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Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 1

img  Tobias

You never merely arrive in London – you come crashing into it. Through the zigzagging and crisscrossing miniature crowds of one, two or three at Paddington's breathtaking and completely bagle-, donut-, sandwich- and cockeestall-stuffed main hall, down the elevator to the tube station, with literally hundreds of full colour high definition displays dazzling your eyes with flickering images of lipstick-smeared faces, cheap mortgages and vacations on offer, you zoom down to platforms crammed with people pushing and shoving each other nearer to carriages barely big enough for a grown man to stand upright in, confounding your eyes and ears with their human baggage of all shapes and sizes, colours and creeds, nationalities and languages.

Coming from a small regional town, I find myself in the centre of a complete sensory overkill, spewed out with masses of temporary travelmates at Covent Garden, where I am gladly picked up by my friend Nadja, who takes me to a nearby Pub, an oasis of rest and quiet at ten o clock in the morning, where soft jazz music is playing in the background, a „freshly baked croissant with cheese“ comfortingly fills the hole in my stomach, black British coffee turns out to be much better than expected and we have roughly five minutes to make up for five years of lost time. She then quickly slips me the key to the appartment she shares with her French boyfriend Christophe and hurries to work, her cheek still hurting from her visit at the dentist's in the morning.

While I finish the rest of my belated breakfast, I have some time to reflect on what's to come. A mere two months ago, I was contacted by Albion Media, a London-based agency with a very interesting press release on the Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music. I thought the Festival's courage to take „peace“ as their main motto for this year's edition was remarkable. Many, after all, will have us believe that not only is it a majorly uncool topic, but it also doesn't sell – and besides, how can one celebrate peace with more wars being waged around the globe than ever. Reading about the way that Lindsay Kemp, the Artistic Director of the Festival, presented his cause, however, led me to believe that not only was her engagement sincere, it also offered a unique and inspiring angle:

How did classical composers approach the issue of peace? Did they portray it as an ideal to aspire to or as a reality within our grasp? How did they combine the relief and jubilant happiness of peace with its fragility and frailty, its elusiveness and short lifespan? I ran a newsitem on the subject, one thing led to another and after some behind the scenes action, found myself invited by Lufthansa to visit every single concert of what is essentially one of Europe's most widely renowned events in its category.

After depositing my bag and laptp at Nadja's and Christophe's place, which turns out to be a miniature house tucked away behind a secretive metal door in a wildly growing,  rain-soaked backyard garden, I take the tube to Westminster to walk through one of London's main tourist areas. Seeing the House of Parliament and Westminster Abbey (where the final concert on the 22nd is to take place) is inspiring and after some time, I reach and visit the Tate Gallery, where there's a free exhibition called „The Return of the Gods: Neoclassical Sculptures in Britan“. Hosted in the majestic and mysteriously whispering Duveen Galleries, this collection harks back to a time, when some if Britain's finest artists would move to Italy to see arguably the country's most famous sculptor of his time, Canova, in action and to work on  recreating the magical harmony of the classical period.

„The Return of the Gods“ is certainly long overdue, some of these sculptures ranking among the most influential of the 19th century. Walking into the exhibit, you find yourself in a cool and otherwordly ambiance, the darkness surrounding you merely dimly illuminated by the brightly shining marble. If you walk around these figures, there is a strange feeling that you are watching a very real person and sometimes, you expect the wind to billow their clothes.

(To read on, use the table of contents on top of the right hand side)

Article in serie

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1 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008
A rare case of dedication: ...
2008-05-22
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2 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 6
London, May 20th: Concerto Soave ...
2008-05-22
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3 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 5
London, May 19th: Ensemble Pierre ...
2008-05-20
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4 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 4
London, May 18th: The Wallfish ...
2008-05-19
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5 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 3
London, May 17th: Concordia & ...
2008-05-18
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6 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 2
London, May 16th: Philippe Herreweghe ...
2008-05-17
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7 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 1
London, May 15th: English Concert, ...
2008-05-16

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