Venice: the “Blue Danube” Live from Piazza San Marco

The Café Florian Quintet plays Strauss’s famous Waltz in St Mark’s Square, Venice

After a vigorous rendition of Ravel’s “Bolero”, the small, five-piece orchestra on the stage outside the famous Café”Florian” in Piazza San Marco strike up the opening bars of Strauss’s “Blue Danube” waltz, much to the delight of the still sizeable audience sitting at the tables on the square. tweet

It’s getting on for midnight here in St. Mark’s Square, but the warm air has brought out many tourists and locals to enjoy an evening passeggiata, and there’s quite a crowd standing behind the fortunate – and perhaps wealthier – customers sipping their drinks at the Café Florian‘s tables.

White-jacketed, bow-tied waiters

In their twos and threes, white-jacketed, bow-tied waiters stand in desultory fashion under the arches of the arcade in front of the Florian that borders the piazza. There seem to be an awful lot of them in proportion to the available tables, but this late in the evening their attitude is very relaxed. Nevertheless, they appear preternaturally alert to the slightest sign of a desire to order – or pay – evinced by their customers.

His dramatic playing style is all movement and attack

The orchestra’s violinist has neatly trimmed silver hair and beard and is a real showman. His dramatic playing style is all movement and attack, and the audience love it. Swaying and pirouetting, proudly upstanding then bending forward enticingly to emphasize his alternately silky-smooth and then staccato bowing, he inveigles his listeners into a conspiracy of appreciation.

Legendary meeting place in the heart of Venice

Although there is a certain atmosphere of studied artificiality about the whole scene, the musicians, the waiters and the audience all seem to be willing and, at least in the case of the latter, enthusiastic participants in the performance. A performance which is repeated every night in this legendary meeting place in the heart of Venice.

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