Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fête de la musique

One weekend each year, Paris throws a party for music of all kinds called La fête de la musique. In many squares of the city you can find any kind of music you want, from reggae, to pop, to classical. On Friday, the lab in which I work hosted its own music party, with people of the lab playing their own music. There was a Russian balailaika group, some acappella, some "jazz," and even Carla played some duets with another flutist.

On Sunday we spent the entire day walking around Paris, from our flat in the Batignolles to l'Opera, to Les Halles, Centre Pompidou, and finally to the Louvre. Along the way we found many interesting things. We stepped into the cathedral St. Trinite, when one of my favorite composers of all time --- Olivier Messiaen --- was the organiste titulaire from 1931 to 1992 (except for the time when he was a prisioner of war captured by the Germans in World War 2). There was no music there, but we did find this handsome commemorative plaque.

Then we walked to the Centre Pompidou, where there is a large public place and sure to be music of all kinds. And there we were greeted by nearly 100 police in riot gear, and a police helicopter hovering above. We were very confused, until we saw that earlier in the day there was indeed a riot which started when an Anarchist demonstration got out of hand. A local business was showing video footage taken during the melee, and we could clearly see kids wearing masks taking the chairs from cafe patios and throwing them at the police, who were responding with tear gas and the like.

So we moved on to the Louvre, where we had a picnic with some friends while waiting for the free orchestra concert --- which took place directly underneath the large pyramid. You can see us near the beginning of the line, sitting down on a nice blanket with beer and cheese and salad and dried fruits. Most everyone else was standing and jealous that we had such foresight. It was a three hour wait, but once the concert started it was well worth it.

Here is a short video of Pierre Boulez, one of the most influential figures in 20th century music, conducting some Igor Stravinskeefing. Because we were some of the first people in line, we had an excellent position to watch the master. Boulez is still conducting and extraordinarily active even at 84 years of age! We think it is the cheese and bread and wine.

1 comment:

  1. that is so AWESOME! thanks for posting the video :^)