The Prince Pierre Foundation is organising an event with Jérôme Bastianelli, the music critic and renowned Proust specialist, at 3 p.m. on Monday 15 February at the Variety Theatre (Monaco). Invited to talk about one of the author’s most famous enigmas, surrounding the character of Vinteuil, the speaker will attempt to offer a biography of this fictional and obscure musician who continues to arouse so much curiosity. Taking as his starting point the little that Proust tells us – and especially what the author does not share – Jérôme Bastianelli invites his audience to enjoy a delightful critical interpretation of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.
Although Marcel Proust did not even give him a first name, the composer Vinteuil nonetheless occupies an important place in In Search of Lost Time (also translated into English as Remembrance of Things Past). The character enables the author to illustrate two themes close to his heart: through his bold works, Vinteuil demonstrates that the particular role of the artist is to look at the world through fresh eyes; through the contrast between his quiet, well-ordered life and the bewitching charm of his art, he confirms that an artist’s life bears little relation to his genius.
But which musicians did Proust have in mind when he created this character? Drawing on the hints that the author himself left in his correspondence, as well as accounts from those who knew him and recent research on the place of music in his writing, Jérôme Bastianelli will review each of the possible “candidates”, including the most unexpected options.
Each portrait will be illustrated with a short piece of music to help the audience imagine what the famous Vinteuil Sonata might have sounded like.
Jérôme Bastianelli is a senior official who is currently serving as Deputy Executive Director of the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris. A writer and music critic, he edited Proust’s two translations of Ruskin (Bouquins collection, published by Robert Laffont, 2015) and has published a Proust–Ruskin Dictionary (Garnier, 2017). He has also authored biographies of Federico Mompou, Felix Mendelssohn, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Georges Bizet. His book La vraie vie de Vinteuil [The True Story of Vinteuil] was published by Grasset in 2019. He has been Chair of the Société des Amis de Marcel Proust et des Amis de Combray (Society of Friends of Marcel Proust and Friends of Combray) since January 2018.
Monday 22 March: The acoustics of writing by Sylvie Germain
Free entry (places are limited) – Booking advised:
Information: (+377) 98 98 85 15