Saturday, 26 December 2015

Jazz concert Carla Bley Chalon-sur-Saône

Jazz concerts featuring "big" names are not very common in this area. The amount of musicians we have had her in the last 10 years with an international reputation can be counted on the fingers of one hand: Jazz Et Caetera and Jazz in Trivy have featured René Urtreger (L'Ascenseur sur l'échafaud with Miles Davis), Rodha Scott has played here once and Biréli Lagrène has played here a number of tims, the last concert together with Didier Lockwood.

Espace des Arts - Chalon-sur-Saône
When not long ago the brochures for Chalon (Espace des Arts) and Mâcon (Le Théâtre) landed in our letterbox we were pleasantly surprised to see that the Carla Bley trio with Steve Swallow – bass and Andy Shephard – tenor and soprano were playing in Chalon.
Carla Bley and Steve Swallow I knew by name although I had never heard them play, not even on record. Paul Bley (Carla's ex) however I had seen and heard live, and I was expecting music along those lines. Tickets were ordered quickly, and I was really looking forward to find out what sort of music this group was playing.

Carla Bley - Internet ca. 2015
Carla Bley, clocking up 80, made a very fragile impression (not so strange at her age) and played surprisingly modest. Something I had difficulty coming to grips with was the fact that all musicians were playing from sheet music, something one does not see very often with jazz groups this size. The music was very calm and quiet, almost docile, and while it is with "normal" jazz concerts not unusual that people are tapping their feet to the beat, the public here was as quiet and calm as the music they were listening to. despite this,

Carla Bley Trio - Internet ca. 2015
I still found it an interesting concert, if only to add Carla Bley to my list of "I have heard him/her live" musicians.
And after this concert it was waiting for another one, this time by John Scofield!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Will the real Mr. Brickmaker please stand up?

We have always thought that Noël Marembeaud, no matter how the name is spelled, has been the founder of La Tuilerie de Chazelle. All clues were pointing in that direction: dozens of bricks we found around the house, a number of floor tiles, some roof tiles, all with his name printed on them, the memorial plaque which I have mentioned earlier, with his name, birth year and year of death chiselled in….

The well known stamp
Whenever we found another broken or damaged brick with his name printed within its distinctive cadre, we hardly looked at them, convinced as we were it was another Marembeaud brick.
Until Sue decided to protect the roots of a plant with some old roof tiles and broken bricks she had found somewhere.

La Tuilerie (sketch Michel Bouillot)
Without any apparent reason I picked up one of the bricks and noticed that the name I was expecting was not that of Marembeaud, but a totally unknown name to me of which most likely the first letter was missing.
Without too much fantasy one might draw the following conclusion: the name on the brick was "(B)OURGEON ANTOINE", with under it the text "(A CHA)ZELLE". The letters between brackets are my guess.

The odd one out
Bourgeon is not an uncommon name around here, and based on the length of the cadre around the name it seemed unlikely that there had been more than one letter in front of OURGEON. The question boils down to the following: who was the founder (or the successor) of La Tuilerie de Chazelle? The name Marembeaud occurs most frequently; Bourgeon we have only encountered once. And maybe Bourgeon was someone who ordered a load of bricks and wanted his name engraved in them.

To tell the truth (Saint Nicholas) Dutch version
To paraphrase the old game show "To tell the truth": "Will the real Mr. Brickmaker please stand up?". However, that would be a resurrection from the grave, I am afraid….

Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Spelling, not the strongest point of the French

Variant 1 : Marambaud
One day we found an old marble, broken commemorative plaque, which was meant to be used in a church or a graveyard.

Variant 2 : Marembeaud
The name on the plaque was that of the man who, in the 19th century, built this house and started the brick factory. However, there was something strange with that name. The name on the plaque was "Noël Marambaud", while a number of bricks which were made here we founds the name of "Noël Marembeaud".
We drew the conclusion that the stone mason must have made a mistake, the plaque was refused by the family and ended up in two pieces somewhere on the corner of a shed.

Variant 2 : Marembeaud
One could consider the marble plaque to be a sort of printer's proof.
A roof tile made in our tuilerie also carried the name of "Noël Marembeaud"., which made the theory of the marble printer's proof quite likely.
Until we found a floor tile with a third variant: "Noël Marembaud".

