Sometimes it is easy to forget that buildings and places have character. Buntrock has a radically different character or feel than Mellby or Thorson. In my research, it has become clear that the character of a place can influence or be influenced by what happens inside. Le Théàtre du Vieux-Colombier (the Theatre of the Old Dovecot) is one of those places which is created with a distinct character in mind. Founded in 1913 by Jacques Coupeau, the theatre was to be a place for “poetic drama of artistic worth.”1 A few years later, Les Six had their first concert there. Works of Honegger, Satie, and Milhaud found performances there, often because of their promotion by Jane Bathori. 2 After the First World War, le Vieux-Colombier became a place that proved that the war had not in fact caused irreparable harm to French culture.3 It has been really exciting in my research to see how many musical giants of 1920s Paris were connected by this theatre. Although I have never been to the Vieux-Colombier, I feel like I’m getting to know the character of it. It was a place where thinking about the true nature of art was valued, and where new art could be performed in an inviting environment. I believe this is why Les Six began making music together there. We don’t often think about how a venue can influence the reception of music, but my research has made it clear that the spaces we create music in have a profound impact on what one can take from music.
1 “Jacques Copeau.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (June 2015): 1. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost(accessed October 26, 2015).
2 Kelly, Barbara L. “Musical Allegiances and Factions: Ravel, Satie, and the Question of Leadership.” In Music and Ultra-modernism in France: A Fragile Consensus, 1913-1939. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell and Brewer, 2013.
3 . “Bathori, Jane.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed October 26, 2015,http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/02307.