Thursday, August 17, 2017

Queen of the French New Wave

When we talk about one of the most enduring cinema movements, we think of the French New Wave. And when we think of the New Wave, we think of its five main directors – Chabrol, Truffaut, Godard, Rivette, and Rohmer – and of course the queen of the French New Wave, Jeanne Moreau, who passed away on July 31, 2017, at the age of 89.

Although she acted only in a handful of films directed by the New Wave Five, it was her film Les Amants by Louise Malle which critics credit with making the the French New Wave possible. Just as her role in Les Amants is a premonition of things to come with regards to the new sensibility about French women of the post-World War II, her performance in the Jules and Jim turned her into the iconic image of the wave.


In 2011, Académie Française introduced a new word into the French language, Attachiante, which refers to a woman one can't live with but also can't live without, as personified by the character Catherine, played by Jeanne Moreau, in François Truffaut's Jules et Jim. She carried the sensibility and essence of the wave beyond, to the roles in movies directed by other contemporary French directors, giving her audience countless memorable performances.


 
We have in our collection at San Francisco Public Library several books DVDs that deal with her life and performance. We recommends some of the following:

Books -

La Moreau : a biography of Jeanne Moreau / Marianne Gray
New York : Donald I. Fine Books
791.4302 M813g 1996

French cinema / by Roy Armes
New York : Oxford University Press, 1985
792.5944 Ar54f

The French cinema book / edited by Michael Temple and Michael Witt
London : BFI Pub.,
2004 791.4309 F887

French cinema since 1950 : personal histories / Emma Wilson
Lanham, Md. : Rowman and Littlefield, c1999
791.4309 W692f

Films –

The bride wore black / directed by Françoise Truffaut
DVD F BRID

La notte / directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
ITALIAN DVD F NOTT

Going places / directed by Bertrand Blier
FRENCH DVD F VALS

Jules et Jim / mise en scène, FrançoisTruffaut
FRENCH DVD F JULE

Les amants / directed by Louis Malle
FRENCH DVD F AMAN

The diary of a chambermaid / directed by Luis Bunuel
FRENCH DVD F JOUR 2001

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Emilia Musto Tojetti (1860-1920)

image source: San Francisco Call (April 6, 1910), 16.

The San Francisco Public Library established a Music Department with opening of the former Main Library building in 1917.  Emilia Musto Tojetti is credited with being a driving force behind the Department's creation.  It was Madame Tojetti (as she was often known) who first raised money to add musical scores to the Library's collection.

With the backing of the California Club, Madame Tojetti and others had  advocated for the addition of a "good musical library as an annex to the Free Library." Around 1902 the trustees of the San Francisco Public Library provided funds Madame Tojetti select $100 worth of printed music for the Library collection (this was equivalent to about $2,600 today).  Afterwards the Library appropriated $100 annually to build upon this.  Unfortunately this initial effort at building a score collection was destroyed in the Earthquake and Fire of 1906.

A September 28, 1912 article in the Pacific Coast Musical Review describes her early role:

It was in 1901 that Mme. Emilia Tojetti, of the California Club, first proposed the addition of music to the San Francisco Public Library. George T. Clark, who was then the librarian and the trustees, took up the matter with enthusiasm. Mme. Tojetti suggest the first purchase, and after that one hundred dollars a year was appropriated and Dr. Lisser was consulted in the selection of music.
Emilia Tojetti was the daughter of Joseph Musto who emigrated to San Francisco from Italy in 1851.  He was the patriarch of the family that founded Joseph Musto Sons-Keenan, a firm that imported the marble that went into many post-1906 government buildings, hotels, theatres, churches and mansions in the Bay Area.

Anne Bloomfield and Arthur Bloomfield note in Gables and Fables that "Joseph and Maria [Musto] had seven children, the first five of whom were girls."  The only one of the five to marry was Emilia who married the artist Eduardo Tojetti (1851-1930).  The match must not have been propitious because the Bloomfields also note that after marriage "she returned to the family roost."

There is a record of the marriage of Eduardo Tojetti to Emilia Musto on August 12, 1875 in the Sacramento Daily Union. She would have been 15 years old.  Also known by the first names of Edward and Edwardo, her husband was a prominent artist of that time, in part owing to fame of his father Domenico Tojetti and elder brother Virgilio Tojetti. Eduardo Tojetti is mentioned in standard art references, but it seems that his best and most representative works were interior murals that were also destroyed in the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.

The Daily Alta California of January 18, 1889 shows Emilia Tojetti filing for divorce "on the grounds of violation of marital obligations." A month later, her divorce was granted on "grounds of adultery." ("Millie's Column" in about article about the Tojetti family in the  Chronicle of March 6, 1963 also mentioned her marriage to Eduardo Tojetti. The 1900 Census lists her as Amelia [sic] Tojetti and widowed).

Nevertheless, Emilia Tojetti had embarked on her concert career already by 1885.  In June of that year she presented lecture performance at her house at 807 Pine Street in a concert series for the Impromptu Club with her husband "Prof. E. Tojetti" among those in attendance.  The Club's March 9, 1886 event at their home was presented to "a very select number of friends [who] listened with delight to the brilliant execution of many talented young amateurs."

