Friday, June 10, 2016
My love of string instruments began in 4th grade. I had the opportunity to take violin lessons at school with Mr. Kantack and persuaded my parents to buy me a used violin. I was so excited! I sat in my chair with my music stand in front of me-- sheet music staring me in the face... I had no idea how to read it! Mr. Kantack wasn't very patient and so I made the decision to play the music by ear. It was easy for me and everything was going well until the day came that I didn't turn the song page at the right time and I was caught! There was no flexibility or kindness on the part of Mr. Kantack, so I quietly put my instrument away and never went back to class. Fortunately my love of the violin never left me.
This week in Paris, I learned that spring concerts were starting at the Sainte-Chapelle. This intimate chapel is located inside the Palais de Justice and was built by King Louis IX. It was finished on April 26, 1248 and since April 26th is my birthday, I decided this was my sign to attend a concert there! I chose the Vivaldi, Mozart, and Haydn concerts for violin, cello and bass. To say that this 1 hour music concert was wonderful, is an understatement. It was more a transportive experience-- The beauty of the gothic-style chapel, the expertise of the musicians (from the National Superior Conservatory of Music) and the charm of the notes written by their composers, easily took me someplace far away from which I didn't want to return... There is something about the sound that comes off the strings that penetrates the heart more deeply than most instruments. As the 18th century French writer Edmond de Goncourt once said: “A poet is a man who puts up a ladder to a star and climbs it while playing a violin.”
I watched the violin players mostly-- especially, the young woman in her pencil skirt and classic Louboutin black heels-- the red soles showing with each twist. As she stood and played, I realized that the posture required to hold a violin is quite beautiful in and of itself. Everything about this evening made me feel so alive! I highly recommend the concerts at Sainte-Chapelle for your next visit to this City of light, poetry, music and romance!
La Sainte-Chapelle: 8, Boulevard du Palais:
Have a glass of champagne at the Brasserie des Deux Palais (3, Boulevard du Palais) across the street before or after the performance