Sunday, April 26, 2009
Music at Saint Merri, Beaubourg
Saint Merri is a beautiful Gothic church less than a minutes walk from our apartment.
The current church was built between 1500 and 1550, although it stands on the site of a church built in the 13th century. In fact the bell tower houses the oldest bell in Paris, cast in 1331 which survived the destruction wrought upon Paris during the French Revolution.
But not only is this a beautiful church to wander through and wonder at, it also provides numerous, regular musical performances within its Gothic architecture. This weekend I attended two very different performances.
Friday night saw Ensemble La Balcon perform a number of interesting and experimental pieces using traditional instruments (violin, piano) and mixing the natural music, via the use of synthesised effects, with treated sounds. The set included an original composition and interpretations of pieces by Arturo Corrales, Arnold Schoenberg and Karlheinz Stockhausen. It was a very interesting and enjoyable performance.
Today I was treated to a wonderful performance of Bach's Suite Number 1 for Unaccompanied Cello by Delphine Biron. The timbre of the cello echoed throughout the spacious, and well attended, church. It was very haunting and appropriate for the space.
It is one of the many nice things about living in the centre of Paris that such wonderful cultural experiences are literally just a few steps away.