Saturday, 11 July 2009

Concert in Chapaize

As mentioned earlier, this area is rich in culture. The many old, Romanesque churches are good examples of this heritage. All churches are owned by the state, and as in many other countries, the Roman Catholic church is loosing its grip on the masses. The result is that many churches only have a church service once every month, if not less often. Luckily, because the state owns the churches, they are sometimes used to host other venues, such as concerts. A beautiful example is the Church of St. Martin in Chapaize. It is still in use for services every so often, but on Saturday evenings throughout the summer it is used as a concert hall. Recently the volunteers organisation of Chapaize Culture had organised a concert here.
Click here for the website of Chapaize Culture
The theme of the evening was Baroque music, performed by an orchestra in period cloths. The company was called “Les Symphonies du Roy conducted by Daniel Ribolet. On the program there were compositions of Charpentier, Lully, Telemann, Rameau, Corelli and Bach.
This small orchestra had an interesting composition. There were 6 reeds (5 oboes and 1 bassoon, 4 brass (3 trumpets, 1 French horn) and 1 percussionist (kettledrums). There was a master of ceremony, or narrator, who introduced the pieces. He was dressed in a livery, with a long, white wig. The musicians were dressed in the uniform of the Musqueteers of the French king. After each piece they were supposed to stand up, put their hat with feathers on, bow to the audience and take off their hat very elegantly, the 17th century’s way. Fortunately they played better than they bowed.
The orchestra, although clearly an amateur orchestra, played with gusto, and in general quite well. Only 2 of the brass players had every so often some trouble in keeping up with the rest, in terms of rhythm and tempo as well as in terms of melody. This was distinctly noticeable in the Corelli Sonata for brass only. The director, one of the oboe players, is a teacher at the music school in Montceau-les-Mines, and certainly the other reed players were most likely some of his more gifted students.
In general one can say that the concert was a very enjoyable one.
Not all concerts given here are performed by French musicians. Because there are a lot of Dutch and Swiss people living around here, either permanently or temporarily, there are regularly concerts by Dutch and Swiss ensembles as well. Certainly the madrigals performed by a Dutch choir still sticks in my mind, not in the least because of the superb acoustics of this church.
The only drawback of this venue are the church seats. Even after five minutes I will develop an acute back ache; however, we bring our own cushions, which makes “sitting” out a concert possible!

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

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