La Conjuration Mozart: Un génie, un complot, un mystère

City Editions publishes my novel about Mozart’s sister in French
La Conjuration Mozart de Matt Rees
The cutting edge French publisher City Editions publishes La Conjuration Mozart, the translation of Mozart’s Last Aria, my novel about the death of the great composer and his sister Nannerl’s investigation of how he died. Lire les premières pages.

1791 : Mozart est l’artiste le plus célèbre de Vienne. Maître et virtuose, c’est aussi un franc-maçon qui évolue dans des hautes sphères mêlant politique, art, science, philosophie et intrigues de pouvoir. Soudain, Mozart annonce à sa femme qu’il est certain d’avoir été empoisonné. Il meurt six semaines plus tard.

La ville bruisse alors de rumeurs : le compositeur aurait été infidèle et sur le point d’être ruiné. Mais sa sœur, Nannerl, n’en croit rien. Elle découvre que son frère a laissé une mystérieuse note manuscrite, une énigme cryptée. Mozart semblait redouter de puissants ennemis complotant dans l’ombre des salles de bals et les bureaux feutrés d’hommes politiques prussiens…

Un génie. Un complot. Un mystère.

Le Caravage, génie et assassin

City Editions also publishes the French version of A Name in Blood, my novel about the mysterious end of Caravaggio, the great Italian artist, under the title Un Nom de Sang. Lire les premières pages. Un Nom de Sang de Matt Rees

Italie, 1605. Pour Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio qui n’est encore qu’un jeune artiste, Rome est la ville des ruelles sombres, des combats au couteau et des prostituées. Un monde qui est son quotidien, jusqu’à ce qu’il soit chargé de peindre le portrait du Pape… Caravage gagne alors ses entrées dans le cercle intime de la famille Borghese et devient l’artiste le plus célèbre de Rome. Mais sa personnalité bouillonnante et sa représentation de la Vierge Marie comme une simple paysanne scandalise la haute société. Discrédité, Caravage se bat en duel et tue un gentilhomme. Michelangelo est contraint de s’enfuir à Malte. Mais il est dangereux de naviguer dans les eaux troubles du pouvoir, de l’Inquisition et des manipulations. Et un jour, le Caravage disparaît…

Un roman à énigmes au cœur de la Rome baroque.

    Mozart’s Last Aria: Who killed my brother?

    Who do you think killed Mozart?
    nannerlquestionIn my novel Mozart’s Last Aria, the great composer’s sister Maria Anna travels to Vienna in 1791 to find out who murdered her brother. Many people think the rival composer Salieri did in Wolfgang. That’s been popular since Salieri confessed — except that he was in a madhouse when he owned up and later said he’d been raving. Still it was at the heart of Amadeus and, when I was writing my book, that’s what most of my friends assumed I say. But no. I have a different theory. I think the murder was connected to Mozart’s activities as a Freemason. In Vienna at that time Freemasonry was illegal. There’s also evidence Wolfgang was engaged in espionage, and of course there are signs of something subversive in The Magic Flute… Who do you think killed Mozart?

    Daily Caravaggio: The Flagellation

    The Flagellation of Christ is approached down a long gallery through other smaller galleries at the Capodimonte in Naples. Though you pass by masterpieces by Raphael et al, you have eyes only for this shocking, shadowy work. No artist can make everything else in a gallery seem like rubbish the way Caravaggio can.

    Caravaggio’s depiction of torture reflects his own fear of execution

    For the last four years of his life, Caravaggio was on the run under sentence of death. He became much obsessed with execution. It gave depictions of the deaths of saints and, in particular, of the torment of Christ a deep resonance for him–and for those of us lucky enough to see his paintings. To coincide with the UK paperback publication of my Caravaggio novel A NAME IN BLOOD, I’m posting each of the paintings that appear in the book each day this month along with a snippet from the novel. The Flagellation is in the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte in Naples. Read more

    Daily Caravaggio: Seven Works of Mercy

    Caravaggio’s Naples masterpiece

    Caravaggio painted The Seven Works of Mercy (or Our Lady of Mercy, as it’s actually called) in Naples in 1607. He was on the run with a price on his head. He was, of course, the perfect character for a historical thriller, because he was producing masterpieces while trying to keep a step ahead of the men who wanted him dead. To coincide with the paperback publication of my Caravaggio novel A NAME IN BLOOD, I’m posting each of the paintings that appear in the book each day this month along with a snippet from the novel. The church where the painting is housed is on a very busy street in Naples medieval district. The street noise is very much part of the painting, which shows a crowded Neapolitan scene. I imagined Caravaggio right there: Read more

    My Caravaggio novel in paperback

    My historical thriller A Name in Blood, which is about the great Italian artist Caravaggio, will be out in a small-format UK paperback in two weeks. Pre-order it for a special discount at amazon.co.uk, from Waterstone’s, or from Foyle’s.

    Rees illuminates with sensitivity the hitherto dark portrait of one of the world’s most influential artists. –Daily Mail
    A superb tale of intrigue and wrong doing in Renaissance Italy–It’s a Crime! blog
    Matt Rees inhabits Caravaggio’s mind…bringing to life his conflicted world–The Bookbag

    Read the first chapter.

    On Caravaggio’s trail

    They say, “See Naples and die.” Unfortunately for C, that’s how it worked out, quite literally. Naples is magical, lively, putrid and beautiful. From the Spanish Palace looking at San Francesco, here’s one moment when I thought: Matt, you lucky fellow, isn’t “research” great?

