Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Letter to Yehudi Menuhin, 1934

I do not recall where and when I bought this letter to the famous violist Yehudi Menuhin, but I do not regret it.

Posted in May 1934 from Stockholm, addressed to his attention c/o Harold Holt in London.

Harold Holt Ltd was founded in 1876 by Alfred Schultz Curtius, who was the first impresario to bring Richard Wagner's music to the London public. The company became renowned for its presentations in the latter part of the 19th Century and into the 20th Century, with South African-born Harold Holt taking over in the 1930s. Some legendary presentations at the Royal Albert Hall included the Berliner Philharmoniker, Fürtwangler and ......Menuhin.

Yehudi Menuhin was born in 1916, so in 1934 he was only 18 years old.

Now, we see that the letter was forwarded to Villa "Les Fauvettes", an address in France.

In fact, his family had rented the mansion for some years, till 1935, of the familiy Vian at 33 rue Pradier.  The young Yehudi wrote about the villa "it was a real home, spacious and elegant in its way like a little suburb of Trianon."

Yehudi was already confirmed a soloist and his sister, a talented pianist ... Many gifted visitors stayed in the house in Ville d'Avray.

This is a piece of music from 1934, Yehudi playing  the Paganini Violin concerto no.1, Cadenza

When living in the Villa "Les Fauvettes", the young Yehudi was befriended with the equally young Boris Vian, son of the owner of the Villa, who resided in a small cottage on the grounds of the villa. Boris Vian became famous in his own rights, as witer and jazz musician.

Christian Vancau offers a lot of detail on the Vian family, the Villa and the Menuhin connection on his blog http://www.christianvancautotems.org/categorie-10874585.html

Mr. Vancau, former President of the Yehudi Menuhin Association in Brussels, gracefully allowed me to share some photos with you:  Yehudi and Boris playing chess, the Villa and Yehudi and Boris on the steps of the Villa.

I learned a lot just by finding out more about this cover!

The constraints of his life as an international artist and the rise of Nazism in Germany prompted the Menuhin family to take refuge in the United States. In 1935 they left this wonderful place.

The Villa still exists

And this is the back of the cover, does not give away a lot!  

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