Quattro clavicembali e archi, Firenze

My mother and I took a nap after lunch so that we’d be ready for the evening concert. Afterwards I stopped by my landlady’s home for a chat. She wasn’t there but her son welcomed me in. “May I play your piano?” I asked. 

I got carried away sightreading Mozart and Chopin. We had twenty minutes to walk to the conservatory, a building which backed against the famous Galleria dell’Accademia. It should be fairly easy to get there from our palazzo apartment — through the Duomo Square going northwest.

For some unknown reason, I couldn’t find it. We walked. We stopped. I consulted the map. It was dark. My mom flagged down a passerby to enquire how to get to the Academy. 

“Galleria dell’Accademia?”


“Michelangelo David?”


I was panicking by the 9th ring of the church bell. It was 9 pm. We were nowhere near the state conservatory. I hate to be late. I was so set on getting to the concert on time that I had temporarily forgotten that we were on holiday.

Was it necessary to rush, panic and drag my mother to a concert that wasn’t advertised for tourists? That I had to check and double-check for the location and time? We had already seen one concert earlier in the day. Besides, it was Halloween. Everyone else was costumed up to party.

Recalling high school geometry, I steered us parallel and perpendicular to a familiar street. Through the glass doors, I saw well-dressed locals walking into the concert hall. We had arrived. I sprinted to the door and heard the musicians tuning in the background. We could still make it.

The ushers looked past me with concerned faces.

“Are you all right?”

Who were they talking to? I turned around.

To my horror, my mother was crouched on the ground. She had fallen.

She smiled apologetically as someone pulled her up. 

“Are you okay, mom? What happened?” 

She had missed a step just before the glass door. When I looked at her, I suddenly realised that she wasn’t 17 but 70. I wasn’t 21, but I behaved like a 12 year old totally disregarding my mother who tried to keep up my fast pace.

The concierge asked if she would like some water and led us upstairs. People were still arriving at 9:10 pm.

We peered into the hall. The view was even better than downstairs. Quickly we walked to the first row where, as if it was intended the entire time, two seats were freed up for us. 

What a view it was! But neither of us had brought our cameras. 

Four harpsichords sat side by side. [Two grand pianos sat idle against the walls.]

A programme of Bach with string quintet. A transcription of Vivaldi. BMV 1065. MBV 1063. My favourite BMV 1060.

A memorial concert for a teacher who had passed away a few years ago. The concert was also dedicated to a harpsichord teacher who was retiring after 40 years. She played on her own harpsichord for the final piece: Brandenburg Concerto number 5 with violin, traverso, violin, viola, cello, and double bass.

As I type this, I’m multi-tasking to make sure we get to tonight’s free concert on time. A countertenor, flautist and organist will perform at San Maria de’Ricci at via Del Corso at 21:15.

Title translation: Four harpsichords and string quintet


1 Comment

Filed under concert, travel, venues

One response to “Quattro clavicembali e archi, Firenze

  1. Robert

    Concerts in Italy tend to start late. Take good care of Lucy. Plse

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