White Space in Art District 798, Beijing

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Gariboldi, Etudes Mignonnes Opus 131

On my final day in Beijing, I had one last chance to do some amazing exploring.

After a morning of essential discount shopping, a gaggle of us crammed into a taxi and sat through heavy traffic to go check out Art District 798, on the outskirts of the sprawling city; it wasn’t until this last day that I got a new perspective on just how massive Beijing really is, and with so many possible things to do before heading back to Canada, I’m happy to report that it was worth the journey!

We had an incredible afternoon, poking around the quiet side streets and stopping in to behold one reclaimed gallery space after another. Hey, Beijing was really cool – don’t get me wrong – but finally, some honest-to-goodness, gritty culture!

Crammed into one huge labyrinthian city block that was once home to munitions factories, the low-slung deco buildings now house a bumper crop of galleries instead of guns. Video surveillance on every corner, mind you, keeping an eye on the graffiti artistes, souvenir shops, cafes and..uh, us!?

While our taxi driver hung around waiting patiently, I inadvertently found myself totally on my own, my friends having gone ahead somewhere to wander the galleries while I held back, camera in hand.

Close by, the open doors of White Space Gallery drew me in and offered a welcome refuge from the midday heat. My thanks to the gallery staff, who were so friendly and welcoming as they let me record one of my favourite pieces by Guiseppe Gariboldi. The vaulted ceiling made for some truly astonishing, memorable acoustics, as I’m sure you would agree as you listen.. remember, headphones recommended.

Yeah, I finally caught up with my friends, who had stopped in at a cafe down the street – I joined them for a beer to toast this last adventure together, at the end of what was truly an epic two week odyssey in China!

Hmm, I couldn’t find Opus 131 that this study comes from.. but here’s some equally charming etudes by the same composer: http://erato.uvt.nl/files/imglnks/usimg/1/1a/IMSLP173606-PMLP306573-Gariboldi_-_15_Etudes.pdf ..happy playing, et bon chance!