Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Firenze: La musica : playful, exquisite and sacred

I've had had the opportunity to enjoy many different types of music during my stay in Florence, from Gregorian Chant to classical piano and street music.

Gregorian chant in San Miniato al Monte
There have been several chances to hear Gregorian chant. The first time was at San Miniato al Monte, where Haruko and I  went to hear a lay choral group of men and women performing for an hour. The next week, I went with another friend to Orsanmichele for another performance, but when I realized it was the same group I'd seen with Haruko, and they were performing the same program, I didn't stay.

Santa Maria del Fiore: The Duomo
To be honest, I was hoping to hear only men singing, so I went to the Duomo one Sunday, where the 10:30 Mass is celebrated in Latin with monks (or priests) providing the Gregorian chant. It was lovely, with the music reverberating in the vast expanse of the Duomo, and the beauty of the cupola above me...a nice way to spend an hour in contemplation.
Brunelleschi's Dome (Cupola), with frescoes painted by Vasari and Zuccari
On another occasion, I went to a piano concert by a famous Italian pianist with my neighbors Anne and Catherine. It was held in a beautiful room in Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, and the acoustics were incredible. We were also sitting near the piano, which gave us an excellent opportunity to enjoy the concert up close.  The concert followed a presentation on a new exhibit at the Palazzo, and afterwards we were treated to champagne and sandwiches. The concert was truly impressive, and surprisingly, it was free.
Gregorio Nardi at Palazzo Medici-Riccardi
The room where the concert was held, la Galleria degli Specchi (Gallery of Mirrors)
There are many talented musicians in Firenze who perform on the streets. I always stop to listen and give them a euro or two for their talent and effort to entertain.

This trio was playing in Piazza Santa Croce
A tourist couple started swing dancing to the music. They were superb dancers, and fun to watch!
The quality of these street musicians is always impressive: many of them seem to be classically trained. In all of my travels, I have rarely heard any mediocre music by the street musicians in Italy. For the most part, the music is arresting because it is of such high quality.

Accordion and opera: I bought an album from this couple when I first saw them in 2006. Very talented!
Playful: A zumba demo in Piazza Signoria. Enough said.
Classical violin on a side street.
It's so lovely to be walking down the streets of Florence and hear the strains of a violin, an accordion, or the beat of a trio playing jazz in a nearby piazza. It adds to the fun of being here, and to the majesty of the beauty that surrounds you everywhere in this city of creativity.

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