1. Hi Susan,

    I enjoyed the Modern Troubadours account of Carrières de Lumières. I've adored Klimt and others of his generation since I was a college kid and their work was considered condescendingly, laughably, horrifically out of date. I'm so pleased to see his work gaining wider and wider recognition.

    Of course, when I watched the dazzling little video clip, I was puzzled by the use of music from 80 years earlier, the vibrant opening of the second movement of Beethoven's 9th symphony. You know me, always comparing back and forth across genres, trying to wrap my head around what was happening at any given time. I love that music, yet wondered why they didn't use music by a composer contemporary to the Vienna Secessionist movement, someone like Gustave Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Anton Webern (maybe a bit too young at that moment) or Richard Strauss. (When I was working with a film company on an orientation film for Strawbery Banke Museum, I had a devil of a time getting them to understand that it was important to have music contemporary to the (many) periods shown – they almost got it, but lapsed on the concept that music not only comes into fashion, but falls out of fashion and is forgotten — another story).

    So, me being…, well, me, I started searching for information, and was fascinated by what I found.

    Quelle surprise: the 1902 Vienna Secession exhibition revolved around Beethoven! Who knew? Apparently it was not so much for Beethoven's sublime music, because that was becoming ensnared in an increasingly ossified Viennese concert programming. According to some academics, Beethoven was chosen for emblematic reasons. As we all know, he was one of the first composers to gain recognition working outside the patronage system of church and princes, and managed to gain both recognition and a following in spite of his sometimes bad-boy behavior. The secessionists used him as a symbol of the artist seeking independent recognition in his own right… just what they were looking for.

    Not only that, but Gustave Mahler worked with the secessionists (at least my hunch in that direction was on target). Given the theme of the show, Mahler's contribution was not his own sublime music, but a performance of the last movement of Beethoven's 9th for opening night at the show! Apparently it was a revitalized and revitalizing interpretation. One must wonder if Mahler's interpretation informs modern interpretations of that monumental composition.

    I find all this fascinating, though I doubt anyone else on the planet would! Your blogs so often send me off on tangents that amuse me on a gray winter Sunday.

    I'd seen pictures of those quarries once before, and thought at the time the image of the entrance would make a fabulous set design for just about any performance of any composer's setting of Orpheus and Euridice, from Monteverdi's to Phillip Glass'. But that's a different subject!

  2. Susan,

    Vraiment spectaculaire: Merci bien!


  3. Thank you so much for this wonderful article…since purchasing a coastal vacation property in the US we have to be content with armchair Euro travel for awhile :0) Loving your blog sooo much. Please don't stop.

  4. Hi Susan, I loved your piece and the background info you provided about the quarries and the artists. I always appreciate your well-researched posts. The information from the other commenter above was also very interesting!! I'm glad the timing of our visit last weekend fit with your plans for this post. We're looking forward to seeing this show again in May and sharing it with our groups.


  5. Susan, what an *especially* fascinating post this week! I'm eager to visit the Klimt exhibition and have this extraordinary experience…This is Google glass and virtual reality brought to life! In Malta we have many used up quarries, as the main building material is limestone…and my head is spinning with possibilities for the future and a similar experience created here – perhaps exploring our Neolithic history! Thanks so much, as always.

  6. You must be a blogger~you know exactly what to say to make one feel good! Thanks so much. Please don't stop reading! Any subjects you are particularly interested in knowing more about?

  7. This information adds such depth to our understanding and appreciation of the show. Several readers have told me how interesting they found your "research." I am so glad that you let me post this personal email for all to read!

  8. Kathy, your input was immensely helpful and reflects the same thoughtful and astute observations that set the stage for your tour groups! To be one of the "Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime" according to National Geographic Traveler Magazine is quite an accomplishment!
    Keep me posted on what you are up to in Provence!

  9. Hi Cloe, It seems to me that this type of show would work perfectly in Malta. As you no doubt saw in one of the links, Culturespaces is now charged with creative these shows–I have seen some of their other projects which are also top-notch! Gianfranco Iannuzzi, a sociologist and photographer, is the creative architect behind these shows! Thanks for the nice feedback!

  10. Also, Cloe, thanks for the articles about various things French and for the terrific cartoon! I particularly loved the video of the farmers and their sheep heading into the Louvre! I posted them all on FB —
    where they generated a lot of "likes."

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