A Smorgasbord for the Senses

A Smorgasbord for the Senses

Aix en Provence, France
October, 2012 
Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Why not join us in Italy for New Year’s Jazz? 
When I was a child in southern California one of our favorite family restaurants was a Swedish Smorgasbord (buffet) in Huntington Beach… I can still taste that delicious sweet rye bread and remember the exotic delights filling the table. Our last few days in Aix feel like a buffet of delights too… for the eyes, the ears, the tastebuds.
There’s usually at least one concert in town whenever we’re here, and this week it’s L’Orchestra I Sedici (the Sixteen) with an evening concert at the nearby Saint Saveur cathedral. Founded by Luigi Sagestrano a decade ago, the orchestra was comprised of sixteen string virtuosos. Today it has grown to thirty, and their lush sound soars to the arches of the cathedral as we sit, enthralled with their music. Their bio describes how they choose their performance venues carefully – places with a history: royal salons, chateaus, architecturally fascinating houses…and this cathedral with its layers of history dating as far back as Roman times. “The music needs an appropriate venue”.  We’ve invited our neighbor Mrs. Tomme to join us, and what a treat it is to walk five minutes from our apartment to hear such glorious music in such a gorgeous setting!
Here’s a snippet of their performance of  Dvorak’s Nocturne in B Major, Opus 40. One of the encores is Dvorak’s Waltz in A Major and I’m humming that graceful melody as we walk home.
We met some new neighbors at the Syndic (like a co-op) meeting earlier this week, and they’ve invited us for an aperitif Saturday. The conversation, with 3 French couples and us, flies fast and furious (not OUR conversation, but our ears flew to keep up!) and the aperitif evolves into a delicious dinner, followed by music at around midnight. Our hostess loves to sing jazz and Brazilian music, and pulls out a bunch of scores for me to try. First time I’ve played at midnight, and after a lengthy dinner and lots of wine!

We walk to church, on the other side of town, Sunday morning, and afterwards along the Cours Mirabeau, where artists and artisans have set up booths for the day.

Palette at the ready, this vendor works on his next landscape as we watch.

Then home, to our own smorgasbord as we clean out the frig before our early morning departure. It’s sure more fun eating a “finish it all or throw it away” feast here than in Virginia… wedges and scraps of runny cheeses, a few tasty olives, leftover squares of pissaladiere (an oniony pizza), Iberico ham from Spain and chunks of melon so sweet it tastes like summer…
Au revoir, Aix, we’ll be back as soon as we can – tomorrow we head north for jazz in Nancy!