Variant 3 : Marembaud
But this was not yet the end. This Mr. Marambaud, Marembaud or Marembeaud had a son who was killed in the first world war. In Chazelle's church a plaque can be found which states that a certain "René Marembeau" was killed February 26, 1916; with this we had a 4th variant on our hands.

Variant 4 : Marembeau
On the war memorial in Cormatin it says that a certain "Noël Marembaud" was killed in 1916. A far relative told us that there was only one son killed during the war, hence it is very likely that "René Marembeau" and "Noël Marembaud" are one and the same person.

Variant 3 : Marembaud
We were taught at school that Napoleon introduced the register office and registrations of births, marriages, etc. If this is true, I must admit that the Dutch made a far more thorough job of it than the French did, and still so after approx. a century!

Variant 3 : Marembaud (family grave Chazelle)
Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Checking out the competition

A lot of the people who are staying here, come especially for Taizé, reason why one might forget that there are more religions but the Christian.

Paldenshangpa La Boulaye
One of the things that has been on our list for a very long time was attending a service in the Tibetan Buddhist Temple in la Boulaye.
The temple in itself is a picture; such a colourful building is a rarity in these surroundings. It contrasts rather strongly against the rolling Burgundian hills. It is one of our favourite touristic outings during summer; the gallery overlooking the temple proper can be visited at a small fee, and that is certainly worth the effort.

The percussion section
Every day, at 9h00 and at 18h00, there are prayer services. The morning one is a bit on the early side for us (it takes 5 quarters of an hour to get there), but attending an evening service is doable.
The service started (very un-French!) at 18h00 spot-on. Although the temple was not packed, there were quite a few people present; my guess is that of all present approx. 25 % were tourists.

The altar
The others were either practising Buddhists or people taking part in Buddhist workshops that week. The main part of the service was taken up by a rather monotonous droning of mantras, half way interrupted by a period of silence, and at certain times accompanied by cymbals, a suspended drum, while a man not being part of the percussion section was blowing a shankha or conch.

It certainly was a special experience, and worth watching for those who have only seen or heard something like this in a movie. However, I think that your average Buddhist would say something identical about a Taizé service....

Prayer Book: no subtitles
Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Les Grandes Heures de Cluny

As mentioned in a previous blog Cluny hosts during the summer, as part of a wine festival which has venues throughout the whole of Burgundy (Festival Musical des Grand Crus de Bourgogne), a concert series under the name of Les Grandes Heures de Cluny.
The various concerts take place in the cloister, the garden and the granary of the former abbey and in the church Saint-Marcel.

Farinier - interior
The granary or farinier is one of the former buildings of the abbey that hosts eight columns with beautifully carved capitals, placed around a marble altar, all originating from the old abbey church.
We had ordered tickets for Edgar Moreau, cello player and winner of the Victoire de la Musique (as promising soloist in 2013 and as soloist of the year in 2015), who was going to give a recital of the third and sixth suite by Bach and a sonata by Ligeti.

Our seats
On arrival we bumped again into the President of the festival and his wife, and again two seats had been reserved for us, on the third row this time.
About the concert itself we had conflicting opinions. My better half thought that he played Bach as if he had to catch the TGV to Paris, and she thought the changes in tempo within several parts of a suite too free, actually too jazzy.

Edgar Moreau
On the other hand, I enjoyed the concert, and I was not really bothered by the higher tempi (certainly compared to the CD I have of Fournier). This was most likely the last concert of the 2015 season we were going to attend; we are already looking out to the programs of the various concert halls in the vicinity for 1915-1916 and of the festivals for 2016.

Edgar Moreau
Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Looking for...

One of the walks around Dracy
On one of our quests in search of Romanesque churches we started to look for the former church of Dracy-lès-Couches (near Couches), or the remains there of. This is what we knew:
Dracy-lès-Couches : vieux-cimetière (East side): pans de mur, tombes. Church has been demolished and was replaced by a new one elsewhere; do not bother to go to the new church.
After having done some research we found that one of the signposted walks around Dracy was passing by this ex-church; we found the walk on the internet and we had even spotted some reference on a map to "Ruines Eglise". One would think that after this information the church should not be difficult to find….

