Venice, Vivaldi, good food and some of my reality…

I have heard some lovely music in the past two nights, mostly Vivaldi, and all performed by the Interpreti Veneziani, the chamber music organization that performs almost every night here in this ancient and mysterious town.  Last night it was a series of four violin concertos and tonight, his well-known ‘The Four Seasons’.  I was able to attend last night’s performance with a friend who is also an expert on the subject and afterwards we compared notes.  I mentioned that I could hear musical references to Renaissance folk music running through Vivaldi’s Baroque style, like small threads of musical memory, and my friend agreed.  He then reminded me that much of the electricity that emanates from Vivaldi’s music can also be seen as a direct link to the Enlightenment, the era in which Vivaldi lived and composed much of his work.  Previous to Vivaldi’s time, the primary source for inspiration in many of life’s venues had been the church.  With the cultural onslaught of the Enlightenment came ideas such as life, liberty and the innate equality of all.  To think of that and then hear ‘Il Quattore Staggione’ tonight made me quite aware that during the composer’s era this piece must have shocked and amazed his audience, as it still does today.

Venice is lovely and I am lucky to be able to spend some time here although I came down with a brutal head cold that simply wiped me out.  I had to miss a tour of San Marco yesterday in favor of bed, fluids and medication but was able to make it to dinner and then the aforementioned concert.  Last night I ate at the restaurant adjacent to my hotel.  I had baccala with polenta and then pan-seared angler fish in a deconstructed puttanesca sauce.  Really nice.  Then the music.  Tonight it was bresaola salad followed by some branzino at a cafe in Campo di San Stefano.  Then more music.

On a more serious note, I have been aware for some time that many people feel that I take life too seriously, don’t smile enough and seem to not be as joyful as some.  For many years I lived a life…No, that’s not correct…I existed on a plane of desperation and pain driven by ego and hubris.  This trajectory brought me in line with situations and circumstances that can simply be described as ‘dark.’  I have played cards many times with Death and by some miracle have survived each hand.  So if my smile seems a bit strained sometimes it is only because I have tasted  much bile in my time.  My demeanor is that of the lucky few.  Contrary to popular belief, those who have courted death and have lived to tell the tale do not wave our hands about in glee nor do we shout at the top of our lungs our pyhrric victories, aping the latest Youtube sensation.  We sit somewhat stunned, grateful and quiet and remember from whence we came.  Life is serious business and should not be treated as a rehearsal.  You will forgive my not always laughing.


angler fish with deconstructed puttanesca sauce


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