Skip to main content

ENSEMBLE SCANDICUS: CONCERT REVIEW

Every summer, the Chapelle Saint-Germain de Cesseras holds a concert series, usually featuring early music from Bach on back. We've attended a few and found them thoroughly enjoyable. This Sunday's concert was no exception.

The chapel is located a kilometer off the road between Cesseras and Siran on a narrow track that winds through woods and vines. No reservations. Parking in a field. Tickets are 13 euros and include a tasting after the concert provided by a neighboring domain. The chapel, built in the 11th and 12th Centuries as the parish church of a village that has since disappeared, is quite simple with a dirt floor and a barely raised altar area. Folding chairs provide seating for about 100.

Ensemble Scandicus led off this year's series. Based in Toulouse, Scandicus features all male voices - two counter-tenors, two tenors, and a bass in Sunday's configuration. One tenor played flute and oud, a second tenor assisted occasionally on percussion, and an instrumentalist provided percussion and played a particularly delicate santour (a Persian form of hammered dulcimer). The program was a new one for the ensemble, sephardic music of Spain and across the Med from the 14th through the 17th Century.

I'm no vocal critic but I found the voices perfectly suited to each other and to the chapel. Those old stone spaces are made for this sort of music, requiring no amplification and ringing clear throughout the space. At points, a very few points, a bit of hesitation might have indicated that this new program required a bit more rehearsal. But that's a quibble. This was a truly enjoyable concert. The audience applauded long and loud at the finish. And even though the wine at the end was not exactly distinguished, at least it was cold and wet.

The next concert in the series should be interesting - Japanese shakuachi flute. In a thousand year-old chapel in France. A half hour from where I live. What a life!

Check out the Ensemble Scandicus website HERE.
Check out the concert schedule at the Chapelle Saint-Germain HERE.







Comments

Popular posts from this blog

GRAND CAFE OCCITAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

  We made our way to a new restaurant the other day, up toward the hills past La Liviniere in the small town of Felines-Minervois. None of our party had been there before, but a friend had visited and said that she'd enjoyed it. She's a vegetarian. First clue. Now don't get me wrong. I have no gripe with those who choose to go meatless. I understand the environmental concerns and I understand the horrors of factory farming. But I also understand that form follows function in the design of tools, in the design of appliances, and in the design of human teeth. Our incisors and canines did not develop over the course of hundreds of thousands of years to rend the flesh of a fresh-caught broccoli. We are omnivores by design, Darwinian design. And I enjoy eating omni. Enough preamble... I never went inside the Grand Cafe Occitan. A young lady who would be our server met us at the front door of the nicely pointed old stone house, leading us to a pebble-covered courtyard on the side

MONARCHY, BUTT PATTING, SELF CHECKOUT, AND RANDOM STUFF: #17

  MONARCHY It is not possible to be an English-speaking expat living in Europe without having gained some understanding of how the UK works and how UK policies and politics affect European life. And so, a word about the monarchy is in order today. I'm no monarchist. As an American, I have grown up believing in liberal democracy. Today, I consider myself a democratic socialist. But I have come to appreciate the manner in which British royalty has accommodated itself to the modern world. There is no doubt that accommodation has diminished the role of the monarch. That's probably a good thing. But a diminished monarchy need not necessarily herald the end of the monarchy. Elizabeth's monarchy became simply the personification of her country's flag, to be trotted out to acknowledge community, in good times and in sad times, expressing publicly what was being felt privately. There was a time, during Brexit, when I was furious with Elizabeth. As one of the richest, most well-

THINKING OUT LOUD...