The Cockerel and the Harlequin
Rights sold to: Catalonia (Mediterrania)
In Le coq et l’arlequin, published in 1918, Jean Cocteau develops his ideas on what the art of his time should be, with particular reference to music. The book is in fact subtitled: Notes autour de la musique (Notes on Music).
Very avant-garde and prepared to give everything a try, the artist spent a great deal of time with the Russian Ballet from 1910 onwards, and collaborated with Diaghilev and Nijinsky on Le Dieu bleu. He admired Stravinsky’s work and was outspoken against critics of The Rites of Spring whose opening in 1913 caused a scandal. He also defended Erik Satie whose originality and commitment were powerful influences on him, and with whom he collaborated on the ballet Parade.
With Parade, Satie turned this artistic form of expression into a circus, and it was with this lineage (as opposed to the heritage of Wagner and Debussy) that the musical group “Les Six” was launched by Cocteau and the music critic Henri Collet in 1920.
Jean Cocteau (1889 – 1963) was a prolific and bafflingly versatile artist. As a graphic artist, designer, playwright, filmmaker and writer, and a close friend of many major European creators (from Picasso to Coco Chanel via Marcel Proust), he numbers among those who influenced an era. From amongst his tumultuous personal relationships and his critically acclaimed artistic collaborations, one particularly notable example was the work that brought him together with Raymond Radiguet to write Le Diable au corps.
On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his death, éditions Stock will be republishing several of the artist’s books.
Cocteau, qui a déjà collaboré avec Diaghilev et Nijinsky à la création du ballet Le Dieu bleu, prend parti contre les détracteurs de Stravinsky et défend Erik Satie. Avec Parade, créé en 1917, Satie faisait du cirque un mode d’expression artistique, et c’est dans cette lignée que les Six sont lancés par Cocteau et le critique musical Henri Collet en janvier 1920.
Ces six-là, ce sont Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Arthur Honegger, Georges Auric, Louis Durey et Germaine Tailleferre, soit la fine fleur de la création musicale contemporaine.