Spanish translation of Jean-Michel Pennetier’s interview with Robert Letellier

A few weeks ago, we added the English and French versions of Jean-Michel Pennetier’s interview with Robert Letellier to the blog (please click here to read it). We are now delighted to share a Spanish translation for our Spanish followers – please see below to read the interview in full.

Presentación:

Mi interés por Meyerbeer comenzó cuando era muy joven, a mediados de la década del sesenta. Leía sobre Rossini y Wagner y siempre me cruzaba con el nombre de Meyerbeer. Me quedaba perplejo ante los puntos de vista extremos y contradictorios acerca suyo y por la enorme potencia de los sentimientos que su nombre parecía provocar. Ningún otro compositor parecía desencadenar tan intensas reacciones. ¿Por qué? También leí sobre él en una introducción a la ópera para niños y me intrigó particularmente la historia del Ballet de las Monjas en Robert le Diable. Cuando quise escuchar algo de su música, me encontré con que no había prácticamente nada grabado, a no ser por la Marcha de Coronación, ‘Ombre légère’ y ‘O Paradis’, aún cuando todos los otros compositores parecían estar muy bien representados en los catálogos. Pronto descubrí que había casi una prohibición para interpretar su música y una tendencia a restarle importancia, ridiculizarla o a despreciarlo a él como un charlatán o un judío sólo interesado en hacer dinero. Uno siempre leía acerca de las actitudes desdeñosas de Wagner, Schumann, Mendelssohn y el menosprecio de Heine. Aún los libros de texto más leídos de aquella época (como el influyente libro de Donald Grout sobre ópera) era despectivo. Y aún así, Meyerbeer había sido alguna vez sumamente famoso y popular; no es posible ser un compositor representado en todo el mundo por casi un siglo y, a la vez, un proveedor engañoso de bienes de mala calidad.

Después de un tiempo, en 1968 encontré una vieja partitura de Les Huguenots y, al mismo tiempo, el viejo sello Saga lanzó un LP de viejas regrabaciones de la ‘Época Dorada’. Fue a través de los crujidos de estos viejos recitales que escuché a algunos de los legendarios cantantes de ópera entonar melodías de esta otrora famosa partitura. Recién en 1971 pude escuchar Les Huguenots maravillosamente grabada por Decca, con la dirección de Richard Bonynge. La experiencia me resultó abrumadora, “uno de los más grandes momentos de mi vida” (para citar la famosa observación Hans von Bülow).

A medida que yo crecía, escuché sobre la edición de las cartas y diarios de Meyerbeer, y añoraba porder leerlos. Necesitaba saber alemán para hacerlo (mi lengua madre es el inglés, la de la familia de mi padre era el francés), de modo que estudié alemán en la universidad. Los estudios editados por Heinz y Gudrun Becker (me he hecho amigo de ambos) aparecieron muy lentamente, y cuando el profesor Becker se retiró antes de completar su trabajo, quise poder yo mismo hacer algo y pedí una copia del diario manuscrito del compositor de la Staatsbibliothek en Berlín. Para mi sorpresa, me enviaron el material y, los siguientes pocos años, dediqué la mayor parte de mi vida a transcribir y traducir estos documentos primordiales, de modo de poder saber la verdad sobre Meyerbeer a través de sus propios escritos privados.

Pero es la música de Meyerbeer la que debería portar su fama y reputación, y en tanto más óperas suyas fueron puestas a disposición tanto en disco como en producciones en vivo, pude prontamente explorar el contenido artístico en mayor detalle y escribir sobre ellas. Contrariamente a cuanto muchos comentadores, académicos y críticos habían dicho, sus óperas (y las historias de Eugène Scribe) me parecieron ricas y bellas, y llenas de ideas maravillosas y una exploración seria de algunos de los temas más importantes en la vida, estando cada ópera caracterizada por su propio humor, color y simbolismo.

Me encontré también sumamente atraído por toda la historia de la ópera francesa de la primera mitad del siglo XIX, por aquellas maravillosas palabras grand opéra y opéra-comique. Dado que mis ancestros son en parte franceses, tengo un aprecio intuitivo por la elegancia y frescura de este tipo de música. No podía entender por qué la nación francesa misma parecía/parece ignorar la bellísima herencia de su legado lírico hasta 1870. La desatención a Auber me resulta particularmente incomprensible, considerando lo llena de vida y gracia que está su música.

