Gary loves art

Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre was the first woman to compose an opera in France and is the first female classical composer I think I’ve heard of. She was born in around 1665 and died in 1729. She was also a deft hand at playing the harpsichord. Apparently, she was a pretty good singer as well. We heard two of her pieces being sung by Christina Larsson Malmberg today in what turned out to be the final concert until September for the Trosa Kammarmusikförening at the Skärborgarnas Hus.

They have a summer recess while everyone cavorts and carries on under the sun for a few months. So this marks my first year of concerts – the only one I missed was cancelled – and I’m now really looking forward to September.

Of course, it wasn’t just the very talented Ms Malmberg who entertained us today. There was also Nora Roll on the viola da gamba and Peter Lönnerberg on harpsichord (cembalo in Swedish). The three of them make up the Trio AZUR.

They play the most amazing baroque music. Today it was a selection called La Grande Galerie de Versailles (musik för Solkungen). As we sat and listened, I was transported back to Versaille and the hall of mirrors. Mind you, the Sun King wasn’t there when we went. But it was still quite enigmatic without him.

But the concert was merely the rounding off of an artistic day. The first order of the morning was a visit to an art show at Vårdinge folkhögskola.

First thought up by NFS Grundtvig (1783-1872), the concept of the folkhögskola (folk high school) was initially based on English boarding schools though, rather than formal, it was about popular education. There are folkhögskola throughout Scandinavia, Europe, even in Nigeria and the US, but the first Swedish one was established in 1868 and, as of last year, there were 156 of them dotted throughout the country.

Each school has different specialisms. Vårdinge is all about art and has to be the most perfect setting for the artistic Muses to come down and enrich young (and not so young) minds. KSP put us onto the event today, and we are so glad she did.

We were a bit worried that the art would be a bit, you know, kiddie style, but, our fears were allayed pretty quickly. The art we saw was, on the whole, excellent. Paintings, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, gardening; there were pieces from all areas of art.

But it wasn’t just the pieces that I was impressed with. The students were dotted around the campus, ready, willing and more than able to answer questions and chat about their work. I thought they were amazing. They were friendly, bright and well versed in English. We spoke to three and each one loved being at the school and were proud of their work.

One young chap, who specializes in making heads, told us of his process and how he was sad that his first year was over. Mirinda suggested he could fail next year and have to repeat. He also told us how difficult it is to price things. I was surprised this wasn’t part of the course. It could easily be a short module called ‘What to ask the public to pay’ or similar.

The conversation came up because there were a couple of pieces we would happily have purchased, except there were no prices or ways to pay. Not for all, to be fair, but for the vast majority. A shame.

In keeping with my tradition for picking a favourite piece, it has to be Der tod ist ein dandy by Jenny Walroth.

I thought it would go rather well in my study. And, while death may indeed be a dandy, I thought it had strong Mexican Día de los Muertos vibes.

Overall, we spent a delightful while, wandering around the various displays through the campus, admiring, chatting and thoroughly enjoying it all.

A few hours later (after an essential visit to Emil’s Backe), back at the house, we welcomed our first strangers to the stuga. Elisabeth, Greg and daughter Elsa, were going to a local wedding and Nicoline had suggested that they should contact us to stay. This was at the Meet the Neighbours Party. The wedding was today, and they drove over afterwards, and before the reception.

Greg is Australian so, while Mirinda took Elisabeth and Elsa around the stuga, Greg and I chatted about Sydney, Wollongong and the Inner West for the ages the tour took. A very affable family, I have to say. And it was lovely hearing an Aussie accent.

In other, exciting news, and with another artistic nod, Mirinda started potting up plants today. She bought some, as well as compost and soil in the week (which went very well with the horse manure she gathered the other day) and, along with the pots that KSP and Jonas gave us and the bucket from Nicoline, she set about adding some colour to the garden.

That’s the tomato plant that Nicoline gifted Mirinda for her birthday. It is growing very well and promises great things in the near future.

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  1. Pingback: Burn the boats! | The House Husband

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