A local meetup did free lunchtime concerts but when I tried to snag a ticket, they we all gone. Turns out, this didn’t matter as they let people in without tickets and anyhow, when the concert started there were always a few free seats. I went ahead and booked myself five lunchtime concerts for May. First up, the Concertgebouw is a magnificent building. It would be nice to see something in the big room rather than the small one.
The first week was some kind of recorder and guitar thing.
The second week was piano and flute.
Week three was opera.
Week four was half string trio and oboe and half string quartet.
Week five was very much in the middle-eastern mould, in some musical mode us Westerners don’t get to hear very often.
The Rijksmuseum is local to me so it’s churlish not to take a few hours and visit. The Vermeer exhibition sold out immediately months ago but on a tip-off from a chap on the internet, I risked going and getting a ticket from the desk inside.
The Rijksmuseum is local to me so it’s churlish not to take a few hours and visit. The Vermeer exhibition sold out immediately months ago but on a tip-off from a chap on the internet, I risked going and getting a ticket from the desk inside. It worked! I got a ticket to an exhibition that was really crowded, unlike the Geffen in LA which I mostly had to myself.
In terms of Dutch Artists, for me, Vermeer ranks top, followed by a versatile Van Gogh and a workmanlike Rembrandt. The Rijksmuseum has assembled roughly 2/3 of Vermeer’s surviving works and it was an amazing journey through a life spent painting.
Seeing a lifetime of painting laid out makes you appreciate how he progressed, but also how he used many of the same elements often: viewing through a window or curtain, lit from the left, often solo ladies with a musical instrument or focus item, occasionally a symbolic painting of a map or a cupid.
That’s a small sample of the paintings on show. I’d heartily recommend a visit to Amsterdam to risk being able to get tickets to the Vermeer exhibition. Having lived close to London’s museums, I can safely say this blows them away.