Thursday, October 22, 2020

Musée de la Musique, Paris

The Cité de la Musique in Paris is a huge complex in the north-east section the capital which sits next to the Philharmonic and comprises a beautiful performance hall in which I've seen several acts including Comus, Bill Frisell and P.I.L. and a splendid museum which I visited back when it first opened in the early nineties.

Designed by famous architect Christian de Portzamparc, this museum hosts thousands of musical instruments from all around the globe, some dating back several centuries. The emphasis is on European classical music, which is why there is disappointingly little rock music instruments, but that's a small complaint. The collection is breathtaking and rivals the one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Among the highlights are some exquisitely decorated harpsichords, an entire antique gamelan ensemble, a mammoth instrument called the octobass and a dizzying array of reeds and percussions. But thankfully, despite the astounding number of instruments on display, the collection is never overwhelming.

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