© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

"The greatest novel of the first half of our century"
—Vladimir Nabokov

In November 2013, the world celebrates the centenary of the publication of Du côté de chez Swann (Swann's Way), the first of seven volumes that constitute Marcel Proust's masterwork À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time). Since its original publication in France, this vast novel has never been out of print, and it continues to delight readers in more than thirty languages throughout the world. More on the worldwide celebrations.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, with a superb collection of visual art from Proust's lifetime, is inviting longtime fans as well as those new to Proust to spend the day immersed in his world. New England Conservatory's special contribution to this feast will allow you to experience how music is not just an important element of Proust's story, but also, with its ability to transport the audience temporally into the various access points of memory, a model for the unique narrative and dramaturgy which he develops in his oeuvre.

Seen on this page: Music Lesson (1870, oil on canvas) by Edouard Manet, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Anonymous Centennial gift in memory of Charles Deering. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Search for Vinteuil

Vinteuil is the fictitious composer to whom Proust refers throughout À la recherche du temps perdu. But we know that it was in fact the amalgam of several composers who deeply influenced and affected the writer.

This special presentation throws light on some of these inspired influences through the music of Claude Debussy, César Franck, Reynaldo Hahn, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Richard Wagner, interspersed with readings from Proust's own works.

Curated by Katarina Markovic of NEC's music history faculty, the event is narrated by NEC President Tony Woodcock and Virginia Woodcock, with opera studies chair Joshua Major as stage director, and performances by some of NEC’s finest young musicians.

Saint-Saëns first movement and excerpts from final movement of
Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Minor
Franck first and second movements from Violin Sonata
Robyn Bollinger, violin
Dina Vainshtein, piano

Franck first and second movements from Piano Quintet
Eva Aronian, Haruno Sato, violin
Sukykung Hong, viola
Paul van der Sloot, cello
Yannick Rafalimanana, piano

Wagner (transcribed by Liszt) Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde
Cristian Budu, piano

Debussy first movement from Cello Sonata
Jane Taubl, cello
Maria Jung, piano

Hahn "Si mes vers avaient des ailes" and "À Chloris"
Jaime Korkos '11 G.D., '13 A.D., mezzo-soprano
Yannick Rafalimanana, piano

Composer Jorge Arriagad attempted to realise Vinteuil's violin sonata for this scene in Raoul Ruiz's 1999 film Le Temps retrouvé (Time Regained), which takes its title from the final book of À la recherche du temps perdu, but dips liberally into the entire novel. This scene replicates the kind of private salon gathering at which Vinteuil's music would have been performed in the world of Proust's novel.

Come back to the MFA throughout the year to enjoy superb performances by NEC musicians while surround by art.

Date: November 10, 2013 - 3:00:PM
Price: $22, $18 for MFA members, students, seniors.
Location: Remis Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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I DON'T CARE MUCH ABOUT MUSIC. WHAT I LIKE IS SOUNDS. DIZZY GILLESPIE