At the Festival de Pentecôte on historical pianos, in Rueil-Malmaison, period instruments at the Empress Joséphine

The castle of Bois-Préau in the area of ​​Malmaison, in Rueil-Malmaison (Hauts-de-Seine).

It rained on May 9 in the gardens of Malmaison, weighing down the heads of the large yellow irises and the myriads of buds in the rose garden. Sodden the meadows of the English garden and the gravelled paths of the estate, of which 28 of the 700 hectares that the Empress Josephine acquired from 1799 remain. The gardeners have nevertheless undertaken to remove the heavy bins from the orangery of the Château de Bois-Préau. Hurry up. It is indeed in this rectangular space of the end of the XIXe century, with a capacity of one hundred and sixty seats, that the first Pentecost Festival takes place on historic pianos from May 24 to 29.

Malmaison has always been a women’s affair. The general curator, Elisabeth Caude, director of the service with national competence in the National Museums of the castles of Malmaison and Bois-Préau (Hauts-de-Seine), of the island of Aix (Charente-Maritime) and of the Bonaparte house , in Ajaccio (Corse-du-Sud), does not hide his admiration for the Empress. “Josephine chose and bought Malmaison, while Bonaparte was on the Egyptian campaign, she explains. It was an old seigneury from the end of the 14the century. »

The imperial couple will launch a major restoration campaign for this pleasure residence, while fashion is making a return to Greco-Roman and Egyptian antiquity. “Frequented by consular society, Malmaison became a fashionable place, adds Elisabeth Caude. She will remain so even after the divorce of Joséphine, appointed empress dowager, from Napoleon, in 1809.

Many musicians obviously frequent the premises. The Empress plays the harp herself (the music room now houses the famous instrument adorned with a golden eagle, made around 1805 by luthier Cousineau). His two children, from his first marriage to Viscount Alexandre de Beauharnais, practice music with pion. “Eugene is interested in Italian opera and sings bel canto, while Hortense has a real talent, plays the pianoforte and composes music”, adds the curator, who specifies that was recovered “a large part of the scores that appeared in the musical collection inventoried after the death of the Empress in 1814”.

Reess the directory

However, it was not around Queen Hortense’s historic piano that the idea of ​​the Festival de Pentecôte was born – the 1812 Erard, which today sits at the back of the small music room at Malmaison, does not can be played as it is – but from its eldest, a square Erard piano from 1806, fully restored by master craftsman Christopher Clarke. The instrument was acquired in March 2018 by the ociation La Nouvelle Athènes (in reference to the Parisian romantic cenacle of the early 19the century), chaired by Sylvie Brély, also artistic director of the Festival de Pentecôte. The collective is indeed committed to building a collection of period pianos (between 1750 and 1850), in order to allow performers to reess the repertoire, in particular French music from the first romanticism. “I was looking for a place that would be a real showcase to make this instrument heard to the public in February 2020, Salle Cortot in Paris”, says Sylvie Brély. Elisabeth Caude, for her part, sought to offer the public “emotionally strong, historically indisputable experiences”. Both agreed around a season and a festival.

You have 60.91% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Source link

Leave a Reply