    I went all over Europe and North America, tracking Caravaggio’s works and the places that touched his life for my novel A Name in Blood. But in particular I spent a great deal of time in Rome, Naples and Malta.

    • 467
      On one of my Rome sojourns, an exhibition showed C’s use of mirrors to project images (over which he painted). He used his own head, probably in a convex mirror, to paint his “Medusa,” now in Florence at the Uffizi. The Rome exhibit made a nice mock up. Life size, as you see.
    • vico del divino amore oldest look
      C lived most of his time in Rome in the palaces of wealthy patrons. For a brief period, he rented this house in a tiny street in Rome’s historic center. Then he fell behind on the rent, lost the place, got drunk and went around to break his landlady’s windows.
    • via dei greci 2
      Lena lived on the Via dei Greci. In the heart of what used to be the Ortaccio, or Evil Garden, where only whores and the very poor lived. And artists, of course. Both places are now very expensive spots. But they’re still redolent of C’s time. At night, they’re dark and empty. Though not spooky. I never get spooked in Rome. Too damned happy there.
    • c s angelo fra john critien
      Father John Critien is the only Knight of Malta who currently lives in Castle Sant’Angelo on Valletta’s harbor in Malta. C was imprisoned here, and made a dramatic escape. Father John and I spent a delightful afternoon examining all the spots where C might’ve been held. Many think it was in a hole in the rock called the guva.
    • ceriglio here
      The site of the Ceriglio Tavern, Naples, where C was attacked on his way out. He got a scar, probably to teach him a lesson, and an injury to his eye, which can be seen in his last work. I noticed that for much of the afternoon anyone headed toward C’s digs at the Palazzo Cellamare would be blinded by the sunlight. A good time for an attack.
    • rosario and ugo
      My friend Ugo Somma showed me around Naples. Here he is in conversation with a fellow named Rosario who works for the Knights of Malta in Naples. At first Rosaria wouldn’t let us look around the Knights’ church. But when I told him he looked like Caravaggio, he relented and even introduced me to his sister…But that's another story.
    • priory kgts at gate
      At the Knights’ Priory in Naples, these fellows were hanging around in the courtyard looking like mafia capos waiting to rub someone out. A non-Neapolitan had been named that morning as the new Prior. They were, as the Italians say, “arrabiati.” Mad as hell. Their expressions and demeanor gave me an idea for a plot twist in A NAME IN BLOOD.
    • sky over s francesco
      They say, “See Naples and die.” Unfortunately for C, that’s how it worked out, quite literally. Naples is magical, lively, putrid and beautiful. From the Spanish Palace looking at San Francesco, here’s one moment when I thought: Matt, you lucky fellow, isn’t “research” great?

    Caravaggios in ‘A Name in Blood’

    Some of the Caravaggio paintings featured in my novel A Name in Blood:

    • The-Musicians-1595-96
      Young Caravaggio’s self-portrait is second from the right. 1595, age 23 or 24. Center, a Spanish castrato and pal of C's.
    • Michelangelo_Merisi_da_Caravaggio_-_St_Catherine_of_Alexandria_-_WGA04100
      This painting first made me fall in love with Caravaggio. I was alone with it in the room where it’s housed in a Madrid museum. The saint, who’s about to meet her death, seemed to watch me. I couldn’t leave. It was as though I was abandoning her to her fate.
    • mandm
      Fillide again, with a second woman whose beauty is so much greater for the way Caravaggio disguises her in the shadow. The convex mirror may be a clue to Caravaggio’s use of projected images to help him paint an exact, almost photographic, image.
    • Caravaggio_Paul_V
      The nasty, grasping little eyes of Pope Paul V truly raise the hairs on the back of your neck when you’re before this painting (which is in a private collection). Caravaggio was no flatterer.
    • rest
      Model for the virgin was C's friend Anna Bianchini, a whore who died young of syphilis.
    • CaravaggioNormale
      Much of what happens in A NAME IN BLOOD was dictated by the attraction I felt to the Madonna here — or more specifically to Lena Antognetti, Caravaggio’s model and, I believe, lover.
    • deathofthevirgin
      Artistic and religious convention had the Virgin rising up to heaven with the angels. Caravaggio painted her — his model Lena in this case — as an absolutely dead woman. It looks better to us, for that reason. To contemporaries it was blasphemy.
    • 17 CARAVAGGIO BEHEADING OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIS
      Standing in the cavernous oratory in the Maltese capital Valletta where this masterpiece hangs is like watching a movie unfold before you. It’s a still image, yet Caravaggio captured what went before and what was to come. I believe he changed his technique to make this possible. It’s central to the art story-arc of A NAME IN BLOOD.
    • michelangelo_caravaggio_59_the_flagellation_of_christ
      The Flagellation of Christ is approached down a long gallery through other smaller galleries at the Capodimonte in Naples. Though you pass by masterpieces by Raphael et al, you have eyes only for this shocking, shadowy work. No artist can make everything else in a gallery seem like rubbish the way Caravaggio can.
    • David-With-Head-Of-Goliath-Caravaggio
      The most horrifying and personal of Caravaggio’s biblical images. Probably the last thing he painted, while he was in Naples in 1610, staying with his patroness Costanza Colonna.

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