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Thread: Motets Festifs a grand-choeur - Concert at Aix-en-Provence

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    Motets Festifs a grand-choeur - Concert at Aix-en-Provence

    [diacritic mark suppressed in the title above to facilitate the URL)

    Motets Festifs à grand-choeur - Concert by Les Festes d'Orphée, Aix-en-Provence

    On the occasion of Opera Lively's coverage of the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence (see the Portal that gathers all the links for the various articles by clicking [here]), we also attended a concert in one of the parallel festivals, the XXème Festival de Musiques Patrimoniales by the Baroque ensemble Les Festes d'Orphée (founded in 1986), directed by Guy Laurent. This festival that happened from July 2 through July 7 was also aptly named "Aix-en-Baroque" and included one conference and four concerts. For future seasons, information and reservation can be had at phone number 04 42 99 37 11. Their email is and their website is .

    The concerts happened in the beautiful Chapelle du Sacré-Coeur at Rue Cépède. The one we saw was on July 3rd, featuring the following program:

    Claudio Monteverdi: Cantate Domino (Libro Primo de Motetti)

    Antonio Vivaldi: Credo (grand motet, RV 592)

    André Campra: Grand Dixit (grand motet), Psaume 110

    Pierre-César Abeille: Psaume 148 - Misericordias Domini in aeternum Cantabo

    Handel: De Torrente (duo, extrait du Dixit)

    Francis Poulenc: Salve Regina (motet)

    Pierre Villette: Notre-Père d'Aix

    Also, instrumental interludes were played, including Campra's Suite, Handel's Water Music (suite n. III, HWV 350), and Giovanni Gabrieli's Sonate XXI.


    Soloists included Laure Bonnaure, Odile Boyer, Catherine Soubrouillard (dessus), Béatrice Estienne (alto), Dominique Bouillat and Guy Laurent (basses).

    The ensemble also featured a Grand-choeur with 31 singers, and instrumentalists Annick Lassalle (viole de gambe), Marc Duvernois (basson), Corinne Bétirac (clavecin and orgue de choeur), Jean-Michel Hey, Jean-Thomas Hulard, and Guy Laurent (flûtes).

    Guy Laurent conducted.

    The playbill included the texts for all the pieces, and those in Italian and Latin had translations into French.


    This festival was created in 1996 and runs simultaneously with the prestigious Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. It focuses on showcasing, side-by-side with great composers like Handel and Vivaldi, local composers from the Provence region or the city of Aix itself. Under the authority of Guillaume Poitevin (1646-1706, maître de musique of the Saint-Sauver Cathedral, a generation of talented composers blossomed in Aix, including Campra (the best known), Gilles (author of a famous Requiem), Belissen, Pelegrin, Estienne, and Blanchard. Regional composers in Marseille and other parts of the Provence include Audiffren, Gautier, Abeille, Auffand, Hugues, Mouret, Vallière, and others. Conserved in libraries, there are hundreds of their pieces that got conserved but rarely played. The Festes d'Orphée ensemble has as its main mission the rediscovery of these pieces.

    This was a very beautiful concert. The chorus was excellent, and while some of the pieces were less interesting and repetitious, some others were exquisite. I particularly liked Poulenc's Salve Regina, very melodious and poignant, and Vivaldi's Credo was simply spectacular. I was very pleased with the fragment of André Campra's Grand Dixit, which made me curious to get to know better this composer from Aix-en-Provence.

    This was a very enjoyable concert, to wet my appetite for the great four days ahead, when I saw extraordinary performances in the main festival (reviewed elsewhere - see the Portal above, for those).

    Here are a couple pictures I took of the church and the concert:

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    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); July 8th, 2016 at 03:15 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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