Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Concert in Chapaize

La Tuilerie Website

Starting Easter weekend and going on throughout the summer, there are classical concerts of all genres in the beautiful Romanesque church of Chapaize. Saturday night we went to see “Les Symphonies du Roy” playing an interesting selection of Baroque music. They had a woodwind section of five instruments (three oboe d’amours, one cor anglais and one bassoon) a four man brass section (two trumpets, one unknown instrument the size of a trumpet but looking a bit like a French horn [if anyone knows what it is please let me know] and a French horn), finally they had a percussionist playing two kettle drums. They were fronted by a narrator who told the story about the pieces that were about to be played, filled in the gaps when the group were re-tuning instruments and (very handy indeed) he gave the lead as to when we should clap, always useful as you can never be sure when to clap when the pieces are so short and there are so many of them!

The woodwind section were well balanced and very good for an amateur group but the brass (as usual in my opinion) were a bit varied in abilities! The first trumpet mostly played the right notes, the second trumpet played with gusto but not always in tune or on time, the unknown instrument was played well and the French horn was played very well indeed. The percussionist was also very good.

Les Symphonie du RoyIt appears from the bumph that the lead oboist is a woodwind teacher at the music school in Montceau-les-Mines and that the bulk of the players were students. The brass section looked too old to be students, which may explain the difference in quality of playing between them and the rest.

The whole group were dressed up like musketeers including hats with feathers, which was sort of cute, but the silly waving of the hats in a musketeer bow after a piece gave a very amateurish and comic effect that I am sure was not intended. The front-man was dressed in “gentleman’s” period clothing with a long white wig, which I suppose fitted in with the theme but well ummm….

The acoustics in the church are fabulous for music, which is what makes this such a popular venue and this old music resounded round the church quite beautifully. All in all, a very enjoyable evening.

You can find out about concerts organised by Chapaize Culture for the rest of the season by clicking here. They also have free organ and harp concerts in the daytime throughout the summer, you can just wander in and listen, however, you are expected to leave a donation for the church restoration fund, having said that they are worth every penny. One thing though, if you do go to any of the concerts, don’t forget to take a cushion, the seats are unbearably hard!

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