Monday, December 27, 2010

Last Evening a concert at Basilica dei Frari

The concert today, singing christmas songs, did not inspire me to go by the fact that it was a concert, I saw this as an opportunity to get into the church free and take pictures.  Most churches don't allow photography, but during concerts the rule is left on the floor, so to speak.  Also, I gave myself some time to get there so that I could meander my way and maybe see something interesting.

It has been raining for days, and along with intrusions of acqua alta, it has been a non aesthetic week, despite the attempts of the christmas holiday to overcome the weather.  Today the rain has stopped but still overcast,  the afternoon light was soft and that made it seem alive.  As I crossed il ponte dei Rialto, I saw a sandolo da barcariol slip into the Grand Canale from one of those tertiary canals which are about wide enough for 2 gondolas to pass, easing its passengers across the way.  The water is high, you can see the access fondamenta flooded, which gives the illusion of a wider canal.  

As I walked around the building toward the mercato, I see a gondola landing at a floating dock.  The main   
fondamenta is flooded, but today the water does not get any higher than the surface of its edges. The floating docks always receive the gondolas at the correct height.   I walk a little further to the arcade ahead and the gondolier is starting his voyage toward the Ferrovia, the new train station.

Today, the day after christmas, is so calm and peaceful, I seem to have it all by myself, so the little things that happen seem delightful.  Even the vaporettos which go by seem peaceful.  Especially the ones with the new 'mixer' props below, they seem to drift along their path. They don't make interesting photos just because they are quiet though.   But my favorite little building is ahead, just across from a little private dock.

The C'a'd'Oro, with its ankles soaked, and its beautiful carvings subtly rounded and its colors coming to life  in the soft light of the afternoon.  Look at the columns on the top level, symmetrical polychromy... not too shabby.  The peak of the Venetian style.   There is more meandering to do, but the light, and the protected water of the canal is gone as I travel through the winding calles on my way to the San Polo area where, as I get close, there is some excitement in the campo dei Frari.  I pop through a side door.

This church is large, the vaults overhead are elegantly worked out.  Note the carving on the wood  ti-beam above.

Looking toward the east...This church was laid out in about 1440,  after a 100 year building project for a smaller church had been completed. This one was built around the -existing- church which was demolished at some point to allow for its completion.  It is not Chartres (1200), but it is magnificent in space, sense of volume, and furnishings.

One of which is the magnificent Assumption painted by Titian.  Those around me declared that this was the greatest Titian...  It does fit well in its position behind the main altar of this church.  Note that the host and altar furniture are not there, and the choir is in rehearsal.  It was freezing and I wore my hat...

The marbled choir chamber is a massive interior room, "hidden" from the rest of the church.  It is obviously not hidden, but, when attending service, the choir is essentially not visible, and the music is ethereal, coming from nowhere to be seen.  The Concert this evening featured a trumpet solo coming from the secret chamber in the upper right where the organ pipes are seen.

The Choir, Corocastel di Conegliano, is a men's choir founded during WWII.  It is magnificent.  This choir sings at a level I never thought possible, pure music.  Listen:

Corocastel di Conegliano 2009

 Here they are in a you tube broadcast of the Choir in rehearsal at the same Basilica dei Frari in 2009.  Only a clue to the magnificent performance we heard.  It is... enhanced by the Titian and the surrounding architecture, but this must be the best choir in the world.  And I came for free...

I can't actually describe what the concert was like, but if you ever get a chance to hear this group, give up everything and go.

On my way home, I crossed the Rialto, being late I do not mention its whole name.

Set up for christmas, not sure how long these lights will last.  But it gets dark at 4:30PM or so, so may be a couple of months.  Just down the bridge, and veering off toward the left a little, we get to the
calle del Paradiso, where I live at the end.  I attend paradiso, I leave paradiso, I arrive at paradiso.

The Gothic arch was placed here between the two buildings at the bridge at the end of the street about 1400 AD, by the Foscari and Mocenigo families when they obtained the two the end of the street of paradise.

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