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Entries about music

Helsinki Day 2

Another day in Helsinki

overcast 34 °F

After oversleeping and missing our free breakfast, we had to rush to the Cathedral at Senate Square for the free noon concert.

We arrived at the Square before noon and were surprised to find a group of people on the steps singing. We were under the impression that the concert would be inside the Cathedral, but it was outside and not at noon.

More people, both young and old, joined the chorus then Saint Nicholas and young kids joined in. They sang songs that we did not understand the words to, but we enjoyed them anyway. Then the group finished with Finlandia. We think we’ve heard it performed 4 times now, but then we are in Finland.
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We later came back to the Christmas Market as there were some candles that I wanted to take home. After we bought the candles we discussed whether we should have some Reindeer Sausage, we were not very hungry. I thought we should try it just because we were there. While we were at it, we decided to have more Gluhwein and some traditional Eastern Finnish pie.
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The food was so good and with stomachs full of food and insides warm from Gluhwein we walked off to the Music Hall for the evening concert.
We got to the concert hall, Dale in his best Levis and hiking boots, I in my best cords and warm LLBean boots, all dressed in our best. Fortunately, we passed through the people dressed for a concert. No one seemed to pay attention, or at least they were polite.

We did feel very glamorous drinking champagne with Christmas spices during the intermission. But it was easy to feel glamorous inside of the beautiful music hall.
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Even though we couldn’t see the stage when we sat back in our seats, the music was pure and sweet. We just enjoyed.

Posted by Miss Chris 00:24 Archived in Finland Tagged helsinki walking music outdoors sibelius christmas_market music_hall Comments (0)

Helsinki Day 1

Exploring Helsinki

overcast 34 °F

24-hours from leaving our house to landing in Helsinki; 9:30pm and -10F. We hoisted up our backpacks and we were off on a new adventure.

After a great, and free breakfast we went to the tourist information office to find out what we might want to do for the next 2 days. The lady gave us info on where she eats lunch for a reasonable price and gave us info on concerts.

We also found that everything is within walking distance to our hotel; the Christmas market, concerts, shopping and a ton of restaurants. There is a different restaurant every few feet.

We decided to go to a 6pm concert at the Rock Church. The lady at the tourist office said that the music would consist of pieces composed by Finnish Composers. We thought that might be fun. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temppeliaukio_Church

We were at the Christmas Market checking out items and drinking Gluhwein when it was time to walk to the Rock Church. As we walked it started snowing, so nice to experience when walking thru a European city at Christmas.
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The concert was exactly what we’d wanted to experience, yet so different than what we expected. The music had a jazz and big band edge. There was a singer and he sang various songs, none of which we understood. We did recognize the music “Little Drummer Boy” but it was all Finnish, of course.
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The singer spoke between many of the songs. One song, after he spoke we understood that he had invited the audience to join in. Many knew the words of the song “Beautiful Savior”. As it was being sung in Finnish, we couldn’t think of the words in English. But it was beautiful anyway. This version attached is performed by the St. Olaf Choir, which we heard several years ago .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QJ4TkIcSkk

The audience also sang along to a Sibelius piece. We were unfamiliar with the piece, only knowing a few of the pieces by the composer. It again was moving, everyone around us singing. Here is a sample of the piece. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIt3nx2uMEc

The last piece was the Christmas Carol “Silent Night”. Again, it was probably introduced to the audience but we didn’t understand what was being said. Everyone sang along, in Finnish, of course. But we were happy and warm inside the rock church while it was cold outside.

We walked back to another part of the city where we found a restaurant. We ordered bowls of steaming hot Cream of Salmon soup. Our insides were warm and full. We fell in love with Helsinki!

Posted by Miss Chris 05:59 Archived in Finland Tagged helsinki walking music outdoors sibelius christmas_market rock_church Comments (0)

Music in Vienna

Mozart

overcast 70 °F

Another forecast for rain but this time in Vienna, thunderstorms were forecast for night.

First we needed groceries. We saw that a “Bella” supermarket was close to us. Of course we got lost while walking and had to ask directions.

Once inside we picked up our groceries and went to the checkout stand, put our food on and when it was our turn waited to pay. The checker asked something in German and of course I said “what”? He asked if we’d weighed our bananas to which I answered no. I mean really? Weigh bananas? What’s up with that? I must be used to Trader Joe’s and never weigh my own stuff at the regular grocery stores.

I went back and weighed the bananas then had to go around the entire store to get to that checkout line. Some lady in the line got really mad; Dale heard her speaking loudly. We took our purchased groceries over to the counter in order to pack them. While we were packing the groceries the checker was talking and pointed at us saying that we were Amie’s. This was so funny, we started laughing, which I’m sure didn’t help the situation at all. But this is what Dieter says that the German’s call us. I guess the Austrians do too. Oh watch out for those Amie’s!!!