Acerca de Meyerbeer

El destino de la reputación de Meyerbeer, el giro violento de admiración casi universal a total denigración y olvido es uno de los más grandes misterios y desafíos de la historia de la música. También resulta poco normal y ampliamente exagerado, como si Meyerbeer se hubiera convertido en el chivo expiatorio y víctima de muchos de los prejuicios artísticos y asuntos sociales de fines del siglo XIX y del siglo XX. Esto se vincula al hecho de Meyerbeer ser judío, a su riqueza personal y gran éxito, a las compejidades que implican las identitades alemana y francesa, al oprobio acarreado por el criticismo devastador de Wagner (en lo personal y artístico), los cambios en los gustos musicales, la universal y casi fanática adoración por Wagner (tanto en Francia como en otros países) y los cambios en la estética, alejándose de la ópera heroica y de la tradición belcantista. Se ha repudiado a la historia como tema de una ópera, del mismo modo que se han dejado de lado el simbolismo y la naturaleza mismos. El poder visceral del drama en el contexto de escenarios históricos es central para comprender la urgencia estética de Meyerbeer. Esto se refleja en los desarrollos bizarros de la escenificación de ópera a partir de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, cuando los conceptos Meyerhold y Brecht transformaron el Verfremdungseffekt en una característica universal de la escenificación moderna (el llamado Regietheater).

Las óperas de Meyerbeer tratan las grandes realidades de la historia y la religión, la política y los prejuicios, y también la mitología y la naturaleza del valor y la dignidad humanos por encima de la ideología y la tiranía religiosa. Tanto en el tema como en la forma musical, él solía apuntar a estas cuestiones; tanto él como Scribe demostraron ser grandes innovadores y pensadores de la condición humana. La bondad, el amor y el sacrificio importan y tienen el poder de modificar el comportamineto humano. La adaptación por parte de Meyerbeer de las estructuras formales y de las prácticas musicales de su época (tanto en Alemania, como en Italia y Francia) establecieron nuevas direcciones en el género operístico y en la dramaturgia y estilo de la música lírica. El alegato de ‘efectos sin causa’ carece completamente de sentido, dado que toda la ópera y, de hecho, cualquier tipo de música, precisa de ideas de impacto y aún de innovaciones que la sigan haciendo interesante.

Acerca de Les Huguenots:

Esta ópera trata un tema que resulta cada vez más apremiante en nuestros propios tiempos: el lugar de la ideología política y religiosa en las vidas de hombres y mujeres comunes. ¿Importan más los seres humanos que las ideas? Los registros terribles de la Reforma y las Guerras de Religión (1517-1648) deberían haber sido una lección para dar un vuelco a nuestras actitudes en pos de la vida y la tolerancia, pero es una lección que parece no poder ser aprendida jamás.

La música de esta ópera es dramática, altamente melódica, de ricas texturas armónicas y llena de color en la orquesta. Afecta también las emociones y el inconsciente de quien la escucha, y debería, a través del poder de la escena, permitir que ciertos detalles de la música se destaquen. Los bellos jardines de Chenonceau se contrastan con el terror de las calles y callejones oscuros de la terrible Noche de San Bartolomé. La ideología de muchos de los personajes se transforma, a través de acciones y gestos de amor y autosacrificio, en un idealismo compasivo y de perdón. Debe haber poesía y belleza misteriosa en la mise-en-scène, en la evocación de tiempos pasados y en la caracterización de los desafíos intemporales que implica el pasado en tema de política, religión y los errores cometidos por la humanidad.

