July 29, 2012

20,000 Vinyl LPs 5: Marat/Sade

 photographer of cover photo unknown
    photo of album cover by Styrous®

I started the Vinyl LP series because I have over 20,000 albums I am selling; each blog entry of the series is about an album from my collection. Inquire for more info.

In the late sixties I found the album, "The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the direction of the Marquis de Sade". That's quite a title!

Of course, the title piqued my interest. I read that it was the soundtrack of the film of the play, written by Peter Weiss, and featured music by Richard Peaslee, the cast of the original Royal Shakespeare Company and a very young Glenda Jackson early in her career.

(click on images to see larger size)
 Glenda Jackson album credit.
photographer of back cover photos unknown
photo of album cover back detail by Styrous®

Movie still with Glenda Jackson

Movie still with Glenda Jackson
photograph: Rex Features
from the Guardian UK review by David Edgar

Movie still with Glenda Jackson

When I got home and played it for the first time, I was astounded. It is a play with music (not a musical) but a kind of music I'd heard only twice before, The Three Penny Opera coming close and The Coach with the Six Insides more like Marat (both will be covered in a future article). The music was so incredible I recorded it on tape so I could play it over and over and not wear out the record (my SOP for any music I loved, thus the lack of wear of my records; I know, retentive). A short synopsis of the plot provides the source of my astonishment.

On July 13, 1793 Jean-Paul Marat was stabbed in his bathtub by French counter-revolutionary, Charlotte Corday. The plot of the play reenacts this incident in a play being presented (a play within a play) in the Charenton Asylum for the insane. The director/writer (in the play) is none other than the Marquis de Sade. The performers are the inmates.

Any questions?

photographer of back cover photos unknown
photo of album cover detail by Styrous®

The play is an indictment of society's view of the human condition in Post-Revolutionary France, the strife between those who have and those who don't, the rich and the poor. The aristocracy represented one segment of society, the clergy a second, with the poor making up the third or 97 percent of the population (sound familiar?). It conveys the souring of the ideals of the French Revolution, and the ensuing disillusionment and despair that followed. It expresses the futility of the revolution as the people rebelling find they are back where they started, suppressed and victimized by the very people they charged to protect them. "We have routed out the old tyrants, now we have new tyrants." It is an appeal for justice for all.

Recorded in 1967, there is real irony here. The play takes place in 1808 post-Revolutionary France with it's social turmoil; the play was produced amidst the turmoil of the sixties; and today, in 2012, once again in a state of turmoil, we discover nothing has changed since 1964 except the diminishing of the middle class and the expansion of the poor one. This may account for the revival of interest in it recently.

The key song is repeated in various tempos and feelings, from defiant, to statement of fact, to sad and wistful with the following lyrics:

Marat we're poor and the poor stay poor
Marat don't make us wait any more

We want our rights and we don't care how
We want our revolution NOW!

Some things never change. 

On her album, "In My Life", Judy Collins did a cover of the song, "Marat Sade" (which can be heard on YouTube). Images from the Occupy movement protests are used for this video.

Sections of the play with Glenda Jackson can be seen on YouTube.

I have always longed to see the play and after nearly fifty years of waiting, I was grandly rewarded. How is the subject of a new blog entry (Marat/Sade).


Trivia links:

There is a photo of the cover of Esquire Magazine, September, 1967, with an article about the play on the photo site of Gloucester, A Bottled Spider.

I checked yesterday and found quite a few promotional stills from the movie production up for auction on eBay.

The article continues HERE

The entire collection is for sale. Interested? Contact Styrous®

Styrous® ~  July 29, 2012


No comments:

Post a Comment

PLEASE NOTE: comments are moderated BEFORE they are posted so DO NOT appear immediately.

Thank you.