A Chateau and a Concert

A Chateau and a Concert

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Bordeaux region, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  How about an unforgettable holiday with us at  New Years’ Jazz in Italy?

Our final day at Orpheus and Bacchus begins with an after-breakfast walk to the nearest village, Gensac.

cam14588k That jaunty red car  in front of the town café

cam14589would be a fun way to tool around these winding vineyard wrapped lanes,

cam14591watching as the harvest begins.
After the last Hummel presentation by Nova Luce, we join other festival participants for a visit to Chateau Guadet in St. Emilion. Guy Petrus invites us into his garden

cam14604and begins our tour with the history of the family and vineyards, then takes us into the cellars

cam14612before we taste his excellent vintages.

Tonight we have a special treat as musicians of Nova Luce join the Wihan quartet in a Mendelssohn Octet – breathtakingly beautiful music!

cam14638And after dinner the music continues on into the night as the younger musicians of Nova Luce persuade Leos, Wihan’s first violin, to join them in some playful music making. What a privilege it’s been to spend four days with these marvelous artists!

Tomorrow we’re off to the lush green Dordogne valley…

Bergerac, Beethoven and Brahms

Bergerac, Beethoven and Brahms

Monday, September 26, 2016
Bordeaux region, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  How about an unforgettable holiday with us at  New Years’ Jazz in Italy?

Yes, that’s unmistakably Cyrano, as in Cyrano de …..



looking proudly up at the church of St. James, with its unusual single-walled bell tower.




Bergerac was a stop for pilgrims heading to northeast Spain on the Camino of St. James, and with its riverside setting was also a center for trade centuries ago. Today a gabare (flat-bottomed boat) or two takes tourists up and down the quiet river,



and trade has moved elsewhere, leaving a quietly inviting town




with several pretty lanes.



Bergerac wines are becoming better known, and a beautiful old cloister, now the Maison du Vin, shares the history of the area and offers tastings.



A majestic chateau overlooking the valley is our next stop – Chateau Monbazillac, the center for production of the sweet dessert wine of the same name.



After taking in the sweeping views from the castle,


we sample the wines


and don’t leave empty handed!
Another evening of glorious music, this time Beethoven and Brahms, awaits us, with the Wihan quartet and friends, followed by dinner, then a casual session of music


(before which I had the pleasure of playing more Dvorak duets with Hélène, the marvelous pianist of the Nova Luce ensemble).
As we drifted to sleep in our room below, the music continued above us….what a way to fall asleep!



St. Emilion & a Double Piano Treat!

St. Emilion & a Double Piano Treat!

Sunday, September 25, 2016
Bordeaux region, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  How about an unforgettable holiday with us at  New Years’ Jazz in Italy?

Fall is such a fabulous time to be in southwest France, with brilliant reds and golds garnishing the grapes heavy on the vines (harvest is a little late this year). cam14470We start our day with a morning walk in the vines, and every once in a while move aside when a bike or two whizzes by – cam14472there’s a rally going on in the neighborhood.
New this year at Orpheus and Bacchus, a group of younger musicians are presenting the works of Hummel, an under-rated composer of the late 18th and early 19th century. The “shade of Hummel” strides into the room and shares reflections of his life and interaction with Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, cam14475then the Nova Luce ensemble beautifully performs some of his arrangements and compositions. After lunch with the musicians we’re on our way to Saint Emilion, our favorite Bordeaux wine village. cam14487Set on a hill above miles of rolling vine-striped hills dotted with elegant world-renowned chateaus, it’s eagerly awaiting the harvest. Wine boutiques offer the prized elixir on every lane, and the amazing monolithic (rock-hewn) church soars from underneath the ground to the highest point of town. cam14488The steep streets ramble under arches cam14489and down beside vines growing right in the village, and on the steepest lane of all, cam14498we find our reward – delicious canelés, the chewy pastry of the region.
From the top of the town we look out over terracotta roofs clustered along medieval cobbled lanes, cam14510then wave goodbye to one of Bordeaux’s loveliest.cam14525The Wihan Quartet opens the evening of music with Schubert’s Death of the Maiden Quartet, then pianist Ben Frith wows us with Schubert’s last sonata. A concert on the unique duo-clave piano was on the schedule for tonight, but one of the pianists was unwell and could not come to the festival, so Ben stepped in with this astoundingly beautiful and challenging sonata – just happened to have it “up his sleeve”!
A special treat awaited me before the after-dinner concert, when, with another pianist I….    well, I’ll let Kirk tell you about it:
“Positively giddy with excitement, Anne played a Dvořák piano duet on a Pleyel two keyboard piano. Scroll down for the video!
First she had to roll it to center stage, cam14526athen find her keyboard under the heavy protective padding.

cam14526bThis takes a little coordination, deciding who’s playing which part (Sight-reading! First time I’d seen this music)
Gaining speed on the runway,cam14526e and we have lift-off (click here to listen to the music)!cam14526cvideotooThese 4 hand, 2 keyboard, 1 instrument pianos are a novelty. Only fewer than 50 on the planet. But better playing eye to eye than shoulder to shoulder – and you have the use of the entire keyboard without overlap or collision. I suppose you could play it with 8 hands. I didn’t count them but I think there are 176 strings in there.”
This was certainly the most fun I’ve EVER had at a music festival!