 Comments · Books, Diaspora, PEOPLE

Most of Romanian exiles who became acknowledged as international greats, Cioran, Anna de Noailles, Marta Bibescu, Horia Vintila wrote directly in the language of their adoptive country, yet the native Romanian officials together with a raft of native critics considered this practice disloyal. The young Elena Vacarescu who received a prestigious French Prize for her poems.she was reviled, back in Romania, even before 1900. She returned only to be exiled again, yet she desperately loved her country wherever she was. Two generations later, under communism, the official critic George Calinescu in his opus on the History of Romanian literature dismissed Anna de Noailles as “unpatriotic” for not writing in Romanian. Even as recently as two years ago a director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Paris refused a Romanian author financial help for the translation of his book simply because this was written in a foreign language therefore stating that it did not qualify as Romanian (sic). We know that this seems bizarre and nonsensensical. Your choice of writing in English is clear and I for one I think it a great help in putting `Romania on the map, very much as Panait Istrati or Anna de Noailles did it before the war and many other exiles since – what are your views on such criticism? Do you find it justified?

I frankly don’t care much about such criticism nor do I pay much attention to it. I think a writer can write in any language under the sun she/he chooses and throughout history writers wrote in different languages, not always their first native or maternal languages. I left Romania for the United States in order to start a new life, a new me, a new destiny, when I was quite young. It felt like the most natural thing in the world to write in the language of the country in which I have been living for a quarter of a century. Besides I adore writing in English more than in any other language.

On the occasion of the Award of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Herta Muller much debate and controversy was stirred in the Romanian society about the Romanianness of a German ethnic born in Romania, who lived in Berlin and wrote in a foreign language… Some critics went even further as to suggest that one of the reasons why Romania may have been overlooked by the Nobel prize committee is the paucity of Romanian novels translated in languages of international circulation: do you find such suggestion justified?

I don’t know, again I don’t care much about such issues as someone’s “Romanianness” or “Frenchness,” and I think it’s silly of critics and the media to worry about things like that; the reason they do is because there is such a need to pin and label writers and place them in boxes of ethnic, national, linguistic affiliations. Maybe Romanians should do a better job at translating their own literature in other languages.

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