Baudelaire: From the Depths of Beauty
19 October 2017, 11:30 - 15:30
Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG
Presented in association with the Bodleian Libraries.
In the 150th anniversary of Baudelaire's death, Helen Abbott leads two sessions exploring the poet's appearances in the music of Berg and Debussy and looking more widely at the influence and dissemination of his work.
Is Baudelaire the last of the Romantic French poets? How does his work end up in Vienna? What influences the culture of the late or post-Romantics as new musical and poetic languages start to develop?
11.30am - 12.15pm - Pretty Women: Baudelaire with Berg
Berg used Baudelaire's poetry through German translation in unusual ways. Berg’s response to Baudelaire (in the Lyric Suite) highlights a number of important resonances around the idea of the ‘ideal woman’, drawn from Dante, the Psalms, Zemlinsky's Lyric Symphony, and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. This session will be led by Prof. Helen Abbott in discussion with Dr Caroline Potter.
1.10pm - 2.10pm - Lunchtime recital
2.45pm - 3.30pm - Being à la mode: Baudelaire with Debussy
In the last few decades of the nineteenth century in France, Baudelaire’s poetry was used by Debussy for an innovative set of songs. This session will explore how Debussy interprets Baudelaire in a post-Romantic mode, engaging with new developments in the modern world. Prof. Helen Abbott and Dr Caroline Ardrey share objects and images which showcase the luxury artefacts and domestic spaces in which Debussy’s settings of Baudelaire circulated. Professional rivalries and the problematic intimacy of the 'salon' setting will loom large in this interactive session.
SpeakerHelen Abbott is Professor of Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham, and specialises in how poetry is set to music. She works with nineteenth-century French texts and is currently running The Baudelaire Song Project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Helen is also a soprano and does regular French language coaching with professional singers.
SpeakerCaroline Potter is a writer and lecturer who specialises in French music. She is a frequent broadcaster and was Series Advisor to the Philharmonia Orchestra’s ‘City of Light: Paris 1900-1950’ season. Her latest book, Erik Satie, a Parisian composer and his world (Boydell Press, 2016), was named Sunday Times Classical Music Book of the Year.
SpeakerCaroline Ardrey is Research Associate on The Baudelaire Song Project, based at the University of Birmingham. She specialises in examining the intersection between nineteenth-century French poetry and other media, with a particular interest in music and fashion journalism.
This event is part of a series:
Please click here to view the full Festival brochure. Vienna at the turn of the twentieth century was a vibrant melting pot for music and the arts. Whirling waltzes sat alongside gargantuan symphonies. The height of romanticism had been reached but was nearly exhausted and on the brink of a whole new musical language. Tradition - with Brahms a holder of the torch - ...