29 June, 2011

Beethoven in Vienne

Vienne that is on the Rhone in France not the Vienna on the Danube where you would expect to hear Strauss or Beethoven.  No this Vienne is famous for its jazz festival in July.  The city intellectuals decided that they needed a concert so the week before the big double basses and trumpets come to town they stage a serious music event however this year the big drums, basses, trumpet arrived early along with the full wind section including the piccolo, oboes and of course violins and veolas.  Yes we experienced the full 74 minute of Beethoven 9th symphony.  Now why do I know it is 74 minutes because that is the length of the music on the original CD produced by Sony.  Mr Norio Ohga from Sony who, like many Japanese, enjoy the 9th symphony after the WW11 decided that if he could not listen to his favourite symphony on the new invention then it was not worth inventing and so we have Beethoven works to thank for the capacity of the CD.
This conductor seemed to enjoy the orchestra and especially the full choir (120 voices) that came in at the last movement.  Besides the music it was the setting that made it for us.  It was set in the Roman amphitheatre on the side of Mount Pipet above Vienne overlooking the Rhone.  In its day it seat more than 13,000 spectators but for this concert there were significantly less.
Malua was tied to a floating mooring on the opposite side of the river to the town with its three main churches but I must say the town did not have a good feel.
The seats are unallocated so one had to arrive early so we left Malua and rode our bikes over the main bridge into the city and walked the last few meters into the amphitheatre and secured a great position right in the middle just above stage height and settled down for the evening as the sun set in the west.  The orchestra came in for an opening piece by Tchaikovsky with a solo violin then and break and right into the 9th.  The music was so clear one could hear every note.  It was a great experience.  Note to choir master: take a page out of the WVYC on how to stand in order and how to file in.
From the venue we rode back down the hill to stop off at a Spanish cafĂ© which was playing Spanish flamenco music.  Is this a further indication that we should have visited Spain?  Well to counteract this I received an email from Wolfgang the mast transporter who I had given strict instructions not to move the mast to le Havre until it was clear we would make it, that the mast have arrived at its destination of le Havre and I was to pay the money.  When I contacted him he realised his mistake and offer support for us getting through the canals but promised he would return it to Port Napoleon if we did not make it.  Is that 2 to 1 in favour of not making it?
Tomorrow we are off to Givors for the Sunday market and a quiet afternoon on the Rhone.
I can update you now the market both at Vienne on Saturday and and Givors on Sunday were both great with a good strong Arab influence but the quiet Sunday afternoon was spoilt by ONE jetski and five louts zooming up and down the very piece of waterway we had chosen to moor.  They left at sun set but the afternoon was spoilt.  One only then realizes how much noise these jetskis made on top of the noise of the highway and the local roads.  We will have to get out of town and into the country along the Soame but first there is Lyon the food and wine capital of France…

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