Madame Tojetti first achieved an independent listing in the 1889 Langley Directory as Emilia Tojetti, residing a 1236 Hyde Street - the Musto family home of that time.  The San Francisco Chronicle of March 4, 1889 concurrently noted that "Mrs. Emilia Tojetti is now residing at the home of her parents where she will receive her friends."  Soon she was active as a concert and performer and as the Secretary of the San Francisco Girls' Union.


She was later a force in the local branch of the California Federation of Women's Clubs, an organization formed in 1900 and devoted to such causes as child labor laws, conservation of redwood forests, earthquake relief and women's suffrage. She became their Chairman of Music and performed and gave lectures.  A history of the organization applauded a speech she gave at their 1914 convention were she gave "an able-bodied assault on ragtime as 'music'."  She told members of the club that they must work to "abolish this pernicious rhythm and melody which is having such a demoralizing effect not only upon children but upon the musicality and ethos of the entire nation."

On December 9, 1915 she joined a group of panelists as a representative of the Pacific Musical Society at a luncheon sponsored by the Recreation League of San Francisco on the topic "Music: Its Place In The Community Life."  She also became a patron of the League's San Francisco People's Orchestra, an organization that aimed to present "the best music at the lowest price" for the working people of the City.

Portrait of Emilia Tojetti from the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection


In addition to her work for music and social uplift, Emilia Tojetti was a member of the Vittoria Colonna Club, an Italian-American women's organization in San Francisco, and the Laurel Hall Club.  Both of these organizations offered musical tributes to her after her passing on December 21, 1920.  Her obituary described her as a graduate of San Francisco's Girls High School who learned her musical skills in the City.  She was praised "both as a concert singer and a promoter of good music."

Her will, found in Ancestry.com, directly bequeaths a sum of $500 (the equivalent of more than $6,000 today).

To the Public Library I give five hundred dollars to be used for music for the Music library.
Signed
Emilia Musto Tojetti

Emilia Tojetti's advocacy for a music collection in the San Francisco Public Library was a part of her wider belief in the power of music, specifically European art music, to be a force for the betterment of society.  If ordinary San Franciscans were given the benefit of studying the finest music of the world they would lose interest in the frivolous and harmful musical life then prevalent in the City's bars, theatres and dance halls.  Madame Tojetti would probably be scandalized to learn that today a search for the subject heading Ragtime Music brings up more than 200 results in the San Francisco Public Library catalog. But we are grateful that her vision helped establish an innovation in library service that could serve the musical needs of all.


Bibliography

Anthony, Walter, "La Boheme Will Start Repertoire," San Francisco Call (September 22, 1912), 29.

Anthony, Walter, "La Scala Artists Will Give Brief Season at Cort," San Francisco Chronicle (April 16, 1916), 24.

Anthony, Walter, "Music's Place in Community Life," San Francisco Chronicle (December 5, 1915), 24.

Beals, Elena, "San Francisco's Musical Life Thrives In Spite of the War," Musical America (October 19, 1918), 150-1.

"California Club in Throes of Triangular Fight for President," San Francisco Call (April 6, 1910), 16.

"Divorce Proceedings," Daily Alta California (February 22, 1889), 4.

"The Divorce Record," Daily Alta California (January 18, 1889), 4.

Bloomfield, Anne and Arthur, Gables and Fables: A Portrait of San Francisco's Pacific Heights (Heyday Books, 2007).

Falk, Peter Hastings, Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America / Audrey Lewis, head of research (Sound View Press, 1999).

Gibbs, Jason, "'The Best Music at the Lowest Price': People's Music in San Francisco," MLA Northern California Chapter Newsletter Vol. 17, no. 1 (Fall 2002).

"Girls' Union: Annual Meeting Yesterday at the Home," San Francisco Chronicle (September 17, 1891), 7

Hughes, Edan Milton, Artists in California, 1786-1940 (Crocker Art Museum, 2002).

"The Impromptu Club," Daily Alta California (June 15, 1885), 7.

"The Impromptu Club," San Francisco Chronicle (March 9, 1886), 6.

Langley's San Francisco directory for the year commencing 1889 (Francis, Valentine & Co., 1880- ).

"Married," Sacramento Daily Union (August 17, 1875), 2.

"Miscellaneous," San Francisco Chronicle (March 4, 1889), 4.

"Mme. Tojetti, Art Patron and Singer Dies in Her Home," San Francisco Chronicle (December 22, 1920), 9.

Murray, Elizabeth, "California Women's Clubs," Sunset vol. 10, no. 4 (February 1903), 343-350.

"The Music Division in the Public Library," Argonaut (September 28, 1912), 207.

"Music in a Library," San Francisco Call (August 2, 1895), 14.

"Music in Public Library," Pacific Coast Musical Review vol. 22, no. 26 (September 28, 1912), 4.

A Record of Twenty-Five Years of the California Federation of Women's Clubs, 1900-1925, Volume 1, Handbook for Clubwomen, compiled by Mary S. Gibson (California Federation of Women's Clubs,|c1927).

Robbins, Millie, "The Boys Followed in Papa's Footsteps," San Francisco Chronicle (March 6, 1963), 20.

Robbins, Millie, "Building with Musto Gusto," San Francisco Chronicle (July 30, 1967), 19.

"Want a Music Library," San Francisco Chronicle (December 13, 1902), 14.