Sunday, August 31, 2008

August: Septembre Musical de l'Orne

Hard to believe it's the last day of this long, enjoyable, and, we think, very successful tour. Nice to finish up in Normandy, our third performance on this tour in this part of France. The Septembre Musical de L'Orne had invited us in 2002, and we were happy to come back and see familiar faces. This time the performance was actually in the Sarthe, in the town of Mamers. We drove there from Le Mans for a 5pm performance.

Notre Dame de Mamers.

Our dressing room was in this handsome building, next door to the church. It was a typical day in Normandy- alternating rain and sunshine- but with the good luck which has attended this whole tour (except when Gabe got stuck in the elevator in Krakow as the bus waited outside to take us to the airport) it didn't rain when we made our way to and from the dressing room.

As always in these small churches, a warm and lively acoustic and a very friendly audience. Our program was called "Les Messagers de l'Amour" - also the title of the festival. Steven Stucky's Cradle Songs were very well received, as were Chen Yi's arrangements of Chinese folk songs, and of course, Mahler's Ich bin der welt...

The Concert and the tour are over. Wonderful to have our last exit in the daylight.

Philippe Toussaint, President of this festival and the Federation Francaise des Festivals Internationaux de Musique gives his reaction to Brian, Gabe and Adam as they pack up the CD table. We left right away for an overnight at Charles De Gaulle airport and home tomorrow. It's been great, but we're looking forward to going home. Thanks for joining us and see you soon.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

August: Capella Cracoviensis - the Salt Mine

The blog is coming from the wi-fi Market Square of Krakow

Krakow is an energetic town, day and night. Our day off yesterday between performances allowed us to pay a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, to get to know Krakow better, and for Alan and Dylan to rent bikes, as usual. We were looking forward to our debut Underground.

Arriving at what will be the most unusual performance venue we've ever experienced. This Salt Mine has been active ( and still is) since the 14th century, is open to visitors. In side is the Chapel sculpted by miners out of the salt in the l9th Century, called the St. Kinga Chapel. The sculptures, made by miners, are of salt, and the crystals in the Chandeliers are salt crystals.

To get to the Chapel you go six at a time, in a tiny metal lift which goes down by stages. A number of conjoined 'cabins'
hold 30 people. The audience has to come down the same way - or take a very long staircase. We went down in the dark, in stages, for what seemed ( on the descent) to be a small eternity.

After the elevator, further down.

A bit hard to photograph, but you may get the idea. We're l00 meters down at this point. There's a restaurant and shop even further down.

Sculptures and reliefs everywhere in salt ( including a life size Pope John Paul II)

We had been warned, as had the audience, that it would be 14C, and therefore cold. On the contrary, we found the temperature to be ideal. Rehearsal immediately revealed the magnificent acoustic - and of course, the complete silence.

Remember the view from our dressing room in LaBeaume? This is the view from our dressing area in the Salt Mine.

We performed our composed mass "Divine Tapestry" for an audience which was spectacularly quiet and amazingly still - as people had told us they would be. Add to that the natural acoustic and the fact of being underground - and the conditions were perfect!

An instant standing ovation from the audience which had concentrated completely throughout the 80 minute performance.
Then they had to wait in line to get the elevators back up!

many people stayed to talk to us, and express their hope that we'll come back to Poland

out of the elevator

And back up to ground level after one of the most memorable performances experiences we've ever had.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

August: Capella Cracoviensis

Loading up to go back to Krakow for our concert tonight at the Dominican Basilica.

We've been trying to schedule dates in Poland for years - this festival has been waiting, and we're all thrilled it's finally happening. These posters ALL over town, so we guess The Chanticleer has arrived!

The Polish audience was fantastically concentrated - not a pin dropped, nor was there a cough - and fantastically warm at the end. The second of Steven Stucky's Cradle Songs is in Polish to which the response was especially prolonged.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August: Wratislavia Cantans Forum Musicum

We're in the l000 year old city of Wroclaw, Poland which has been rapidly developing in the last ten years. It has a beautiful
old city center, and is clearly very lively. Too bad we can't spend more time.

Jolanta, our interpreter, helps Adam prepare his introduction in Polish. ( She's not laughing AT him...)

A very striking piece of public art - remembering that people in various professions - like publishing - were forced underground during the communist period.

The St. Elisabeth Church on Market Square has been rebuilt many times, having been damaged three times by arson.

Our debut in Poland was an intimate concert in a chamber series - we sang Gabrieli, Gesualdo, and Des Pres.

Monday, August 25, 2008

August: From Rouen to Wroclaw in one long day

Leaving Rouen at lpm. Along with hotel rooms for more than one night, traveling on our own bus is one of the great things.
We'll be sorry to have to give up the bus that's taken us on our big circle around France and get back into the air and all that that entails. Every tour has one unavoidable day like this one, so here it is:

3.30 pm Charles de Gaulle airport

8.30pm Munich Airport. Actually - if you have to be sitting in an airport, Munich is very enjoyable. Eating sausages and sauerkraut and pretzels and the like at Dahlmayr's, we happened to be right there for the return of the German Olympic team. That was probably the highlight of the day!

11pm. Krakow airport

11pm-2.15am between Krakow and Wroclaw

2.15am we're here and we'll find out just where that is tomorrow.