Vivaldi at the Rijks

Friday 9th September, 2016

I let the children have a day off because I could see that they needed it. They’ve been doing some half days. I think next week they’ll have to do full days, as the school will insist. We had a lot of fun visiting the Rijks museum. Out the front the children had a ball climbing all over the big red Iamsterdam sign. Inside the museum the ships, swords and amour section was of most interest to the children. We passed the Rembrandts at lightning speed, so I’ll head back another time solo, probably several times. We had lunch in the café, which is very pleasant. We each had a big slice of apple tart with cream. The Dutch really know how to make apple tart. There’s a famous Winkel at Noordermarkt in the Jordaan that sells the best apple cake I’ve ever tasted. There’s often a big cue out the front on the weekends. I love to shop at Noordermarkt for my organic fruit and vegetables. This will become a Saturday ritual I think. There’s high quality produce there and a good vibe. It’s picturesque by the gracht and has a slightly bohemian feel too. There’s also a less expensive market behind it on Lindengracht, which is also good. Noordermarkt is also open on Mondays, at which time there are a lot of good vintage clothes and other wares.

After our appel tarte we stopped under the dome of the Rijks to watch a man playing the accordion. He was playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and it was very moving the way that the music echoed around the historical walls of the Rijks. It made me remember that time in the car back at home, driving along listening to the summer violin concerto. It may well be the most over played piece of classical music in the world, but it still has the power to move me.

Marlene heard the flowers opening, a wild musing so faithfully conveyed that it made us gasp with joyful proclamation. It became an exercise to listen to the whole concerto, to detect the passing of each season, identify each harmonious inception into song. Vivaldi opening a world-vein. We became the native plasma to run up the valve into the artery, gain ingress into a beating heart of heavenly bodies orchestrated, as if we’d been chosen to fathom the glory of his proclamation. Then out front of the Rijks museum we heard a blind man perform the quickening on his accordion – that part when the chimes really go, life stands up, each fugue undoes itself, shakes off its shackles to live again. The man played his accordion in full command of Vivaldi’s wind pipe, went up and down the levers of spirit with the force and ache of a hunger. Made us learn to see again.