Friday, April 03, 2009

City Hall Wants Your Badge: Sunday Morning with Ensemble Avalon

You know the way my beloved and I sometimes go to those free midday concerts on Sundays in the Hugh Lane Gallery? Well you would, if you read my blog and the various pieces we have written for Frank's APA. For reasons that are still mysterious, these concerts have been moved form the Hugh Lane to City Hall, much closer to where we live. I don't know if you have ever been to Dublin's City Hall – as a building, it reminds me of that Onion article about the stoner architect who designed a building consisting entirely of foyers. City Hall seems to be one big foyer, and it is not at all clear from it where the good folk of the Corporation do their important city government work.

That odd feature is not particularly relevant to the concert we attended, which was by this lot called the Ensemble Avalon. They were playing pieces by a number of composers, all of which seemed to be about nautical or marine themes. These were not particularly Eno-esque tunes evoking an oceanic world of polymorphous absorption. Instead, Lizst's Hero & Leander, about two lovers separated by the Hellespont, features a terrible storm that drowns one of the lovers, while Rachmaninov's Etudes-Tableaux op.39 starts off by evoking a seagull (a sinister omen of ill-fortune) only to progress also to a musical recreation of a storm's terrible fury. All of this was accomplished by three musicians playing violin, cello, and piano, and accompanied by the usual fidgety children to which had been added the extensive noise of traffic (City Hall, unlike the Hugh Lane, is on a main thoroughfare, and being an all foyer building, the concert area is much closer to the outside).

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