Another day, another 11th century Church, this time L’Eglise de Saint André in Tourettes. Thank God, literally, for thick stone walls, which provided some respite from the searing heatwave conditions outside, but there would still have been plenty of sweaty moments and sticky fingers, no doubt, for the performers.
The concert featured the ten students of the Musique Cordiale Academy 2017, young artists aged from 15-20 who work with a team of experienced professionals (lead by Levon Chilingirian) to develop individual and ensemble skills. At the end of a ten day stint they joined in with the Musique Cordiale Orchestra and also presented solo and chamber items in their own concert.
As ever, their endeavours were inspiring. I mean, what’s not to love about young players, full of potential, full of enthusiasm, playing at a consistently high level, with frequent flashes of brilliance thrown in for good measure. There was some spirited ensemble playing and solos ranging from brave but blustery to utterly amazing. There were also poignant moments: the audience were there with one player as she stumbled, stopped, thought about giving up, then took a deep breath and pressed on; we drank up the delight of a new work, composed that week, by one of the students; and we saw their glee at sitting right in the thick of an orchestra, alongside professional players.
The Musique Cordiale Academy is not your average music camp: it’s exclusive stuff, elite training for elite students in a bijoux festival in the South of France. But it its own small way it demonstrates the importance of the generational transfer of skills and knowledge, as cherished artists pass on their wisdom and — who knows? — perhaps refresh their own artistic lives as well.