notes from an urban hibernation

Paris : Simon Cutts & Erica Van Horn

Free Music


We arrived at the church just as a mass was ending.  There were five or six priests in purple and white robes shaking hands and talking with the people who were leaving. Those of us who had not attended the mass slipped past the conversations and looked for seats.  The seats were in a jumble.  Some people had turned chairs around to face away from the altar and back towards the large organ in the rear of the church. Turning the chairs was not as easy as it sounds.  The seats were not benches. They were wooden chairs with woven rush seats.  Most of the chairs were held in groups of three by two lengths of wood. One piece of wood was attached underneath at the front of the chairs, and one piece of wood was attached underneath and at the back of the chairs.  To turn the chairs around to face the organ meant lifting and turning the entire group.  A lot of the people gathering for the free concert were elderly.  Some of them started to turn a group of chairs around and then just found it too much so they left the trio of chairs wherever they had managed to move them before giving up.  People sat in chairs which had been turned all the way around and people sat in chairs which had been partially turned around.  Some people sat in the chairs which were facing toward the front of the church.  Some people sat on very low chairs which were made for kneeling. Some chairs were not connected in groups of three.  They were just standing freely and they were the easiest to turn.  Some people turned these chairs and sat facing the organ.  People were facing in all directions and once the music started they realized that they were often sitting right across from another person and staring right into that person’s face.  There was no where to look but right into the face of the person in front of them. A lot of people just closed their eyes to listen to the music rather than to stare directly into another face. For all the busy movement directing the chairs toward the organ, there was nothing to see in that direction once the music began, except for the pipes of the organ.  The music surrounded us.  The sense of performance was not directed at any place or person.  It was simply sound.  Bach was played. Krebs was played. The music was  all around us.  We sat and we listened as we all faced in different directions.  We sat in the cold wearing our hats and coats and scarves. As much as we enjoyed the music we were glad that the concert was not too long.  EVH


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This entry was posted on December 26, 2013 by .


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