The local music scene

I’ve just come back from an excellent concert in Bréau, given by Christine Capieu’s ensemble I Musicanti.

The quality of playing is unrecognisable from the days when I used to play with her and Charles and Pierre.  Now the ensemble is made up of three retired professionals all living in Bréau – Christine (soprano and harpsichord), Steven Rivers-Moore (recorder) and Fanchon Ligny (violin) – and a very good, almost professional, bassoonist from the village of Molières down the road (plus, this evening, her really good bassoon teacher). The accoustics in the Bréau Temple could be criticised for their slight echo, but it is very satisfying playing and listening to music there.  The temple’s circular form adds to a sense of intimacy too.

Tomorrow I will go to le Vigan to listen to a performance by a Montpellier ensemble of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  For many years I could not listen to them, as they have been so overplayed.  But enough time has passed to look forward to this performance.  Then next week there will be a concert by the Orchestre Chambre des Cévennes (which I will not be attending).

All this comes after my continued participation in the Ecole de Musique’s end of term events.  Scarcely had I recovered from the enjoyable joint concert* with the Orchestre des Cévennes, when I had to bring the first movement of the Boismortier sonata I have been playing up to scratch for the Ecole’s end of term ‘auditions’ – concerts primarily for the pupils’ families, which took place in the wonderful salon at the Chateau d’Assas (now used as the municipal library or ‘médiatheque’). My performance was not brilliant – my nerves mean that all nuances go out of the window – but I survived.

Actually, it has to be said, the level of music-making by the school’s pupils is not very high – with the exception of one extraordinay eight-year-old Chinese boy who after three years is tackling pieces of formidable technical virtuosity.  Talking to Fanchon, my violinist friend who played this evening, and has taught him when a supply teacher, the big problem is his pushy mum.  She fears he may not survive if the mother does not ease up.  She knows, as she is the daughter of professional musicians who pushed their family so much that all have essentially dropped out of most classical music performing.

Still, the fact is that for a rural backwater we do have an extraordinary number of inhabitants who play music – or paint, or write…


  • Here are a couple of video links from last month’s concert.  I can be seen (briefly) in the first clip, second desk cellos, next to my teacher, Jennifer.  In the second clip I am completely hidden (I’m glad to say) by two little girls in the choir. But playing the Verdi in this clip was much more enjoyable.
    There is also quite a jolly montage from rehearsals, including one of my teacher, Jennifer.
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