Thursday, 28 July 2011

Baroque Music Festival - The Churches - Part 2

Friday - 29 July 2011

As a counterpoint to Saturday's itinerary,
Friday offers three different concerts at a single Church.

 Between concerts you will be able to participate in lectures...


... a guided walk through the local countryside,

...the village of Cercles.... well as to freely mix with the musicians...

...all the while quenching your thirst and appetite...

...with food and drinks from the Cafe Baroque.

In addition, purveyors will offer wine, Gourmet items, and fine local crafts.

The Church - L'Eglise Abbatiale de Cercles

Located in a well-protected site between a small square
shaded by...

...beautiful old lime trees...

...and an ancient cemetery...

...with the graves and ancient tombstones surrounded by grass,

this former priory of Saint-Cybard in Angouleme was built on Romanesque foundations,
though only the nave remains from that period.
The first mention of a Prior of Cercles dates from 1115.
In this era (11th and 12th Centuries) the area around Verteillac
had many Romanesque Churches with cupolas, or domes.
Certain of them are fortified, bearing witness to the insecurity which reigned in this frontier region.
Cercles also possessed at this time a stone church, probably fortified.
Some elements of this have been re-used, notably in the lower part of the present nave.

The transept  dates from the 13th - 14th Century
and the entire structure is vaulted in ogives of the 16th and 17th Century.

In spite of technical imperfections in the construction of the walls,
the structure as a whole is beautifully proportioned,

 ...while the decor of the capitals sitting atop the columns lends to a certain lightness.

These sculptures on a group of about thirty capitals dating from the early 13th Century,
are attributed to sculptors from the Angouleme region.

 The capitals are beautifully sculpted, in a lime stone with a very fine grain,
and in an astonishing style:

masks, foliage, flowers, rose-shapes, moon faces,
entwined beasts, facing each other or back-to back,

 geometric ornaments,

some are sculptured with elaborate leaves which recall the sculptures
of Notre-Dame de Paris, or of Reims......


Programme de la Journee:

11h:  Ouverture de Baroque en Cercles
Cafe Baroque - Itinéraire Gourmand - Marché Artisanal


12h:  Mini Classic with  THE CLASSIC BUSKERS 
Bach, Offenbach, Mozart, Rossini, Ravel, Bizet, Tchaikovsky

Michael COPLEY, toutes les flutes possible et impossibles
Ian MOORE, accordéon rose ou jaune

The Classic Buskers, that mind-blowing pair, are returning to Cercles,
to our very great pleasure, with arias by Mozart and Rossini,
Ravel's Bolero, and even Bizet's Carmen.
Virtuosity and humour are once more the keynote!


 15h: - A round-table discussion with several musicians

'Douce Beaute' - 'Sweet Beauty'

In the poetic repertoire of the 16th century, 
there is no part of the body which does not deserve to be mentioned in song.
First rank composers, such as Lassus, Jannequin and Sweelinck,
and also their less famous colleagues, - all men and all married -
have changed the emphasis of the poems to golden hair, brown eyes, red lips and long necks.

The songs, madrigals and villanelles, which the quartet sings exude,
contrary to what one might think, courteous respect and dazzling admiration.

No dissenting word can be heard!
To sing of feminine beauty remains nevertheless a hazardous business,
even in our so-called modern age.
However Egidius does so, and has done for many years,
for both the public's pleasure and their own, and certainly with those 
same good sentiments and intentions which we will now enjoy.


18h:  Café Baroque - Lecture on the Church of Cercles, Place of Genesis

 On the exterior of the entrance, six capitals, 
resembling the Angouleme or Saintogne styles,
decorate the portal

Like the capitals inside the church,

 these on the porch do not seem to be local,
and are sculptured with great virtuosity.

Animals in combat, tracery, monsters.......



Sonatas from Purcell, Dall'Abaco, Pla, Rebel and Zelenka

There is a temptation to compare ZEFIRO'S music to wine tasting,
and to speak of fruity and elegant notes.
If baroque composers rendered homage to wind instruments
they were certainly thinking of these musicians.

The golden age of Oboe and Bassoon

In the second half of the 17th Century major changes occurred in western music.
As a result of this, two main national styles were established as models all over Europe:
the "singing" Italian and the "dancing" French.
Soon all other European countries would adopt these styles and often mix one with the other,
in an respectful exchange that symbolizes the desire for an united Europe
that was already evident in the artistic environment.
Also, a series of new musical instruments still used in modern times.
Among these, the oboe and the bassoon became so successful 
after their development in France between 1660 and 1680, that they were
immediately introduced in the musical life of all the other European countries.
In contrast to the previous shawms, they had a wide dynamic range,
the ability to play in many tonalities, a sound that could easily blend with string instruments.
This versatility made them suitable for many purposes, such as playing in the orchestra,
in chamber music, dialoguing with the voices, playing open air etc....
These qualities were acknowledged by many important composers.
It's remarkable to notice that the large majority of solo parts
for the oboe and for the bassoon date from before 1750.
(by Alfredo Bernardini)

Alfredo Bernardini, oboe and direction
Paolo Grazzi, oboe
Alberto Grazzi, bassoon
Paolo Zuccheri, violon
Luca Guglielmi, clavecin

My wish for this year 2011, the 10th anniversary of the Itineraire Baroque,
is that it will be the most joyous possible.
Music is a celebration, and it is in this spirit that I have programmed the festival -
first staged in 2001 with my dear Périgordine friends -
for the great pleasure, I hope, of all of you.

This is why I have invited for this celebration musicians and their ensembles
who have already performed here and had great success:
The Egidius Kwartet, the Classic Busters, Fabio Bonizzoni and his group the Rizonnanza,
and Zefrio directed by Alfredo Bernardini.
In addition to their great talent,
these artists know how to entertain and enchant their audience.

to be continued....


  1. If stones could tell us stories ...

    Viel Freude bei kulinarischen und musikalischen Genüssen!

    Herzlicher Gruß!

  2. Karin, we love all of the architectural details. Simply a work of art. This sense of history is so prevalent and almost transports you to another place in time.
    Angela and Renee

  3. Gorgeous post and what a great use for the old churches!!!!!!!!The food looks delicious and I loved the mix of the wooden and marble pews in the church......Thanks!Maryanne xo

  4. My gosh Karin! Your photographs never cease to amaze me. I miss your letters. Hope you have time soon.


  5. KARIN HOW SPLENDID iv e just caught up on all your last posts great to see you at last too Im swooning over the architecture ,music ,paintings flowers and figs !! all my favourites HOW WONDERFUL the concerts im GREEN though im going to Lonodn in October to hear my hero Dmitri Hvorostovsky so cant complain ! too much thankyou for your visit and sweet cimments too LOve Fay xxx