December 21, 2009

Rue Chabanais No. 6

A fascinating account of a visit to Garcia's Paris studio can be read here. Written by Elise Polko in her memoir Musical tales, phantasms, and sketches (1876), this record of Garcia's studio at Rue Chabanais (located between L'Opera Garnier and the Royal Palace) is the only one I've found so far. Curiously, for all that I can tell (thank you Google Maps), Rue Chabanais only exists with one N. Perhaps Elise Polko's French was not all it aspired to be?

According to Polko, Garcia's third floor studio (he taught at the Paris Conservatory from 1830-1848) was furnished with elegant red curtains, a piano-forte, writing desk, ottoman and looking glass, which Garcia made his students stand in front of so that they could observe what they were doing.

Margaret Harshaw, Garcia's musical descendant, would often say "A mirror is your best friend! It never lies!" However, getting a student to look into one consistently is another matter. It seems to be something Garcia insisted on from the beginning.

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