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Flying Dutchmen

More from Bantry House, West Cork, Ireland,


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Day five -- Tuesday 3 July 2007

The Rose Drawing Room at Bantry House is a divided chamber, facing the Bay to the west. The huge windows let in amazing amounts of light, and the equally huge mirrors reflect that light hither and thither, eliminating the need for additional light during daylight hours, at least. The portion where the musicians are seated for performance holds three of the four Gobelin tapestries created for Marie Antoinette -- the other part of the room houses the other one. There are two large and two somewhat smaller if one considers six feet wide by eight feet tall to be smaller. The larger ones must be fourteen or so feet wide, by eight feet tall. (That's a guess on my part, but I think I'm pretty close.)

They're now somewhat faded, for age if no other reason. Marie died, after all in 1793, during the French Revolution. But still, they're truly lovely, museum-quality hangings that could very well have an influence on the marvelous acoustics in the room.

One of the Bantry House tapestries. Photo © 2007 Kelly Ferjutz
One of the Bantry House tapestries. Photo © 2007 Kelly Ferjutz

Today's Coffee Concert featured Quatuor Terpsycordes in a program amazingly suited to this room. It began with Haydn's Quartet in G major Op 33 No 5, from 1781. Of course, being Haydn, one must expect humour, which was indeed present, after a very brief serious introduction. Throughout the work was buoyant and lively. Being so close to nature in this setting, it seemed entirely reasonable for a few chirps to be heard, as well.

There is an abundance of large mirrors in all the rooms, and I admit to being totally intrigued by watching the cellist and 2nd violinist in the mirror. It was so strange to see them bowing backwards. I feel certain that Haydn would have appreciated the humour of the visual aspect as much as I did.

A view from the Rose Room at Bantry House. Photo © 2007 Kelly Ferjutz
A view from the Rose Room at Bantry House. Photo © 2007 Kelly Ferjutz

Keeping with the ambience of the room was Ravel's Quartet in F major, from 1902-03. For some reason (perhaps the transparency of his writing) Ravel suggests the sea to me, and in this room with the huge windows overlooking the sea -- the blue sky and white fleecy clouds overhead and the leaves on the trees being gently stirred by the breeze, with all of this reflected by the mirrors -- Ravel seemed the most perfect choice of music to play.

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Copyright © 5 July 2007 Kelly Ferjutz, Bantry, Ireland


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