Saturday, June 28, 2008

And another Saturday in Tbilisi

This afternoon strolled out for a coffee somewhere, sitting outside. Not to my usual haunt of the last two Saturdays, Prospero's bookshop in Rustaveli, but went further along round Pushkin Street, and Gudiashvili Square (ok, so not exactly in a straight line), to find myself in a little square at the side of Leselidze (which runs from Freedom Square to the Metekhi church), now known as Kote Abkhazi. Is that a person's name? 'Kote' almost certainly is a first name, but 'Abkhazi'? Reminds me of 'Abkhazia', the region that all the current trouble is about. I bet all the taxi drivers will only respond to 'Leselidze' which it was until very recently.

Anyway; the little square was full of life; lots of art exhibited, people buying some beer and sitting back in the square - but there was also a string quartet playing! Interesting! First they did some classical music, eg a bit of a Mozart divertimento, but then, when they plunged into the 'Tales of the Vienna Woods' and a smart, middle-aged, probably artistic lady began to dance, they stayed on this repertoire. Note that the sheet music for this was hand-written in an exercise book....

They were clearly professionals. Some of the playing left something to be desired - kind of random use of bows, occasionally skittery intonation, and lack of dynamics, never mind the use of what was, I hope but not sure, their second-best instruments (you should have seen the viola, with one peg sticking out on the far side almost one centimetre beyond the scroll, and the joins of the body work a little rough), but it was fun, and very unusual to hear a string quartet. I was looking for somewhere to put some money, but there was nothing - were they paid or was it just for fun?