La realidad de la terrible historia relatada necesita ser confrontada como un hecho histórico y como una recurrencia eterna de la condición humana. Meyerbeer, como judío y como alguien ajeno tanto a Berlín como a París, fue agudamente consciente de los temas que luego asumirían tamaña ferocidad, con devastadoras consecuencias, en el siglo XX. Él observa a católicos y protestantes con igual distancia y con el mismo interés, pudiendo conjurar los temas y modos de expresión de cada cual de modo maravilloso. Es por ello que su música resulta profética y la razón por la cual (con Halévy en La Juive) presenta actitudes de libertad y responsabilidad, de apertura y tolerancia que, aparecidas con la Revolución Francesa y las Guerras Napoleónicas, resultan de tanta actualidad. La música de Meyerbeer es dramáticamente poderosa, a la vez que fiel a la tradición de belleza expresada en melodías melifluas y en el espectro encantador de sus colores orquestales. Y nos habla de los más importantes desafíos de la historia y de la vida misma.

 

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Winter Solstice – Cambridge Scholars Publishing

This December, join Cambridge Scholars Publishing in marking the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Marking the longest night and shortest day of the year, on the 21st of December the pendulum of light will begin to swing back the other way, as the nights begin again to get shorter and the days start to stretch out.

Culturally and historically, the Winter Solstice is more significant than a mere astrological phenomenon. From Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements such as Stonehenge to mystical pagan festivals like Yuletide, it has long held a fervent hold over the imaginations of peoples and societies from the dawn of time to the present. To mark the Solstice, we will be offering a 50% discount on some of our most recent titles connected to the Winter and the Northern Hemisphere, from titles on education in Iceland to stories of Arctic offshore engineering.

To redeem your discount, please enter the promotional code WINTER18 during checkout. Please note that this is a time-limited offer that will expire on the 1st of January 2019.


Less tangible than melting polar glaciers or the changing social conditions in northern societies, the modern Arctic represented in writings, visual images and films has to a large extent been neglected in scholarship and policy-making. However, the modern Arctic is a not only a natural environment dramatically impacted by human activities. It is also an incongruous amalgamation of exoticized indigenous tradition and a mundane everyday. The chapters in Arctic Modernities examine the modern Arctic from all these perspectives. They demonstrate to what extent the processes of modernization have changed the discursive signification of the Arctic. They also investigate the extent to which the traditions of heroic Arctic images – whether these traditions are affirmed, contested or repudiated – have continued to shape, influence and inform modern discourses.

The educational systems of the Nordic countries are based on a common set of fundamental values, such as democracy, social justice and inclusion. However, when it comes to the treatment of diversity, especially in education, many issues remain unresolved. Icelandic Studies on Diversity and Social Justice in Education presents Icelandic research on the challenges and opportunities of diversity in education at several levels, including preschool, primary, secondary, vocational and higher education in Iceland. The chapters shed light on school experiences of students and parents of immigrant or refugee background and their teachers, and explore attitudes and values of young people with regards to diversity, human rights and multicultural society. While set in the Icelandic context, this volume will serve to contribute to current global discussions on diversity and social justice in education.

In the early 1970s, new technology was needed to aid in coal, oil and gas exploration in the High Arctic, in order to see if ice sheets could provide a perfect structural support for roadways, airstrips and drilling platforms housing hundreds of workers. However, little engineering experience was available in this regard. The Story of Offshore Arctic Engineering uniquely relates the human history and the technical innovations developed in this harsh environment through research, testing, and applying many existing engineering principles to ice structure analysis. It offers essential insights into the history of ice engineering for designers, university educators and postgraduate students. While other studies detail research and testing in the laboratory, this text relates the testing, development, construction and use of ice in real construction conditions.

The descriptions of the weather in medieval Icelandic sagas have long been considered unimportant, mere adjuncts to the action. This is not true: the way the weather is depicted can give us an insight into the minds of medieval Icelanders. The first part of The Weather in the Icelandic Sagas illustrates how the Christian world-view of authors of the twelfth to fourteenth centuries influenced their descriptions of meteorological conditions in earlier times. The second part is more literary in approach. It points out the formulaic nature of descriptions of storms, and shows how references to the weather help to structure the narrative in some sagas.


Editorial Advisory Board’s ‘Recommended Read’ – December 2018

For the last ‘Recommended Read’ of 2018, Dr Jean-d’Amour Twibanire has chosen one of the most exciting books that we have published in the entirety of the year. Jean-d’Amour obtained his PhD in Chemistry in 2013 at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. He has worked at Dalhousie University for several semesters as an Instructor in the Department of Chemistry, and is currently a Research Scientist with CanAm Bioresearch Inc. in Winnipeg, Canada.

