An internationally recognized event, the reputation of the prestigious Comminges Festival is second to none. Born from a meeting in 1975 between André Malraux and Pierre Lacroix, it has attracted every summer, for almost half a century, music lovers from all over France, and has been opening up for a few years now to a wider audience. .
Chamber, sacred, baroque and contemporary music are the very essence of the Comminges Festival, which stands out as the reference for summer classical events.
Dedicated to the memory of Jean-Patrice Brosse, the 47th edition is intended to be “a year of transition”, underlines Francine Antona-Causse, the president of the Festival association. “Jean-Patrice’s death in September 2021 deeply affected the members of the Festival and his loyal listeners. Since 2020, these painful moments have been added to the operational difficulties linked to the pandemic” adds the one who continues the adventure with Victor Julien-Laferriere.
Cellist and international conductor, he is the new artistic director of the Festival. He has developed a program in the spirit of the festival whose values he shares, while initiating a renewal of talent and youth.
On many occasions, Victor Julien-Laferrière was among the guests of the Festival, notably with the pianist Adam Laloum with whom he played in duet. Excellence and quality will illustrate this Festival 2022 through concerts that will punctuate this “period of transition” by welcoming renowned performers, pianists and organists, vocal and instrumental ensembles, orchestras…, which invite you to rediscover great composers such as Bach, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Rameau, Luly…
“At the time of setting up this edition, I began to immerse myself in the history of the festival” comments Victor Julien-Laferrière. “Being one of the oldest of its kind in France – and in my opinion one of the most fascinating for its diversity and the requirement of its editorial line – there is a lot to learn from it. Thus to explore the world of the organ, with this year Thomas Ospital, Cédric Meckler, Olivier Vernet and Elisabeth Amalric, or rediscovering older music with the Vox Cantoris ensemble and Le Consort. I also wanted to invite illustrious neighbors to come to the Festival for the first time, like the Toulousian Bertrand Chamayou, the Tarbais David Fray, the Modigliani quartet also, several of whose members are from these same cities.In addition, our approach must always be to make the festival as welcoming as possible for all, c This is why a symphonic concert will be held at the end of the festival: always a particularly generous experience, especially for neophytes and the youngest!”
Two sessions with the Academy
Christian Nadalet in Saint-Bertrand
The voice is one of the pillars of the Comminges Festival through the Academy of Christian Nadalet which will find an extension in the program with the concert of the marvelous contralto Lucile Richardot in the company of Adam Laloum. This Academy of choral singing, which for many years has been promoting the small heritage of Comminges in its Romanesque churches, is making a comeback with its traditional interpretation courses. The first session, a women’s academy, will take place from July 25 to 29 with the last day in Fos, in the Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens church, a concert given under the chairmanship of Mayor Pascal Penetro. The second session, a mixed academy, will be held from August 1 to 6.
To close this second week of musical workshops, a concert will be given in the Sainte-Anne church in Cazeaux-de-Larboust and chaired by Martine Prouillac, president of the Académie Julien Sacaze, which is celebrating its centenary this year. The Christian Nadalet Academy will therefore once again be open to amateurs of excellent level for technical and musical work around a rare or unpublished repertoire, always erudite. They will form an ensemble of women’s voices and a mixed chamber choir to explore Ave Maria and Marian music from the Renaissance to the present day. All the workshops will be followed at 6 p.m. by a free public performance, except for the concerts in Fos and Cazeaux-de-Larboust (Entry: €20).
Piano and cello for the inaugural concert at Valcabère tonight
The first concert of the festival on Saturday July 23 in Valcabrère will be the occasion for the new musical director and cellist Victor Julien-Laferrière to open the festivities himself, in duet with the pianist David Fray.
A German romantic program composed of works by Schubert in the Arpeggione sonata, Schumann for the Fantasiestucke as well as Brahms and his first sonata. Schumann and Brahms, so close both artistically and humanly, had in particular a common passion for the rediscovery in the middle of the 19th century of the music of an unknown Schubert, part of whose miraculous production had not even been published yet or more available. These three composers with such close ties have nevertheless chosen three radically different ways of writing for the duo: a solitary cello storyteller discreetly supported by the piano in Schubert, the immediacy and intensity of the short form in Schumann, before the universality of discourse in Brahms; the two instruments dialoguing on equal terms, to the point of figuring out an orchestra or sketching a few steps of a forgotten dance.
Music between the stones…
This year, for its 47th edition, the Comminges festival is offering eleven concerts in four of the most prestigious historic monuments in the Occitanie region: the cathedral of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, the basilica of Saint-Just de Valcabrère, the church of Martres-Tolosane and the collegiate church of Saint-Gaudens and the church. On the sidelines of which, the Academy of Christian Nadalet will animate churches of the intercommunity of the Pyrenees Haut Garonnaises, and this, within the framework of its educational action. By inviting itself on the road of the Romanesque churches of Comminges, the Festival will combine music and heritage. A beautiful way to bring old stones to life…CT