Early Music Festival Utrecht 2014 part 12

Fabulous fringe concert: Ensemble Arts Libres

After the bubbly fringe concert by Rinnovatori (see part 11), my last fringe of the day was by ensemble Arts Libres in the Herz room of Tivoli-Vredenburg. From the previous visits, I had learned to arrive early to ensure I’d get a program sheet.

With sheet and the paper every member of an audience receives to vote for performing musicians, I climbed the stairs and found myself a nice seat in a back row. On my left were two empty seats, then a quiet woman. Directly on my right sat a young man. There were a few empty seats in the row, but the Herz room was filling up fast.

Two Dutch backpackers arrived. They claimed two seats next to the woman on my left, by asking the people to her left to stand up to let them and their rucksacks pass through – emphatically. There was still easier seating available but apparently, they had set their hearts on our row.

Next, they asked “to have a look at” my program, so I leaned across three seats to lend them my sheet. I did not get it back, till I emphatically demanded it back. It did not stop there.

After a few moments, the quiet woman stood up and politely asked me, my neighbour, the rest of the row on that side, if we please would let her pass so she could find another seat. The Dutch back-packing ladies chattered loudly and kept poking her. In short: they pestered her out of her seat. On purpose, for she had the perfect seat in the middle of the row, and the moment she stood up, one of the cloggies shifted into the just vacated seat. Never before had I witnessed such crash and very Dutch behaviour at a classical music event.

No – of course the Dutch back-packers noise did not stop there. But I guess the concert hall was lucky the two cloggies at least turned down their volume during the moments Salomé Gasselin and Justin Taylor played.

Ms Gasselin played viola da gamba and mr Taylor harpsichord. Unfortunately enough, the explanation about changes in the program were inaudible. But I think the concert, which theme was “Bourbon versus Habsburg” started with pieces by Jean-Baptiste Antoine Forqueray, followed by a better rendering of pieces by Marin Marais and Jean-Philippe Rameau, and ended with a suite by François Couperin. Or the concert may have started with Couperin, then Forqueray and ended with Marais and Rameau.

According to Australian friends I met a day later, who had also heard this fabulous fringe concert, it was pretty good. I was slightly less impressed. Personally, I’d already heard better fringe and fabulous fringe concerts.

Early Music Festival Utrecht 2014: Ensemble Arts Libres, 2nd of September 2014, 15:30, Tivoli-Vredenburg, Herz.

Ensemble Arts Libres:
Salomé Gasselin viola da gamba;
Justin Taylor harpsichord

At the moment of posting, I could only find Youtube excerpts of performances of ms Gasselin, not of her and mr Taylor together.

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