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Biography | Testimonies



Salmagundi, March 2012

Cioran had his favorites in performance arts, such as Wolfit, or in music, the short-lived Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti, whom he praised for having the "gentillesse" to die young. Yet composers such as Bach, Alessandro Scarlatti, and others occupied a different sphere as constants, beyond the niceties of performance. Cioran much enjoyed the young multi-faceted Romanian pianist / writer / mathematician Andrei Vieru, both as a friend and an artist, (...) which he found especially mesmerizing (...).

Benjamin Ivry

A letter from Cioran to Andreï Vieru

Paris, November 16, 1990

Dear Sir,

Thank you for having spoken to me in the in the language of my god. All the rest sinks into insignificance in comparison with him.

Nearly everything on earth has disappointed me except Him. It is he alone who makes suicide impossible.

Sincerely yours,

A letter from pianist Alan Mandel to Anatol Vieru

May 22, 2004

Dear Anatol Vieru,

I remember with great pleasure seeing you a few years ago, when I gave a concert in Bucharest. As you know I have great admiration for your wonderful compositions.

However, this letter is written because I just listened again to the record that you so kindly gave to me - of the Goldberg variations played by your son.

I am extremely enthusiastic about his fine performance. I hold his performance in the highest possible regard.

I also have recordings by Glenn Gould and Rosalyn Tureck, but I prefer the interpretation by your son. I am astonished that he did it in a concert rather than in a recording studio. The 25th variation in particular is absolutely outstanding.

With all warmest greetings and admiration I am

Sincerely yours,

Alan Mandel

A letter from composer and philosopher Hugues Dufourt to Andreï Vieru

Paris, January 25, 2007

Dear Sir,

Your book is a fine and terrible polyphony of the age, with its intersecting destinies, its towering figures, and also those who are less exalted, more twisted, and who form the backdrop to this inadmissible world. I greatly appreciated the elegance of tone, certain lofty remarks that denote frequentation of the summits. And I find it admirable that it is possible to combine to such an extent a gift for music and an aptitude for mathematics.

You make some cruel remarks about the world of art, which indeed are well deserved, for anyone who has frequented it will recognise an indiscernible mixture of narcissism and abjection.

You also tell us what the East Wind says. It is, as always, somewhat chilly. Your book, this polyphony of memory, evokes your musical performances in the elliptical perfection of its style, and I am glad to discover that the writer's standards are as elevated as those of the interpreter.

Hugues Dufourt

A letter from writer Alberto Manguel to A. V.

January 28, 2007

Dear Sir,

Your book is a delight: your insights into the world of Cioran, your "suites and variations" on his theme, enchanted me with their originality, their intelligence, and their humour. And your articles on music have illuminated many things for me in a realm of which my ignorance never ceases to surprise me.

Albertp Manguel

A letter from writer and translator Jean Pavans to A. V.

January 12, 2007


At one time there was a plan for me to translate a book by Julien Green which he had written directly in English. He entertained me in rue Vaneau, he had the kindly or condescending chic to say something like "I am very proud to be translated by the translator of Henry James", and then he revealed his real thoughts, prudent and cautious, when he asked me: "But tell me, how do you manage to translate so subtle and complex an author?" To which I replied, jokingly but sincerely: "Since I don't know English, I am obliged to translate him in order to read him." Of course, there was no longer any question of my translating Memories of Happy Days. But I still stand by my little joke, indeed more than ever. Ignorance is not incompetence, and it is a vigorous driving force for discovery.

Consider these confessions, dear Andrei, as a vehicle for my best wishes, and as proof of the mimetic implication with which I read you.

Jean Pavans

A letter from philosopher Michel Serres to A. V.

Académie Française, Paris, January 9, 2008

I am inexcusably slow. But if I have taken so long to read you it is because I was savouring what is worth savouring, that is to say all this Gai Ecclésiaste. Bravo.

With admiration
Michel Serres

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