Join A-Gent of Style on Monday 2 December 2013 at 19:30
at St John’s Smith Square, London, to see the Thames Chamber Orchestra
and the Choir of Christ’s College, Cambridge, perform for the annual celebration of the work of the fantastic Oracle Cancer Trust (Patron: HRH Princess Alexandra; Vice President: Nigella Lawson) which funds pioneering research into the treatment and cure of all forms of head and neck cancer.
This inspirational concert is now a regular event in the festive calendar providing an uplifting and memorable evening of choral classics and traditional carols for choir and orchestra with audience participation.
Tickets are £45, £30, £25 and £10 and can be purchased on 0800 327 7284
Oracle welcomes this year the virtuosic quintet Onyx Brass who will perform a variety of delightful Christmas classics.
Christ’s College Choir is directed by David Rowland and the Thames Chamber Orchestra is conducted by Keith Marshall.
Opening Chorus, from Cantata No 140, ‘Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme’ BWV 140 – Johann Sebastian Bach
Deus in adjutorium, from Vespro della Beata Vergine, ‘Vespers’ (1610) – Claudio Monteverdi, arranged for Brass Quintet
A Babe is Born, from Four Old English Carols – Gustav Holst, arranged for brass Quintet
Wexford Carol (arr Bannister) – Traditional
In dulci jubilo BWV 729 – Johann Sebastian Bach
Messiah HWV 56 – George Frideric Handel
O nata lux de lumine – Thomas Tallis
Alleluya! A new work is come on hand – Peter Wishart
The Lamb, ‘Little Lamb, who made thee?’ – Sir John Tavener
Traditional Carols – Various
Taking a morning stroll on this Labour Day from ‘rive gauche’ to ‘rive droite‘, over the Pont du Carousel, towards the secretive Palais Royal and its arcades of boutiques, pausing on one of those ubiquitous Parisian reclined iron loungers facing the fountain, contemplative, and suddenly thinking of the atmospheric and moody I.C.U music video by the talented Lou Doillon – daughter of the iconic Jane Birkin and half-sister of the equally brilliant Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kate Berry – the ultimate bona fide parisiennes.
Detail of The Muses Clio, Euterpe and Thalia (1655), by Eustache Le Sueur (1617-1655), French Baroque painter
1- any of the nine sister goddesses in Greek mythology presiding over song, poetry, the arts and sciences
2- a source of inspiration; especially: a guiding genius
3- a poet
The concept of the muse goes all the way back to ancient Greek mythology where Zeus’s godly daughters presided artfully over different aspects of culture, inspiring its practitioners. Over the last few centuries, the term has come to define those people who fuel creative imagination, often being portrayed in various art forms such as film, fashion, poetry, paintings, music and Grazia…
Let’s meet some of the enchanting, free-spirited, challenging or tortured women or men who have been immortalised by great, visionary artists to do great works of art and let’s see how they have been inspired by their muses’ dynamism, shrewdness, promiscuity, and of course, their dangerous beauty when some of those fabled relationships were sometimes fraught with excitement, creativity, and yes… scandal. Oh la la…
EDOUARD MANET & VICTOIRE MEURENT
Titbit: Did you know that the diminutive Victorine Meurent, nicknamed La Crevette (the shrimp), was not only Manet’s muse and a famous model for painters like Degas but that she was also an artist in her own right, who exhibited repeatedly at the prestigious Paris Salon? In 1876, her paintings were selected for inclusion at the Salon’s juried exhibition when Manet’s work was not. Their part-time sitter/lover relationship lasted just over a decade..
CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI & MARGIT POGANY
Titbit: Margit Pogany, a Hungarian art student, met Brancusi in Paris in 1910. Photographs show that Mademoiselle Pogany had a round face with large eyes and strong eyebrows, and wore her hair in a smooth chignon. The story goes he’d made a marble head of her from memory, then invited her back to his studio weeks later. He was delighted when she recognised it: “I’m awfully pleased that I recognised myself.” This was the beginning of a 26-year collaboration.
MAN RAY & LEE MILLER
Titbit: In 1929, Lee Miller became the pupil and lover of Man Ray. Amongst the countless celebrities photographed by Man Ray – Wallis Simpson, Aldous Huxley, Virginia Woolf, Picasso, Chanel, Schiaparelli, himself – the one he went back to most obsessively was Lee Miller. Despite a fall-out (in 1930 Miller fished a discarded photograph he had taken of her out of the dustbin in Ray’s darkroom and cropped it into a work of her own. He, outraged, slashed the picture’s neck and splattered the gash with drops of red ink.), the pair stayed friends for the rest of their lives. They last met in London in 1975, at Ray’s retrospective at the ICA. By then, he was in a wheelchair and Miller was a drunk, maddened by the horrors she had photographed during the Second World War.
PABLO PICASSO & DORA MAAR
Titbit: Maar was Picasso’s partner during the period of his greatest political engagement. Her tragic air was caused, Picasso believed, by her inability to have children. When he threw her over for the much younger Françoise Gilot in 1943, Maar suffered a complete mental collapse, followed by nun-like seclusion. She ended her days surrounded by dust-encrusted relics of her time with Picasso. “After Picasso,” she famously declared, “only God.” Their relationship lasted seven years.
