- André Gide, ou, L'art de la fugue: musique et littérature ed. by Greta Komur-Thilloy, Pierre Thilloy
Pierre Thilloy's sextet, inspired by Gide's Ainsi soit-il (Op. 159), here accompanies the actes of the colloquium held at the Université de Haute-Alsace in October 2014. Joachim Sistig neatly analyses Gide's varying attitudes to German Romanticism, to Wagner, to Chopin, and to 'rational' French tradition. Pierre Masson writes of Gide's early attraction towards 'la musique […] porteuse d'indicibles rêves […] sa beauté ne peut être que mélancolique, voire mortifère' (p. 37). Peter Schnyder brings to the fore the role of music in ensuring harmonie in Gide's conceptual world, adding that this view necessarily implies its opposite [End Page 622] —dissonance. Robert Kopp takes up a similar point in his analysis of the attitude of the NRF group towards the musical avant-garde. He discerns no general position, except a refusal to be bound by a systematic approach, saying that Gide disliked Darius Milhaud; that Rivière could not stand Manuel de Falla; and that several thought Strauss — and particularly his Salomé — impossible and vulgar. It is, however, worth noting that Gide praised Milhaud's Retour de l'enfant prodigue, and considered him for the music for Antoine et Cléopâtre. Suzanne Lay returns to composing a fugue in words, and compares Gide's novel with Aldous Huxley's Point Counterpoint (1928). 'Fugue' is here understood as 'fugue-miroir' (p. 97): less a structure of repeated and overlapping ideas than a means by which the disjunction between the world and our view of it can be articulated by a fictitious writer. Schnyder earlier suggested that this may be better seen as 'variations' on a theme. In both cases we are, of course, talking not in technical musical terms but in metaphors. Éric Lysøe analyses Milhaud's Alissa and its connection with Gide's récit. Vincenzo Mazza only briefly touches on the soundscape that Pierre Boulez and friends provided for the Gide-Barrault performance of Kafka's Le Procès — telephone, typewriter, and a record played backwards. We are left wondering why Gide, who was so hostile to Cocteau's modernist antics, accepted this cacophony. Maja Vukušic Zorica returns to Chopin and Wagner and to Stravinsky's comments on Persephone. François Bompaire remarks acutely that there is no equivalent of the Vinteuil sonata in Gide's world (the theories of the music teacher La Pérouse in Les Faux-monnayeurs are used by Gide in quite a different way), but he investigates what Gide's early phrase 'écrire en musique' can mean (p. 181). Overall this volume provides some thoughtful and well-documented articles, but it is a pity that the editing has left cross-references incomplete in the Introduction, and has not regularized the presentation of bibliographical details.