This week I was fortunate enough to spend a number of hours visiting two major art collections: first the Barber Institute of Fine Art in Birmingham, the second the National Museum in Cardiff. It is always fascinating to see artists represented in different collections; paintings produced perhaps a few years apart: different but complimentary. I saw two examples of Richard Wilson for example, two of Corot, two of Whistler, many by Gwen John, two by Howard Hodgkin. The first viewed in England’s second city, the second in Wales’ first city.
In Cardiff the visit was followed by a well spent half hour in the Martin Tinney Gallery in St Andrew’ s Crescent. This was followed by a boat trip on the aquabus down the Taff to Cardiff Bay via Penarth, followed by a quick dash into John Lewis where we watched a programme about my favourite US artist Frank Stella, then finished with an evening in St David’s Hall listening to the BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales (with choristers from Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester Cathedrals).
The rendition of John Adams’ deeply felt tribute to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy was as expected very moving and there followed an interval. It was just coming to a close with requests for us to return to our seats when the announcements were swiftly replaced by orders for us to evacuate the auditorium immediately. Traipsing at a snail’s pace down the stairs from level 3 behind the elderly and infirm we naturally thought of those caught up in the twin towers a decade ago. Fortunately for us the firemen soon declared our emergency all clear and we were allowed back in to the auditorium to hear Thierry Fischer conduct Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 with Rebecca Evans, Hanne Fischer, Andrew Kennedy and Matthew Rose. It had been a false alarm.
If only that had been the case ten years ago.