After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, we decided on Spoleto as the base for a week in Umbria. We found what looked to be (and was indeed) a comfortable, reasonably-priced apartment with lots of light and even a terrace with a view. The owners, British expats Norma and Laurie, were bursting with excellent information and, where needed, gratefully appreciated assistance in getting around. But it was more than that: they truly made us feel we’d arrived at a home away from home. Continue reading
[T]he oldest part of the building [is] a sort of prototype for aristocratic residential buildings in the 15th century. Next to it, there was an old Franciscan convent. . . .
During the 19th century, the severe financial crisis of the Franciscan community led to the alteration of some parts of the building into houses for rent. And following the creation of the Regie Scuole Normali and the abolition of the religious orders in 1866, the building was radically changed . . . .
In 2006, after “long and demanding restoration work,” GAM opened its doors on the premises. Continue reading
I’ve had a particularly memorable “year in music” this year. While I’ve listed a “Prufrock’s Dozen” of CDs, this year-end post isn’t a “best of” list in the usual sense, but rather an opportunity to gather together the “best of” my musical experiences throughout the year. The post is divided into three sections: A “Prufrock’s Dozen” of CDs, Live Performances, and Other Significant Music-Related Activities. Continue reading
On my most recent visit to New York City, I was foiled in my first attempt to see how spring was coming on in the Central Park Conservatory Garden. The scent of lilacs mixed with privilege wafted through the fence, and police were on hand to shoo away uninvited guests. Riverside Park, at least, remained open to ordinary blossom gazers, so that day I retraced my steps. The weather for a return trip to the Conservatory Garden wasn’t promising, but the rain stopped, the sun reappeared, and off I went in the summer-like heat. Continue reading
“Claude had enthusiastically leapt to his feet on the bench and forced his companion to admire daybreak on the vegetables. There was a sea of vegetables between the rows of pavilions from pointe Saint-Eustache to rue des Halles. At the two intersections at either end the seas grew higher, completely flooding the pavement. Dawn rose slowly in soft grays, coloring everything with a light wash of watercolors. The mounting piles, like a swelling sea, the river of greenery rushing through the streets like an autumnal torrent, took on delicate shadows and hues: tender violet, milk-blushed rose, a green steeped in yellows—all the soft, pale hues that change the sky into silk at sunrise. Step by step the fire of dawn rose higher, shooting up bursts of flame at the far end of rue Rambuteau as the vegetables brightened and grew more distinct from the bluish darkness that clung to the ground. Lettuce, escarole, and chicory, with rich earth still stuck to them, opened to expose swelling hearts. Bundles of spinach, bunches of sorrel, packets of artichokes, piles of peas and beans, mountains of romaine tied with straw, sang the full greenery repertoire from the shiny green lacquered pods to the deep green leaves—a continuous range of ascending and descending scales that faded away in the variegated heads of celery and bundles of leeks. But the most piercing note of all came from the flaming carrots and the snowy splotches of turnips, strewn in ample quantities all along the market and lighting it with their colors.”