Prière à mon Ange

Sheet music cover illustrated by René Magritte: 'Prière à mon ante' by Toussain Masson (1924)
‘Prière à Mon Ange’ by Toussaint Masson, published by Schott Frères (1924, Bruxelles) and illustrated by René Magritte.

René Magritte illustrated this cover in 1924 for a composition by Toussaint Masson, Prière à mon ange (Prayer to my angel). The drawing is simple. A girl is seen kneeling on the rug before her bed. Her hands are folded in prayer. She has a calm face, a devoted attitude. She wears a simple night dress. Apart from the strangely dotted bed curtain, everything looks simple, almost naive. The use of a monotonous brown accentuates the piousness of the subject. Yet it is a compelling image.

The austere graphic above is quite in contrast with the fancy covers that Magritte created for other composers and publishers!

'Marche des Snobs' published by Jos. Buyst (1924, Bruxelles), illustrated by René Magritte.
‘Marche des Snobs’ by Fernand Rousseau, published by Jos. Buyst (1924, Bruxelles), illustrated by René Magritte.
iSheet music llustrated by René Magritte.
‘L’heure du Tango’ by René Demaret and Fred Dolys, published by l’Art Belge (1925, Bruxelles), illustrated by René Magritte.
Partition de musique, illustrée par René Magritte
‘Au Pays des Mosquées’ by Sylvain Hamy and Jacques Loar, published by l’Art Belge (1926, Bruxelles). Illustrated by René Magritte.

We wonder what Magritte would have created for the ‘Prière à mon Ange’ if he had already been in his surrealistic period. And if his publisher Schott Frères would have payed for an additional color and given him carte blanche. Something like this?

3 thoughts on “Prière à mon Ange”

  1. On the piano edition (S.F. 5778) Toussaint Masson dedicates his composition to Mlle. Georgette Hanoulle. She was probably the daughter of his musical colleague Joseph Hanoulle living in Kortrijk-Courtrai (Belgium), who had 17 children. This abundant progeniture indicates a deep Catholic faith. Two children died during WWII. One other child, Paul born in 1925, became a music teacher and even priest in 1952. His youth orchestra ‘Ons Dorado’ performed at the papal mass on Saint Peter’s Square in 1971.
    We don’t know if Toussaint Masson himself was also religious (though his first name ‘Toussaint’ (= all saints) gives the impression of such a background). He was born in Liège (1866) and studied at the Conservatoire in Gand/Gent where he got his first prize for cello in 1886. He was also a teacher at the music school of Oudenaarde. We have one other sheet music of T. Masson in our collection: ‘Peut-être… Encore…?’.

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