2nd-year BMus student Victoria Thomas tells us about the Cardiff University Music Society’s recent trip to Paris…
“This Easter, the Music Society held its first trip abroad, spending 4 days in Paris. It was a great break from the busy-ness of last semester and was an opportunity to leave the impending deadlines behind us for a few days!
“A small group of us got a mini bus from Cardiff to London St. Pancras, – which was kindly provided by the department – leaving Cardiff at the early time of 5:30am before getting the Eurostar to Paris.
“The second day was planned with the guidance of Dr Caroline Rae, drawing on her expertise as department lecturer and Series Adviser for the Philharmonia’s City of Light concert series, which explores music composed in Paris 1900-1950. With Dr Rae’s help, we were able to visit some of the places discussed in modules, or those thought highly of in the world of classical music, including the Musée de la Musique; Palais Garnier; and the Philharmonie de Paris.
“First up was a tour of the Palais Garnier; a nineteenth-century opera house, home to the Opèra Nationale de Paris. The building itself looks magnificent from the outside, complete with busts of famous composers lining the columns around the building; but this had nothing on the majesty of the interior– it’s certainly worth visiting if you ever find yourself passing!
“This was followed by a visit to the Musée de la Musique, part of the Cité de la musique, the area of Paris dedicated to music. The Musée de la Musique contains a vast array of instruments from across the world from the seventeenth-century to the present day, all of which have been collected by the Conservatoire de Paris. The collection includes many unusual and rare instruments such as a theramin, an electric instrument which you do not touch to play, and an Octobass, standing at around 3.48m and one of only a few in existence.
“The musical day ended with a visit to the newly opened Philharmonie de Paris to see the Russian National Orchestra play Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony and 2nd Piano Concerto with Nikolai Lugansky, conducted by Dmitri Liss. This is yet another striking building which was only opened in January of this year.
“After seeing some of the locations related to our course, the next day was all about being tourists, visiting the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris; Musée D’Orsay; and the Eiffel Tower. This was my first visit to the Notre-Dame Cathedral and I felt so lucky to see just how spectacular the cathedral’s design truly is, both in the nave and after climbing the 385 steps to the top of the bell tower to be greeted by gargoyles and a breath-taking view of the city.
“Jelly-legged after climbing and descending the many stairs, we made our way to the Musée D’Orsay to view works by the likes of Van Gogh, Monet and Manet. Following a lovely meal at Le Petit Cler, the trip was brought to a close watching the Eiffel Tower lights display as the sun set, before making our way back to the UK the following morning, ready to tackle the final few weeks of the year.”