A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Son coeur est un luth suspendu
Thursday, June 04, 2015




Juliana Soltis


I think that the scariest film I ever saw in 1960 at the Varsity on Congress Avenue in Austin was Roger Corman’s The House of Usher with Vincent Price. Blood oozed from the walls and the screams of Myrna Fahey when she is buried alive unnerved me. For a long time I remembered that the scariest part was when Price was playing on a harpsichord. For years I disliked the instrument for that reason. But I was wrong. Price played a lute. Poe’s novel began with an epigraph by Pierre-Jean de Béranger:

Son coeur est un luth suspendu;

Sitot qu'on le touche il resonne.
– De Beranger

"His/her heart is a poised lute;

as soon as it is touched, it resounds".

These lines are a quote from Le Refus, a song by French songwriter Pierre-Jean de Béranger, a (roughly speaking) contemporary of Poe’s. Beranger’s lyrics actually read "Mon cœur" (my heart), but Poe changed them to read "Son cœur" (his/her heart).


Vincent Price - Photograph Alex Waterhouse-Hayward


My friend Konstantin Bozhinov who plays the lute in Vancouver and hails from Bulgaria a couple of years ago sported long hair. It did not take too much of my imagination to make his homeland Transylvania! He plays it gently so my imagination hast to be on forced drive when I listen to him.

While ordering my photographic files I was going through Julian Soltis’s pictures. She is a baroque cellist who lives in Seattle. I spotted this picture which I took with the now discontinued Kodak Technical Pan. It is very slow and its extended red sensitivity makes skin glow. For effect I turnedthe photograph which is in b+w into a lurid red.

In my imagination Vincent Price on lute and Juliana Soltis on cello would have made a great pair!A very scary pair!



     

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