Every year, a group called Friends of the Organ present concerts to the benefit of the maintenance fund for the fine pipe organ in the Catholic church in Cazouls-les-Beziers, the town in which we owned our first home in France. We've attended a couple of those concerts in the past and have not been disappointed. One night, two local choirs gave separate recitals, then joined en masse for a few final numbers. High level, pleasing albeit amateur performances. On another occasion, a soprano of regional renown entertained us most professionally. So we were on board when we learned that Le Petit Choeur d'Occitanie (The Little Occitan Choir) would be performing Renaissance music in costume in the church this past weekend.
I cannot tell a lie. The concert was amateurish beyond excuse. Perhaps a test run for new material, perhaps a case of aspirations outstripping ability, whatever the reason, the concert was simply an embarrassment. I will not go into detail. It was bad. Period.
Why write about it, then? Why not just give them a pass? If I have nothing good to say, why say anything at all?
As a restaurant reviewer in another life, I made it clear to my editors that I would not praise a meal that didn't meet certain standards. When a venue later to be named one of the 100 top restaurants in the States served my wife inedible skate, I had no alternative but to report the transgression. My insistence on honesty cost me my job. As a reviewer who has commented on every venue that I have visited since moving to France, and as my own editor, can I expect any less of myself today?