Thursday, October 29, 2015

Gabriel Banat: I am deeply saddened at the news of the death of Dominique-René de Lerma

Dominique-René S. de Lerma
(From Antonio Green)

 The Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Virtuoso of The Sword And The Bow
Gabriel Banat

Gabriel Banat writes:

I am deeply saddened at the news of the death of Dominique-René de Lerma, Dom, to us his friends and admirers.  Here is an excerpt from my memoirs concerning the beginning of our meeting of minds about the Chevalier de Saint-Georges.

"My monograph about Joseph Bologne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, published in 1990 by Black Music Research Journal, still contained a number of errors.  So I was particularly pleased when Professor Dominique-René de Lerma,  author of the historical introduction to volume III of my “Masters of the Violin,” devoted to the works of Saint-Georges, in a footnote to his article, Black Composers in Europe, wrote: “The year of Saint-Georges’ birth, as corrected by Gabriel Banat in this issue, [of BMRJ] is hereby acknowledged.“

I am still and will always be grateful for that noble gesture, all too rare among academics, to publicly credit even an amateur musicologist like myself, for correcting an error. 

Some years later, referring to my biography of the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Dom wrote:

There exists no end of shameless fiction and manufacture [about St. Georges]. I once fell for one of these.  The only source I can recommend is the recent and very scholarly work by Gabriel Banat, which I plan to nominate for an award from the Music Librarian’s Association.  It is one thing to have been fooled into thinking that fiction is truth, as I have been, but it is musicologically criminal not to repent, with apology.

This was the beginning of a correspondence nurtured by our shared struggle for the truth.  

I shall miss his cheerful spirit and occasionally biting wit immensely.

Gabriel Banat

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