A hint: In Europe you must bring your own bags to the grocery stores and you must bag your own groceries. Cuts down on the trash that’s for use. Best to bring a back pack or bag to carry your stuff home in.

We went back into the old city via the U which is really easy to use, by the way. After maybe a 10 minute ride we got off at Karlsplatz, the St. Karl’s Church. This time we picked up our tickets for the Mozart Requiem and then Dale and Elias took the lift and stairs up into the dome. I stayed down with all our stuff. The skies were really threatening but only a few drops fell.

St. Karl’s Church was refurbished several years ago and after cleaning the frescos in the dome, scaffolding was left so that people could get a close up look. You take an elevator then walk up stairs into the top. Dale and I did this 3 years ago and thought that Elias would enjoy it.IMG_20140705_163457_475.jpg

From St Karl’s we walked to St. Stephens where Dale and Elias climbed the stairs up to the tower for another view of the city. I sat and had a cappuccino, writing and people watching.
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The skies cleared and we strolled back to St Karl’s, stopping to listen to a 3 person Russian street group. They played their version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Russian and American music.
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Our concert was at 8:15pm in the St Karl’s to hear Mozart’s Requiem. We heard this same concert 3 years ago and found it amazing. Again we had front and center seats the 2nd row from the front. We were sitting waiting for the concert to begin when in walked a family who had the front row seats. The couple had 3 young children; about 4, 5 and 9 months. My first thought was “no”! But then I remembered how we would take our young boys to concerts at the Dorothy Chandler and the Hollywood Bowl. We believed that the music would help shape them, (whether it did or not is open to discussion). The kids were so well behaved. They sat quietly, the older boy would drum in the air. At one point they went up on the steps, sat down and watched. The musicians seemed to really like that. The baby went to sleep then woke up but was mostly quiet. Mom took her out at the first peep.
The concert was moving, we thought that it was better this time.

The music echoed throughout the church on many occasions. One fun part was to see that the cellist was the same person who played at the dinner concert. Instruments were the same type used in Mozart’s time. One horn has no valves so notes are made by shaping the lips.

After the concert we spoke to the couple and praised them for bringing their children to a concert.

Posted by Miss Chris 13:29 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna church music europe mozart st_karl's Comments (0)

Dessert 1st then Vivaldi

A July 4th celebration

sunny 75 °F

Great thing that today was warm, 80’s, and sunny. We had to check out of our apt by 11 and no one wanted to wake up.
Dale and I walked to the store for bread, pastries and coffee. We got back and food was devoured.

We took Bekki and all to the old city for 1 quick look as we all had to go our way. We showed them the fortress, the egg shop where I bought some eggs and then stopped to have a dessert at the Furst.IMG_20140704_122337_112

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Bekki went on to Tobias’ and we went onto Vienna. We had a concert to attend.

I’d bought tickets to hear the Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” at the St Stephen’s Church. This church is huge, a main feature of Vienna.

We went to the church and picked up our tickets, seating was open depending on the category one bought. One stands in the appropriate line and then 15 minutes before the door opens everyone goes in and finds a seat in their category. We found seats 3 rows from the front and in the center.
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For the concert there were 4 musicians; 3 violin and 1 cello. They played various pieces, including Ava Maria. Between pieces a soloist came out and played the Four Seasons, only accompanied occasionally. The soloist, a woman, was so absolutely amazing. She had such command of her violin that her music filled the church. I will never hear the Four Seasons in the same way again, I will see her power and command of the music.

We finished our evening with a glass of wine, Elias with a Viennese cake.

Posted by Miss Chris 08:41 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna travel music europe vivaldi 4_seasons Comments (0)

Moving Right Along Now

Preparing for our Upcoming European Trip

We are getting our act together for our Europe trip. Finally!!!

I bought airplane tickets for Dale and our grandson. They will fly out on a Tuesday arriving in Brussels on Wed a.m., the same day that our granddaughter and I fly to Brussels from Rome. I wish we could arrive in Brussels close to the same time but I doubt that it will happen that way. I haven’t even looked at tickets for our flight. Guess I should do that.

Our younger granddaughter is planning to go with Dale but has decided not to go to Finland. Since her dates of departure are not known yet we will get her tickets maybe next week.

I did look and see that the Mozart Requiem is still being performed on Saturdays in Vienna at the St Charles Church. We will buy tickets for that as soon as we know how many will be in our party.

Fortunately, concerts in Prague are not posted yet as we want to buy the best tickets possible and can’t today.

We are at least on the right track.

Posted by Miss Chris 17:24 Archived in USA Tagged travel cathedral music europe airplane mozart estates_theater mozart_requiem tom_sawyer_island grandkids_travel Comments (0)

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