We are offering all of our readers a 50% discount on Jean-d’Amour’s choice. To redeem your discount, please enter the promotional code EABDEC18 during checkout. Please note that this is a time-limited offer that will expire on 2nd January 2019.


Dr Jean-d’Amour Twibanire’s ‘Recommended Read’:

Evolution of Evolution: The Survival Value of Caring

Author: Richard Littleton Guerrant

This book strives to link our humanities and religious philosophies to a scientific understanding of human destiny, and provide a key to meaning in our lives. Though this idea has incubated for over two decades, recent extremism in Charlottesville and global threats of inhumanity and violence make this more timely than ever for all who care about who we are and our children’s future.


“This book, written by Professor Richard Guerrant, takes a closer look at the value of caring and its evolution to the present day. The seven chapters are well written and cover an array of different topics and questions – in Chapter Two, for example, the author discusses a question of paramount importance: “Can traits that were once helpful become more harmful than helpful with changes over time”? The issue of whether spiritual philosophies, religions, or indeed the humanities can join with the sciences to complement and reinforce one another is dealt with in Chapter Three. Overall, the book reaffirms the fact that we are ‘in it together’, and that isolation in its various forms may not be possible in the long run. Caring for others, even those we may not know, is rooted in our humanity, and those who have nothing to care about cease to exist in so many ways.

I firmly agree with Guerrant that the evolution of evolution is critical for all of humanity, and that we cannot afford to ignore it. We are interdependent, often more than we realise. Whether we like it or not, we are connected, and what we do very much affects what others do too. Caring and love, Guerrant successfully suggests, is what will give meaning to our existence and our evolutionary future.”


For more information on Dr Twibanire, please click here.

Featured Review – Rejuvenating Medical Education: Seeking Help from Homer

At Cambridge Scholars, we recognise the importance of work that strives to cut across disciplinary boundaries and shine fresh light on older, well-worn topics. In particular, we welcome and encourage scholarship that bridges the gaps between the Health, Life, Physical, and Social Sciences, and we are delighted to share news of a new review of a recent book that does precisely this.

Rejuvenating Medical Education: Seeking Help from Homer looks to The Iliad and The Odyssey by the legendary Greek poet Homer for inspiration in rethinking contemporary medicine. Jointly authored by Robert Marshall and Alan Bleakley, the book promotes a new kind of medicine and medical education fit for the 21st century, but envisages these through the ancient lens of Homer’s two epics. This year, the book has been reviewed in the latest issue of Medical History by Neil Vickers of King’s College London, and below is Vickers’ summarising thoughts:


 “We need more books like this one: books that revel in the moral complexity of clinical work and that initiate fruitful dialogues across disciplines to explore it. Marshall and Bleakley see medicine as an art as well as a science and use Homer as a model of what style, presence and refinement might mean in a clinical context. Their book is a salutary intervention at a time when medical education is increasingly laying on algorithmic habits of mind. They evoke the human dimension of medical practice as skilfully as the best physician writers: Rita Charon, say, or Jerome Groopman. At a time when the humanities are in retreat in medical schools, this book offers much-needed food for thought to anyone wanting a detailed account of how the humanities might contribute to clinical training.”

Neil Vickers, King’s College London, Medical History 62/3 (2018)


The book is available to purchase now directly from Cambridge Scholars. Please click here to see more, and to read a 30 page excerpt from the book including the table of contents.

We are always very happy to hear from authors with reviews of their titles and have published an ever-increasing number of reviews on our website. Being well-reviewed is a strong selling point for any book, and at Cambridge Scholars we have a number of ways in which we can help authors and editors to this end.

In the first instance, following publication our dedicated Reviews Editor will contact individuals and publications from our wide-ranging list of contacts. We have up to 20 review copies to send directly to any interested scholars or publications as standard. We appreciate that our authors have specialist knowledge in their subject areas, and we always welcome suggestions of potential reviewers both during and after publication.

For more information on the post-publication process, please visit our dedicated Post-Publication page by clicking here.

