Yesterday I was running errands with my boyfriend (some may think, seeing as I keep mentioning him, that writing about him is the raison d’être of this blog :-)) and one of our to-do items was visiting the maison communale, a sort of town hall in our district. The building itself is magnificent, constructed in the beginning of the 20th century in Neo-Renaissance style, with fancy staircases, sculptures and plenty of marble. The hall where we had to wait is one of my favourite places in it (although I would appreciate it even more if I didn’t associate it with the tedious process of registering as a citizen I had to go through). The shape of a long rectangle, completely done up with marble, columns and all, and a huge, decorative skylight letting in plenty of daylight. The counters are placed alongisde the walls and the waiting space is in the middle, on wooden benches. Now, here’s where it starts to get even more interesting. There is a big gallery running all around the room, which you can access easily by a nearby staircase. There’s all sorts of nice things displayed there, like the history of the district we live in, etchings from before they built the stone town houses (there’s one showing our street when it used to be part of a village, a hundred years ago!). And… a big concert piano.
Why did they ever have the idea of placing a concert piano there, I don’t know. But the fact is that we discovered it once, during some other boring long wait in line, and yesterday my boyfriend suddenly said, Why don’t you go and play on this piano.
So he waited in his line downstairs, and I crept up, discovered the piano was actually open, and sat down to play. To say my piano repertoire is small is a huge understatement, in fact it’s so tiny it almost doesn’t exist. But I do remember some easy Bach preludes and the “childhood” G minor polonaise by Chopin, which I learned in primary school (I’ve learned nothing new since, really) so that’s what I started to play. The hall was reeally echoey!
I was very interested to see if there would be any reaction, and to be honest, I expected rather a negative one – someone from the administration coming and telling me to stop. I wasn’t surprised, then, to see a man walking in my direction halfway through my polonaise. I was surprised, though, to see him stop by, watch and listen with interest, and sincerely express his admiration as soon as I played until the end!
I had a really nice chat with him; it turned out that he does work in the administration. Always makes me so happy when people react positively to classical music 😀
PS If you’d like to know a bit more about the fancy building, you can visit this website.