Various concierto barroco

» See also 6 mentions ▾ Member reviews English (3)   Spanish (2)   All (5) date ▼ | votes Showing 3 of 3 A fun little novel from quite late in Carpentier's career, in which he illustrates his idea of the baroque as the definitive American style. The plot doesn't make much sense, as you would expect from a truly baroque work: a wealthy Mexican gentleman travels to Venice in the early 18th century accompanied by his black Cuban servant, they bump into Vivaldi during a carnival party and give him the idea of writing an opera about Montezuma, there's a jam session in the Ospedale della Pieta with Scarlatti and Händel on keyboards, Vivaldi on strings and the Cuban playing percussion, and this is followed by a picnic breakfast on Stravinsky's grave (we also get a glimpse of Wagner's funeral procession, a touching farewell at the railway station and a Louis Armstrong concert!).

In between, we learn that the plot of the opera Vivaldi writes, Motezuma (*) (apparently they couldn't decide between 'n' and 'c', and ended up with neither), is almost equally strange, featuring various love affairs between Mexicans and Conquistadors and a happy ending in which Cortes and Montezuma celebrate the friendship of their two peoples! The Cuban is disgusted by this distortion of history, but everyone tells him that the necessities of art take precedence.

It's all very fast-moving and entertaining, without any long philosophical asides, but there are also plenty of wonderfully baroque descriptions in which detail after detail is piled on to the point of absurdity (a gloriously decorated silver chamber pot plays an important role in several of these...). Not all that much to do with the Caribbean except in a very indirect sense, but definitely an enjoyable book.

(*)There really is such an opera, incidentally: first performed in 1733 it's thought to be the first ever written on an American theme. At the time Carpentier was writing only the libretto was known to exist, but the music has since been rediscovered in Kiev and became the subject of a complicated copyright dispute that would certainly have been grist to Carpentier's mill, had he known about it. (There is a recording now, you can listen to it on Spotify if you're curious...) ( ) 1 thorold | Jan 2, 2016 | Concierto Barroco, first published in 1974, is a great little book by the late cuban writer Alejo Carpentier, one of the fathers and leading exponents of magical realism. Its writting was inspired by the the libreto of Vivaldi's opera Montezuma (whose score, thought to be lost, was rediscovered in 2001 among the archives of the Berlin Sing-Akademie, returning to Berlin from Kiev, where they had been taken after World War II.) It is a fantastic story of the journey into the Old World, in the first half of the 18th century, of a wealthy Mexican nobleman of spanish ancestry and his servant Filomeno. Displeased with the stay in Madrid, they head to Venice where, arriving at the Carnival holidays, they mingle with the crowd, the master dressed as Montezuma, and meet Vivaldi and Haendel, with whom he picnics in a cemitery in an outlying venetian island, discuss opera, inspire Vivaldi to write the opera Montezuma, stumble upon the grave of Igor Stravinsky (!) and, on the way back to the city, they cross Wagner's funereal procession... This, after an incredible jam session between Vivaldi, Haendel, and Domenico Scarllati, appearences by Louis Armstrong, references to Wagons-lits, railway stations, and the Eiffel tower, results in an amazing piece of literature that is utterly funny to read. ( ) 1 FPdC | May 24, 2010 | http:///archives/2007/12/14/Divina_sorpresa/   tomdaedalus | Sep 20, 2008 | date ▼ | votes Showing 3 of 3 ▾ Published reviews no reviews | add a review ▾ Other authors » Add other authors (11 possible)

Various Concierto BarrocoVarious Concierto BarrocoVarious Concierto BarrocoVarious Concierto Barroco