I remember that night in Rome. It had been hot, extremely hot for several days. The air stood still, and combined with the exhaust fumes of the cars, buses and motorcycles, the atmosphere was suffocating. I refrained from breathing as good as I could and only by 10 o’clock in the evening, I would start to feel at ease. But this night was different. When I returned to my hotel after work, I saw those towering clouds in the south-west. By the time I sat down for dinner at the Piazza delle Coppelle, the sky had turned black. By the time I got off the tram, the first gusts blew the dust the street. And I had to run. Fast. Just as I made it to the hotel, big raindrops started to fall evolving into a torrential rain that lasted several hours into the night. What a relief! I lay on my bed, breathing the fresh, cool air and I listened to Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in B Minor, RV 390. How good it felt, how incredibly good.
I am flying a several thousand feet. I am returning home. A busy, one-day-trip. Mission accomplished. The last leg. I am returning home. Vivaldi. The Argentinian cellist Sol Gabetta and her ensemble struggle against the monotone noise of the two PW 150A turboprops. Serenity descents on me while I enjoy the Italian’s Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra, RV 423. I am flying home. The best feeling ever. My family is waiting for me. I am flying home.
A pleasing tune to enchant you and me, a lively melody to keep us company on a fall day, a companion unburdened by the evils of the world, cheering us up in case we need it or simply giving us some comfort by being there – such is Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto for Viola d’Amore and Lute in D Minor (RV 540), performed by Rachel Barton Pine (viola), Hopkinson Smith (lute) and the ensemble Ars Antigua.
A month ago we experienced our first severe thunderstorm of the year. We saw it coming from afar. We saw the lightning illuminating distant clouds. It was dead silent. It was dark except for the occasional stroke of light at the horizon. Then came the growling, slow, persistent, menacing. Tension was mounting. Then came the wind. Gusts, triggered by the approaching rain. Time to duck for cover. I was outside until the first rain drops fell, to witness this natural phenomenon that fascinates since I was a child. I used to observe thunderstorms with my father from the terrace on. One of these father-son moments…