Introductory Readings in Neuroscience

As part of our expansion into the Life Sciences, Cambridge Scholars Publishing has begun an already expanding collection of books in the field of Neuroscience. Concerned with the brain and nervous system in both humans and animals, Neuroscience is a relatively new branch of scientific and philosophical enquiry, emerging in the mid-twentieth century several centuries after its intellectual godparent biology did in the 1700s. It is now a vibrant and eclectic field of study, focusing primarily on the organ that regulates our thoughts, sleep, and dreams – our brains.

As part of our expansion, Cambridge Scholars have a number of titles forthcoming on different aspects of neurochemistry, experimental psychology, mathematical modelling, and the emergent properties of neurons and neural circuits. However, we are delighted to share an exclusive 20% discount on three recently published introductory texts in Neuroscience, books which provide a flavour of what is to be released in the coming months.

To redeem your discount, please enter the promotional code NEURO18 during checkout.

An Integrated Approach to Neuroscience provides detailed information about the salient topics typically covered in a traditional introductory neuroscience course, offering a basic overview of brain anatomy and physiology, from molecules to the mind, in a concise, readable format, without a substantial amount of peripheral information. This allows the reader to focus on the primary concepts without getting lost in ancillary information that may not be relevant to their future careers. This text will also serve as a useful reference for anyone wanting to refresh their memory on the subject, and will be an essential tool for lecturers and educators looking for a new text on which to base their teaching.

Contemporary teaching and learning methods based on cognitive neuroscience deal with such questions as “How do we think?” or “How does the human memory work?”. Innovative approaches in this field tackle the subject of human mentality by connecting discoveries from a range of disciplines that shed light on cognitive occurrences and the learning process. Especially over the last decade, one of the key trends in this field has focused on the connection between humans and machines. Contemporary technologies based on AI will undoubtedly play a critical role in shaping the society of the future. Thus, the primary purpose of Problem-Based Learning and Proprioception is to shed light on issues related to teaching and learning based on contemporary trends and approaches from the field of information and communication technologies and artificial intelligence.

Since its inception in Canada in 1998 as a method for teaching French as a second language in a school setting, the Neurolinguistic Approach to second-language acquisition (NLA) has expanded to several countries and is now also applied to teaching adults. By ensuring the independent development of effective communication and implicit competence in the second language, the NLA allows learners to genuinely express themselves in their new language. In this volume, co-developer of the approach Claude Germain outlines the history of the NLA’s development and provides insights into its principles, its teaching and acquisition strategies applied in the classroom, and the results it has achieved. This is an essential book for all second-language teachers, as well as researchers interested in the transmission of second languages.

Stocking Fillers

Ho ho ho! Whether it’s the new novel from your favourite author, that intriguing biography of a historical figure, or an old title that you’ve wanted for ages, everyone loves a new book for Christmas.

To help you get into the Christmas spirit, Cambridge Scholars Publishing are pleased to be offering a selection of stocking fillers – new paperbacks that will be a perfect present to a friend or colleague. Not only this, we’re offering all of our readers a 20% discount on these titles. To redeem your discount, please enter the promotional code CHRISTMAS20 during checkout. Please note that this is a time-limited offer that will expire on Thursday 20th December, so be quick if you want to order that endearing last-minute gift.


He founded perhaps the most famous dynasty in history: the Tudors. Yet, in 1485 when Henry Tudor defeated Richard III to become King Henry VII, he possessed the most anemic claim to the throne since William the Conqueror. In defiance of the norms of medieval rule, he transformed England from an insolvent, often divided country in the waning years of the Wars of the Roses into an emerging modern state upon his death in 1509, a legacy inherited by his larger-than-life heir, Henry VIII. How did this happen? Through impressive archival research over several decades and a provocative perspective, Daring Dynasty illuminates what occurred by exploring key aspects of Henry’s reign, which included a dark side to royal policy. It will provide historians, students, history enthusiasts and devotees of “all things Tudor” with an understanding of how the populace and political players melded into a nation through the efforts of its king and his government.

