Early Music Festival Utrecht 2014 part 27

Fringe Concert: Les Elizées

Disgusted with what I had witnessed from the very start of the day (see part 22 and further) right up to finding a seat at the Mirliton Theatre (see part 26), I looked around at the bland theatre and the public waiting for les Elizées, the ensemble which was going to play  my first fringe concert of the day.

As usual: people who had not bothered to queue for fringe concert tickets for this concert and venue, were able to get seats anyway. Volunteers did not bother to check tickets and directed those without tickets to a seat at the bar of the theatre. Proving to me and others, that queuing for fringe concert tickets was a total waste of precious money and time.

After the dreadful airco of the Tivoli-Vredenburg Pandora venue, at least the Mirliton Theatre had no audible airco. (See part 16) So though I was not impressed by this 20th century venue, at least the public should be able to hear the musicians and their selected music.

I had a look at the programme. Apparently, during this festival, many musicians preferred a “sandwich”. As with quite a number of fringe concerts, there were pieces by one composer at the beginning and end. In between, there were a couple of pieces by contemporaries or to illustrate a contrast.

Les Elizées had decided upon a “sandwich” of pieces by Jean de Sainte-Colombe at the beginning and end of their concert. The filling would be a concert of François Couperin and a suite (“Les voix Humaines”) by Marin Marais. All 17th and 18th century music and of the French court of Louis Quatorze. So there seemed to be no link with the festival’s theme of Habsburg music again.

The concert started with “Le Retour”, concert nr 41 of Jean de Sainte-Colombe from “Concerts á deux violes esgales”. It sounded nice and pleasant enough. The ensemble also bothered to enlighten its audience by giving some background info on the musicians with each selected piece.

The concert nr 13 by François Couperin I found even better than “Le Retour”. Especially its Air Agréablement. I was less impressed with Marais suite in D “Les voix humaines”. Nor with the last piece; Jean de Sainte-Colombe’s concert nr 44 “Tombeau les Regrets”, though its start was very touching.

During the Marais and last de Sainte-Colombe pieces, unfortunately, one of the microphones also started picking up the breathing of one of the musicians. This did not interfere as greatly as the Pandorra airco, but it sounded like someone was walking a marathon while playing music. It did not help me loose myself in the refined court music.

All in all, les Elizées played very well but the firework of Frey and la Rotta was totally missing. (See part 19). Perhaps I am temperamentally more suited to the Napolitano influences upon music suitable for viola da gamba. Or to the music selected and so enthusiastically performed by the ensemble Amouretta at the terrible Plein 5. (See part 15)

Early Music Festival Utrecht 2014: Les Elizées, 5th of September 2014, 11:00, Mirliton Theatre.

Les Elizées:
Rosa Cañellas Tugores viola da gamba
Torben Klaes viola da gamba

When I published this post, I was unable to find a website of this ensemble. Both musicians are on Facebook.


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