Saturday, 24 September 2016

Les Grandes Heures de Cluny

In 2014 and 2015 we attended for the first time a few concerts in the series "Les Grandes Heures de Cluny", and we were very content with what we saw and heard. That was the reason we decided to subscribe to all concerts this year.

2015 Farinier : Edgar Moreau
"Les Grandes Heures de Cluny" is a series of classical concerts that takes place in July/August, which in itself is part of an even bigger event, the "Festival Musical des Grands Crus de Bourgogne".
In short: The concerts are given at various locations in Cluny. Last year the Cloister of the abbey was used for the bigger events (like the Chamber Orchestra of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra), while the Farinier of the abbey was hosting the more intimate concerts. After each concert there is a wine tasting on offer (at a price though) offered by various prestigious caves from the area around Cluny, such as Viré, Igé, etc.

2016 Transept : Ensemble vocal Beatus
This year there were even more venues. The program started off with a (free) presentation of the series with musical accompaniment of pianist Thomas Enhco and marimba player Vassilena Serafimova in the Cloître.
The first concert: : "Lux Lucis – Chants Byzantins & Grégoriens", by the Ensemble vocal Beatus in the Transept. An excellent concert of religious music by five singers in a location that was built for the occasion.

2016  Cloître : Orchestre Lutetia
Concert no. 2: A Beethoven concert by the Orchestre Lutetia conducted by Alejandro Sandler with pianist Frank Braley in the Cloître. the ouverture Coriolan, the fourth piano concerto and the seventh symphony.
The third concert:Chamber music of Haydn, Schumann and Dvorak by the Quatuor Ludwig with pianist Dana Ciocarlie in the Farinier.
Concert no. 4: "La Trompette dans tous ses Eclats", a varied but mainly Baroque program featuring six excellent trumpet players (alone, with two, three and even six players) accompanied by the Orchestre Lutetia conducted by Alejandro Sandler in the Cloître.

2016 Cloître : Simon Fournier & Nicolas André
Concert no. 5: Mozart's Requiem by the Choeur & Orchestre de l'Ain conducted by Eric Reynaud in the Eglise Saint-Marcel (again an excellent choice for this type of music).
The sixth and last concert: Music of Grieg, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich by the Orchestre de Chambre de Minsk conducted by Evgeny Bushkov with pianist Kyril Keduk and trumpet player Guy Touvron in the Eglise Saint-Marcel.

2016 Eglise Saint-Marcel: Orchestre & Choeur de l'Ain
And than there is still a seventh concert, even though it is outside the series: Jordi Savall with the Spanish percussionist Pedro Estevan and the Moroccan oud player Driss El Maloumi with a program called "Orient Occident". This very last concert will most likely be covered by a separate blog.
Summarizing I can say that, in hind sight, I regret that we did not take much notice of this particular series earlier. Each and every concert in the 2016 series was of excellent quality, the programming was varied and the venues for the concerts were chosen very carefully. Les Grandes Heures will certainly be on our program for the 2017 version!

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Saturday, 10 September 2016

Guitares en Cormatinois 2016: the balance

Every year the same question crops up: was the programming this year good enough, did we manage to get sufficient spectators, were the receipts sufficient to cover the costs and is there still sufficient money in the kitty to pay for next year's edition?

Guitares en Cormatinois 2016
Those questions keep popping up before and after each festival, during every meeting, and in case of a negative answer the next question is undoubtedly "What can we do about it?".
Last year more attention was paid to anticipate the prevalent taste (folk music seems to be the magic word this year, a homage to popular artists long gone is always a crowd puller), to find catchy titles for the programs, to engage musicians who could be crowd pullers, but within our budget, etc.
And that has paid off.

Full house : Rossfelder
The church was more than half full during the first concert of Duo Duende, Bruel sings Brel gave, as expected, a full house, with Rossfelder there was no space left for the volunteers (they listened sitting outside the church), for the Corsican Polyphonies the volunteers found a space behind the altar while for Irish kind off we had to send people away after having sold the "places" next and behind the altar.

The volunteers
Financially it has been an excellent series, the reactions of the public concerning the quality of the concerts was positive, the blog I wrote before the festival, which I forwarded to some friends, resulted in at least 10 reservations (on a total of approx. 100 available seats!), in a word, after some festivals which could have done better financially, last series gives good hope for the future!

What one of the volunteers saw of the three Corsicans
Will be (fortunately), continued.
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