Bruno Monsaingeon, the musician of images

Bruno Monsaingeon, the musician of images


On the front door of Bruno Monsaingeon, in Montrouge (Hauts-de-Seine), a City of Paris street sign with a blue and green enameled pediment reads in white letters: “Promenade Yehudi Menuhin 1916-1999. Violinist, conductor, humanist. UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador . The director’s house is a sanctuary. That of all the great musicians from whom he made his honey of sounds and images. But the most important of these love stories is that lived alongside the great American violinist, naturalized British, who died in 1999 and met in the summer of 1962 during a master class in Darlington, in Devonshire, by the Bruno Monsaingeon was an apprentice violinist at the time.

At 80 years old since December 5, 2023 – his website indicates that he will have the coquetry to die on January 27, refraining from specifying that his dates will thus be those of Mozart reversed – the man with round glasses confides in front of an infusion of star anise: “I sometimes wonder who I loved the most. The death of Glenn Gould did not leave an absence since he had already faded physically during his lifetime. But Yehudi! His presence was a light. I don’t see the shadow of a violinist who could replace him. »

Passion for the violin

For half a century, Bruno Monsaingeon has been filming music and those who play it, a large corpus of around a hundred opuses, mixing portraits, concerts, reports and stories, around figures as incontestable as those of the pianists Glenn Gould and Sviatoslav Richter, violinists Yehudi Menuhin and David Oïstrakh, singers Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and his wife, soprano Julia Varady, conductors Guennadi Rojdestvensky… And, very recently, the Finn Klaus Mäkelä, musical director of the Orchestra from Paris, including a latest documentary, Klaus Mäkelä. Towards the flame , was released in November 2023.

He also follows string quartets (Alban Berg, Artemis, Arod) and great ladies like Nadia Boulanger and Marie-Claire Alain. The director has also just delivered to the public the summary of fifteen years of conversations patiently collected by his philosopher nephew, Guillaume Monsaingeon, in the form of a fascinating Filmer la musique , published by the Philharmonie de Paris. “It forced me to think and formulate things that were not necessarily conscious,” he admits, immediately dismissing the idea of developing any theory whatsoever.

The second of the three sons of André Monsaingeon, professor of medical and digestive surgery at the Paul-Brousse hospital in Villejuif, evokes this piece of Le Coq d’or , by Rimsky-Korsakov, which his mother played on the keyboard and this great- paternal father who sang Wagner and Schumann, while he and his young cousins warped under the piano.

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