Friday, July 28, 2006

Brussels Baby!

Had a fantastic weekend. I almost don't want to say anymore in case that spoils it, but it was ace!

As I had organised the weekend I was as usual a bit nervous about whether anything would go horribly wrong - the car parking not have us registered, too much traffic on the M25 and even that they wouldn't let us on the plane because our boarding passes didn't have our middle names on them...yes it's okay, I have received plenty of ridicule for that from Leigh!

But no problems getting there or back and Brussels itself was truly great. We arrived on National Belguim Day which meant we were treated to a military flyover and a fireworks display in the evening. Also went to the Comic Strip museum, the Musical Instrument museum (absolutely beautiful - the instruments and the exhibits), the Museum of Fine Art, the cathedral, the atomium and Mini-Europe (see this cool photo) name but some. A very busy, tiring weekend but great - a good chance to try out my awful French on the good citizens of Brussels, go a bit mad in the TinTin shop and eat delicious food! (My Flemish casserole was just lots of the tenderest beef you've ever eaten cooked in a rich beery gravy and served with chips - yum!)

I even spotted a free concert at the Instrument museum on the Sunday afternoon - viola, oboe and piano trio no less so that just about made my weekend!!! (and because L had been making fun of the fact there didn't seem to be many violas on display!!) It was lovely and I was just reminded again how much I love the viola.

Came back with a few questions for the internet -

- who was Eduard Fetis? Found a portrait of him by a painter called Louis Gallait in the Museum of Fine Art - had a particularly serious and intense look on his face and I got a bit obssessed about who he might have been. Found this later - he was a student! (okay, I needed to get it translated first...)

- what is the big clock we found at the Mont des Arts? more particularly I wanted to know what each of the figures stood for, but have only found this so far - it's a Jacquemart clock apparently.

- why were there two street signs on some streets? I know that there are two names on each sign, one French and one Flemish, but some streets had two signs - the blue one was the normal sign and the white one appeared to give an alternative name relating to a comic strip character (yes, we found Smurf Street!). Still not sure

- finally can I get a copy/recording of the whole sonata from which the allegro moderato was played at the concert? (sonata in d minor for viola and piano by Mikhail Glinka) Couldn't find it on iTunes, although will need to go back and look again, but did find this, which talks about the sonata ("unfinished" because he only completed 2 of the 3 planned movements) . Also found a site where I could download the sheet music and the New York Viola society which has listings of who has recorded it so I'm sure I'll be able to find it somewhere!!

Hurrah for Brussels!

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