The signpost
Based on the above we went to Dracy in July 2014, and lo and behold, we found a signpost saying "Ruines Eglise 300 m". We slithered down the path (it had been continuously raining for the last few weeks, turning the paths into mud covered tracks) and at approx. 300 m we stopped at a gate, with another very muddy path leading to the left and an overgrown bit of woods on the right. Since the paths were so impassable we decided to stop there, again trying to locate an old cemetery left or right from the path we walked down to go back to the car. No need to say that this did not reveal anything; we decided to wait for the dry season and go back again one day.

The signpost disappeared!
That day came, almost spot on, one year later. Our department had suffered from a severe heat wave for a number of weeks by then, without one drop of rain, hence the paths should be no problem this time. However, the pole where we had seen the sign "Ruines Eglise 300 m" was still there, but the sign had disappeared. Only the fixing clips were still there. The paths were no problem this time, and at what we thought to be roughly the 300 m point we took the path to the right for another 300 m, went back, then went down a dry ditch for 200 m, an turned back again.

The path is on the left, the shrubs with the church and graveyard are on the right
On the point where we had turned off to the left however, there was a heap of old stones on the right hand side, at the bottom of the slightly higher wooded area. I thought that this might well be the "remains" of the church, took a picture of it and was about to walk back to the car. My better half however is blessed with a bit more patience than I can muster, and she had disappeared in between the trees behind "my" heap of stones. After a few minutes she shouted "I found it!".

When I climbed the low hill I saw her stooped over some gravestones, hence she had found the cemetery. From "my" heap of stones we then found the foundation of a wall running east-west, and following the foundation we indeed found some heavily overgrown small remains of what must have been the wall of the church. So we had finally found that church! One would say: and, was it worth it? That is debatable, but the picnic we had afterwards certainly was worth the trip!

Part of the church wall
Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Sortie Culturelle : Beajolais

Once a year the Touris Office of Saint-Gengoux-le-National organises a cultural outing.

This year we were going to visit the Beaujolais, with on the program the Musée Claude Bernard in Saint-Julien-en-Beaujolais, the Château du Sou and its chappel in Lacenas, Oingt for a guided tour and for lunch, and finally the inevitable wine tasting at Domaine Boulon in Corcelles-en-Beaujolais.

Château du Sou
About the museum I can be brief; that was as far as I was concerned hardly worth getting off the bus for. The fact that the tour guides completely had forgotten about us after the first part of the visit did not really help.
The Château du Sou turned out to be a very charming building, and the owner, a British lady, gave us an interesting and animated tour around the premises.

Notre-Dame de Lacenas
To my big surprise we could visit, after we had seen the château and its chapel, the former church Notre-Dame. The building hosts a nice collection of frescoes, and despite the "No photographing" signs all over the place one could take pictures as long as the flash was disabled.

Les Pierres Dorées - Oingt
Oingt is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, and it lived up to its name. The houses built of gold-coloured sandstone justify the name of the "pays des pierres dorées"". The lunch we had for € 25 per head at "La Table du Donjon" was worth every penny of it.

La Table du Donjon - Oingt
Even though the Beaujolais is mainly known for its Beaujolais Primeur or Nouveau, it also produces good and affordable wines. We found the "Moulin à Vent" at slightly over € 6 a bottle an excellent wine.
And because the Beaujolais is actually just around the corner, we can warmly recommend a daytrip to this beautiful area!

Domaine Boulon - Corcelles-en-Beaujolais
Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Open air concerts

Saint-Pierre - Mâcon
Open air concerts have one major disadvantage: they are rather weather dependant. We realised that again when we decided to go to a concert on the square in front of the Eglise Saint-Pierre in Mâcon by the Mâcon Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eric Geneste. We had not been very lucky anyway that evening; halfway Cluny and Mâcon a truck got stuck on the part that is a two-lane road, hence the cars were alternately lead past the obstacle via the one free lane.

Fortunately we had left home early enough, at least that is what we thought. After having been able to drive into Mâcon at normal speed we found out that the road through town had been closed, and the centre was a chaos of searching car drivers trying to find their way through the town. Still we were in time on the crime scene to arrest some seats on the last row.

The musicians did not gather inside the church as was to be expected but elsewhere in town, hence we regularly saw some horn players, violinists or clarinettists wandering across the square towards the stage. Very un-French the concert started at 21h10 instead of 21h00 (normal would have been 21h30) with Brahms's Hungarian Dances no. 1, 4 and 5. The church behind the orchestra was colourfully illuminated, the music was very pleasant, in a word, the concert could not have started off better.

