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Observations placeholder

Daniélou, Alain – The Way to the Labyrinth – Max d'Ollone and his wife



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Max d'Ollone (1875-1959) : "Lamento" for orchestra (1908)


Daniélou, Alain – The Way to the Labyrinth [translated by Marie-Claire Cournand]

Max d'Ollone was a professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire and highly respected and appreciated by his pupils. He had seen me dance, admired my very personal style, and wanted to meet me; later, he took an interest in my singing. Between this sensitive old man and the artistic young maverick I was in those days, a strong, deep bond of friendship soon developed. …

… During his stay at the Villa Medici, he had a romantic affair which caused his family a great deal of anxiety, so he was promptly married off to a young lady of his milieu. In spite of this inauspicious beginning, the couple grew very close. At the time I knew them, they had several children in their twenties.

The family soon adopted me and Raymond into their midst and used to call us "the flowers."

Max and I played a lot of music together; he would accompany me on the piano while I sang.  He was an excellent pianist but refused to perform in public. It was impossible, he said, to play music as one felt it without being massacred by the critics. He hated the cold, technical perfectionism that was fashionable at the time: music for him was not a series of acrobatic arabesques, but a way to reach the furthest regions of the soul. He .. loved Italian opera, especially bad productions sung by flamboyant over-passionate singers on small Italian stages. Max liked to say that when music was executed too well, it became just that-an execution. Through him I came to know the works of Bellini, whom he considered one of the greatest of all composers.

….As a result of a dream, Raymond nicknamed him "Lyvet" and his wife "Heresie."

Heresie was a bit of a magician. She had curious intuitions, lived in an almost psychedelic world, and believed in supernatural powers. Max had never been unfaithful to her ….. One summer afternoon, while the aging Max was lying alone in his dreary bourgeois apartment on the Rue de Grenelle, the gods took pity on him and sent him an angel.

As he trembled with emotion and wonder, trying to make up his mind whether to pay homage to this celestial being, the doorbell suddenly rang. It was a telegram:

Heresie was dead!

The source of the experience

Daniélou, Alain

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