Inwardness is the condition of being inside. However, this can mean many things: one can be inside himself – dealing with his emotions, his projections, his fantasies – or with other people who become part of him as he deals with himself. One can be inside his social environment, letting himself be part of the tissue of values, reciprocations, and personal interventions that compose one’s social existence. These are two quite different kinds of being inside, both of them different from being in a box or being in a prison cell, and yet each of them, in a recognizable sense, inside something. Essays on the Condition of Inwardness is concerned with inwardness in two different senses, the first as being in the center of existence, and the second as being a quest for the meaning of the center of one’s existence, that is two different kinds of profoundly ‘within’ states.

“As facets on a gem reveal its hidden beauty, so Dr Ellens’ God’s Radical Grace: Challenging Sermons for Ordinary Time(s) discloses the depth and beauty of the scriptures relating to these months of the Christian year between Pentecost and Advent. His long career prepared him well to author this book. With the approach of a scholar, the patience of a teacher, and the understanding of a pastor, he gives the reader new insights into these familiar scriptures. To read one of his sermons on a glorious summer day is to pray in the words of a favorite hymn, ‘Be Still, my Soul, The Lord is on Thy Side.’ To read one of his sermons on a day of great need, will give the reader reason to be grateful for this book.”

Sacred Space, Beloved City: Iris Murdoch’s London is a celebration of Iris Murdoch’s love for London and establishes her amongst distinguished “London writers” such as William Blake, Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf. Individual chapters focus on the City, London art galleries and museums, the Post Office Tower (now the BT Tower), the statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, Whitehall and the River Thames. Each chapter identifies intricate links between the environment and human consciousness and is accompanied by a corresponding walk that links Murdoch’s plots to landmarks and routes. All essays and walks are illustrated with sketches by Paul Laseau. These drawings not only illustrate locations for identification but also conjure their atmosphere so that readers engage with how Murdoch’s characters experience their surroundings. The final London Glossary is an annotated index of the London place names mentioned in all of Murdoch’s 26 novels.

New review of The Da Vinci Globe by Professor Stefaan Missinne

“From old ships, sailors, waves, and monsters, to the meandering courses of the rivers, the clearly-outlined mountain ranges, the isolated peaks of the volcanoes: a very high quality item, such a perfect one it was suspected that behind it it could not be the work of a cartographer, but it would have been made by an extremely gifted artist.

So it came to pass that in 2012, a Belgian collector, Stefaan Missinne, scholar of the renowned late professor Carlo Pedretti, the most important expert on Leonardo da Vinci’s life and works, suspected that the little precious globe, beyond being the oldest cartographic evidence of Southern America on a globe, it might have been produced by the genius hand of Leonardo himself. The discovery had international resonance, but now, after several years of deep research, it is presented again to a wider public with a full repertoire of documents and proofs.

The analysis of the engraving techniques showed that the maker was left-handed (as Leonardo was); Carbon 14 testing was done to identify its age; the breeding place of the Ostriches from where the eggshells originate was with the highest probability the garden of the Viscounts of Pavia, and a number of details, cross checked and confirmed by several experts on Leonardo’s production and Renaissance cartography scholars, like Professor Leonardo Rombai from the University of Florence, all confirmed professor Missinne’s´ thesis. The research needed an interdisciplinary approach: The Renaissance world was an interdisciplinary one as well!

The author has been crossing data from mathematics, art history, cartography, iconography, physics, cosmology, engraving techniques, graphology, not to mention all the most modern methods he appropriated (from electron microscopy to CTs). This globe is actually the oldest engraved globe and Leonardo could make it thanks to geographical information he obtained first hand from his friend, Amerigo Vespucci. Professor Missinne also spotted a drawing by Leonardo, kept at the British Library, and formerly classified as a representation of the Moon surface: he demonstrated that the drawing is a prepatory one for this globe. Symbols, enigmas and an anagram – not yet solved – are engraved on this wonderful globe.

The whole research is well described in Missinne’s book The Da Vinci Globe, published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing; a book to be read while waiting for the celebrations of Leonardo’s´ five hundred year anniversary in 2019.”


Francesca Grego News Editor, (c) 2018 ARTE.IT Rome

Kindly translated by Dott. Marisa Addomine from the original Italian