The fourth and last piece on the program was Dvořák's cello concerto with soloist Sung-Won-Yang. The first of its 3 parts was wonderful, but after the last notes had sounded it started to rain. The conductor announced, while the musicians brought their instruments into safety, that the concert would continue in 10 minutes time. However, since we had not brought any rain clothing and since it did not look like the rain would stop in 10 minutes, we decided not to get wetter than strictly necessary and drive home as dry as was possible.

Anyway, having heard this orchestra once, we will start looking for a program booklet for the next season, assuming that the orchestra also performs every so often under cover.
Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 5 September 2015


Once a year Cluny hosts a series of concerts as part of the "Festival Musical des Grandes Heures de Cluny".

Our seats
Since we are not exactly inundated here with concerts by top musicians we always keep an eye out for the programming of the series. One of the concerts would take place in the cloister of the abbey, featuring the Camerata of the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouworkest conducted by Lucas Macías Navarro. They would play the Ouverture classique avec quelques bagatelles of Dvořák (for accordion, 2 violins and cello) and a special arrangement by Erwin Stein of Mahler's 4th Symphony. Even though I do not exactly jump with joy when I hear the name of Gustav Mahler, it is also not very often one gets a chance to hear a Chamber orchestra of the Royal Concertgebouworkest performing in Cluny.

Tickets were arranged very quickly through the internet, and because the seating used to be free within the chosen price range, we were there quite early in order not to sit at the back.
The President of this festival is the trumpet player Guy Touvron, who also happens to organise "our" Festival Guitares en Cormatinois. When we entered the cloister, we saw Guy and his wife Isabel seated at the table meant for selling tickets. Both of them waived at us. Isabel, who coordinates the internet tickets, had stumbled upon my name, and had made sure there were two places for us available on the first row.

The chairs should have a piece of paper attached to it with my name on it.
Everything worked out as planned, and we never had had such good seats for a concert. The concert itself was excellent as well. Stein's arrangement of Mahler's symphony sounded every so often quite modern, maybe due to the fact that Stein knew both Maher and Schönberg personally.
And now we are waiting for the next concert!

Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Museum collection on a kitchen chair

The museum is open between April and Oktober, Saturdays and Sundays from 15h00 till 18h00, and is free as well.

The museum
The collection of this tiny museum consists of amongst others a Merovingian sarcophagus from Curtil-sous-Burnand, a number of small and larger pieces of flint stone and some old coins, whilst the first floor is dedicated to Romanesque architecture.
The first time we visited this museum was with a big group of people of the Tourist Office in Saint-Gengoux.

During this first, very brief visit we thought that the first floor had not much more but a collection of scale models, drawings and photographs of the churches of Mont-Saint-Vincent and Gourdon. Still, the maker of Bourgogne Romane thought that there might be more Romanesque stuff in this museum.

Ground floor
From an earlier blog it may be clear that we already had undertaken another attempt to pay a second visit to this museum.

First floor
Finally we decided to try out luck once more, this time on our way back from a visit to a former brick factory in Ciry-le-Noble. This time we hit the jackpot. The museum was open, and the ground floor certainly had no Romanesque items, hence we decided to look upstairs. At the bottom of the stairs there were two light switches, taped off with cello tape and a notice saying "Do not touch!".

The chair
It looked as if switching on the lights might cause a short circuit somewhere. Hence we had to investigate the top floor with the light shining through the windows. The scale models, drawings and pictures were still there, but in a dark corner we found a kitchen chair with three pieces of stone and a sign telling us that these were "Rare remains of the priory". Next to it, on a wooden pedestal, there was a modillon with an Atlante.

75 % of the collection
According to Wikipedia: In classical European architecture, an atlas (also known as an atlant, or atlante or atlantid; plural atlantes) is a support sculpted in the form of a man, which may take the place of a column, a pier or a pilaster. The term atlantes is the Greek plural of the name Atlas – the Titan who was forced to hold the sky on his shoulders for eternity.
So this appeared to be the whole Romanesque collection of the museum. However, one has to admit that a museum where the Romanesque remains easily fit on a kitchen chair is certainly something special!

The remaining 25%
Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.