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Olivier Messiaen, Le Merle noir, Alexis Del Palazzo’s Junior Flute Recital
Many unexpected events occurred around my mother Irène Némirovsky; some were wonderful, but a very curious one was the myﬆerious bond that grew up between you, Dado, my mother, and myself.
Coming across your work – something bound to move and make an impression on me – is one of those enigmatic and timeless relationships. Underﬆanding one another without ever meeting, juﬆ down the telephone wire…
Your Birds surround me, they frame my mother’s face. They are so beautiful and, especially, so eloquent, about your paﬆ, about a life so hard that it makes my heart leap.
We both know Pain, but we dominate it, me with a living Memory, you through these Birds that will always go with me.
Thank you for having at once an eye and a heart. Irène would certainly have loved to have met you. Never ﬆop making the Birds speak, in this gray world where we need both them and you.
You will be with me, with my mother, with her books, with all those who will come to admire these “Birds of Irène”.
Translated from French by D. Radzinowicz
I am meeting you this evening, Denise, for the ﬁrﬆ time. We had already got to know one another laﬆ winter, on the ’phone. Hearing the benevolence that coloured your voice had a calming eﬀect on me. As since then, you have remained much in my mind, I wanted this evening to present you a few lines by way of a humble gift.
Not long before, revising a handwritten piece of mine devoted to the in situ work of the contemporary painter, Dado, I was diﬆurbed by the revelation of certain material in the genesis of several of the artiﬆ’s works.
It turned out that, in the course of various interventions in the manor-house at Bez-de-Naussac, Dado’s artiﬆic expression was entirely governed by one particular Remanence – that of a woman, “Maria L.”, the previous owner of that house in the Aveyron.
Indeed, the artiﬆ’s resuscitation of the site could surely never have come to pass without the presence of what are, for some, tangible memories – though, for others, they muﬆ remain less palpable.
In consideration of what I have juﬆ rapidly sketched out to you, I could not prevent myself thinking, Denise, that there might be some kind of modeﬆ sorority between Maria L. and your mother, Irène Némirovsky, seeing how Dado deployed the respective remembrances of these two “Shining Absentees.”.
I have no hesitation in acknowledging the fundamental role you quite naturally play with regard to Dado’s works as they concern the memory of your mother.
Your eﬀorts, Denise, in deciphering and revising the text that was to be Irène N.’s ﬁnal oﬀering, Suite française, were indeed prodigious.
The birth it initiated was paradoxical in the sense that, through it, it was your own mother that you were partially reﬆoring to life.
Dado had initially been won over by the words Irène lavishes in that at once sinewy and inventive language of hers. Then came the discovery of the portrait of your mother. Etched with a persiﬆent melancholy, her eyes already speak of “Intelligence in Peril.” My opinion is that it was for these twin pupils that Dado later decided to become the wily tamer of the Birds of Irène.
These swallows, these titmice, owls, and woodpeckers, all spawned by his imagination, and wrenched – at once amusingly and shockingly – from their prior exiﬆence by the artiﬆ, form but humble oﬀerings to your mother, to that “Absentee” who remains so present to us all, this evening. These “Birds” – singular winged creatures – also represent the fragile allegory of a yearned-for freedom, materialized by Flight.
I might even whisper in your ear, Denise – as one might share a secret scarcely worth the keeping – that the serenity that characterises Dado’s creative achievements surely conﬆitutes the ﬁneﬆ tribute this Perennial Unquiet could aﬀord your mamma – your “Maika”, as they write in the Balkans that live on in Dado.
Translated from French by D. Radzinowicz