Free concerts in Florence, Italy

The evening concert was not advertised at the Tourist Office or  “The Florentine,” the fortnightly English paper that contains interesting intellectual articles and an events listing. [Why doesn’t such a paper exist in the Netherlands?] Nor was it mentioned at 11 am concert in the National Library, that same morning. 

Luckily I had found it on the website of the Luigi Cherubini Conservatory which specified the programme and the date but not the time of performance. I had stopped by the conservatory the previous day to enquire about the time.

Both concerts of musicians from the conservatory were free to the public. But my mother and I were perhaps two of the few (or only) tourists in the audience.

At five minutes before eleven, we stepped into an empty hall in the National Library. Two others were waiting outside (perhaps not daring to be the first to sit down). My concern about poor attendance soon vanished when the locals steadily filled the hall by the time the concert began — at 11:15.

Already I suspected that the Petrof boudoir grand  would be too soft for the violin. Why didn’t they open the lid completely rather than just barely? Sala Galileo was a circular dome with high ceilings and marbled floor. The piano looked inadequately small for the space. Sure enough, the violin overpowered the piano.

In spite of the acoustic imbalance, the two young men executed their playing beautifully. My mom enjoyed the music immensely and remarked that the programme of Kreisler and Dvorak was well-chosen. [In other words, our piano guitar duo should reconsider our choice of repertoire. Why don’t we play music from the Romantic era? Why can’t the guitar break my heart the way Kreisler’s Liebesleid can?]

After the concert, we stepped out into the warm Tuscan sun and photographed that enchanting view from the Arno River. In 1966, it had overflowed and devastated the city to such an extent that the Florentines refer to the 20th century as the time before the flood or after. I could scarcely imagine such a calm (and motionless) river with the rare canoe would sweep away Ponte Vecchio or rise 5 metres.

We decided to take a nap to be awake for the evening concert.


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