JOSEPH VON STERNBERG & MARLENE DIETRICH
Titbit: Dietrich would always give von Sternberg full credit for her success, “I was nothing but pliable material on the infinitely rich palette of his ideas and imaginative faculties.” Von Sternberg’s assessment was slightly different, “I did not endow her with a personality that was not her own…I gave her nothing that she did not already have. What I did was to dramatize her attributes and make them visible for all to see.” After leaving Germany, the cycle of seven films directed by von Sternberg starring Dietrich lasted seven years before they ended their professional and private relationship.
JEAN COCTEAU & JEAN MARAIS
Titbit: Here is one of the love letters Cocteau wrote to Marais in 1939 in Paris. Their relationship lasted three decades until Cocteau’s death in 1963.
It is Christmas, the most wonderful Christmas of my entire life. Your heart, your body, your soul, the happiness of living and working with you are all in my stocking. One subject might be `the useful present’, of which I disapprove. As superfluous. I shall look only at the hands that give it. My Jeannot, I can never tell you often enough: thank you, thank you for your creative genius, thank you for our love.
PIERRE CARDIN & JEANNE MOREAU
Titbit: “’It was instantaneous. I knew his reputation as a homosexual. I didn’t give a damn,’ Jeanne Moreau said. Paris was amazed and Cardin’s boyfriend was furious. He threatened suicide and had to be bought off. Their whirlwind romance in the 60s went on for five years but Cardin carried on dressing La Moreau for years to come. In 2001, she requested he made the inaugural speech when she was inducted into the French Academie des Beaux-Arts as the first woman in the Academie’s nearly 200-year history, which made her ‘une immortelle’ according to the tradition. These two icons of French culture are still, fifty years later, ‘les meilleurs amis du monde’.
ANDY WARHOL & EDIE SEDGWICK
Titbit: “I’m a little nervous about saying anything about the artist, because it kind of sticks him right between the eyes, but he deserves it. He really fucked up a great many people’s, young people’s lives.” That’s what The Factory Girl Edie Sedgwick is quoted to have said about Warhol after the ‘non-couple couple’ ‘s tumultuous but significant one-year-long artistic relationship ended.
SERGE GAINSBOURG & JANE BIRKIN
Titbit: Distraught after the collapse of his relationship with Brigitte Bardot, Gainsbourg occupied himself with a role in the 1969 film Slogan. Playing opposite him was a charming, young English actor called Jane Birkin. Under the impression that her co-star hated her, Birkin arranged a dinner with him over which Gainsbourg, 18 years her senior, fell in love. Unfortunately, due to the amount of alcohol consumed throughout the date, the first night the pair spent together was in a hotel room … with Gainsbourg passed out drunk on the bed. One of the 60s most famous rock chicks would remain a couple until 1980, and inseparable friends until the end of Serge’s life in 1991.
ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE & PATTI SMITH
Titbit: In 1967, Patti Smith discovered whilst in a relationship with Mapplethorpe that he was sleeping with a young man named Terry. “If I had been going out with another woman, it would have been different,” Mapplethorpe later recounted, “But Patti couldn’t compete with a man…She went crazy.” Smith did indeed become suicidal, so she decided to take a break from her life in New York. She flew to Paris where she stayed for four months hanging out with street musicians, picking pockets and stalking the boulevards mapped out in her treasured Rimbaud biographies. She did return to NYC and Mapplethorpe and their stormy but then professional relationship carried on until 1974.
YVES SAINT LAURENT & CATHERINE DENEUVE
Titbit: Yves Saint Laurent once said of the great actress Catherine Deneuve: “She has always been special to me. I dressed her from the film Belle de Jour by Luis Buñuel. She is a woman who has a charm and a wonderful heart. For me, she is the biggest global star. We write often. I call her “Catherine, my sweetness,” and she sends me pale roses.” She attended his first première collection of prêt-à-porter line from his Rive Gauche store in 1966 and became his first customer. Their friendship and artistic colloboration lasted until Yves Saint Laurent’s death in 2008.
DEREK JARMAN & TILDA SWINTON
Titbit: Derek Jarman was the radical who directed a young Swinton in seven films, from the bold ‘Caravaggio’ in 1986 to the startling ‘Edward II’ in 1991 and, finally, the magnificent ‘Blue’ in 1993. Jarman died in 1994.”I think that the fact that the first nine years of my filmmaking life were almost exclusively spent working with Derek set my habits indelibly: the miracle is that, honestly, I’ve not been aware of having had to stray too far out of the zone since. The filmmakers who have approached me seem to know the territory of my interests and contribution and be up for it”, Swinton reminisces.
TOM FORD & JULIANNE MOORE
Titbit: Ford and Moore had been friends since he designed her Gucci dress for the 1998 Oscars. “There’s always trepidation when someone you know sends you a script they’ve written,” Moore reflects when Ford approached her to play Charley in his movie A Single Man. “I wasn’t cynical but I had no idea what it was going to be […]. I loved it. The movie is so soulful. It’s about loving somebody and how that connection with another human being can be the defining thing in your life.” Moore has made regular contributions to Tom Ford’s womenswear collections since he launched his eponymous company in 2011.