Last week my daughter (Gray Dickerson, violin) played some Beethoven and Grieg with her friend (Charisse Smith, piano). They performed for the Foreign Service Women's Association as part of a holiday celebration that included sing-along Christmas carols and other music.

The location was interesting: the Diplomatic Reception Rooms on the top floor of the US Department of State. These rooms are ritzy (to put it diplomatically!) --- they're dominated by Chippendale furniture, antique clocks, huge paintings, and Corinthian columns ... Hudson River School landscapes opposite pictures of famous dead dudes ... Bombay style cabinets of teak or mahogony, with rosewood inlays ... the Walter Thurston Gentlemen's Lounge on one side and the Martha Washington Ladies' Lounge on the other ... gilt plaster decorations and cut-glass chandeliers ... the John Quincy Adams State Drawing Room and the Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room ... and on and on.

Among the more striking artifacts on display:

Also striking about the reception rooms: they were entirely paid for by private, voluntary contributions --- like the Roman Empire's architectural memorials (see GibbonChapter2).

Other notes of the day:

(for another perspective, see InfraStructure, written a year ago in the basement of an old Georgetown mansion)

TopicPersonalHistory - TopicArt - 2001-12-19

(correlates: GoForBaroque, PrivateCommunication, OppositeAttractions, ...)