The Four Seasons in Paris and Bergen

It’s the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and thinking about the changing of seasons, a memory floated into my mind today of going to Sainte-Chapelle in Paris in 2011 to hear the Four Seasons by Vivaldi in an evening concert. It was towards the end of our stay in Paris, and I wanted to catch a performance before embarking on the rest of our European travels.

We walked over to Sainte-Chapelle from where we were staying on the Left Bank, wandering through the Latin Quarter before crossing over the Seine to the Ile de la Cite where the chapel was located.

Sainte-ChapelleOne got the feeling the players were musicians-for-hire who worked the summer season for tourists – but even so, hearing a sentimental favourite in a medieval Gothic chapel was practically transcendental. It was impossible to not be moved, sitting with my thoughts and surrounded by music in one of the most beautiful buildings I’d ever been in.

As I listened, my eyes alighted on the magnificent stained glass windows. They filtered the late afternoon light, the glass changing colours as the summer sun went down.

As my mind wandered that evening I remembered another time, back in the autumn of 2005, when I heard another group play the Four Seasons at a cathedral in Bergen, Norway. I’d been staying with a girl named Bodil, a friend of my friend Ingrid, and Bodil had taken me along to her rehearsal for a concert happening later that night. I left the rehearsal early to catch a plane to London where I was moving to for the year, so the music was my last memory of a place I always think of as one of the most charming cities I have visited.

Fast forward to the present and here I am home in Sydney and it’s the first day of autumn 2013. Again I’m on the verge of another big move in my life. I’m listening to the Four Seasons right now to mark the occasion.


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