Here, a clever and jubilant weaving between pieces by Henry Purcell and songs by the Beatles. There, a Himalaya of sacred music, The St. Matthew Passion by Jean-Sébastien Bach. A small team made up of three singers and two instrumentalists versus a rich line-up bringing together an adult choir, a children’s master and an orchestra.
The two concerts of this first day of the Rencontres musicales de Vézelay, one in the church of Asquins, the other in the basilica of the Madeleine, at the top of the Vézelian hill, drew very distinct silhouettes and atmospheres.
A mischievous smile and a bold but completely convincing rapprochement between baroque and pop music for the former; intense fervor, universal momentum fueled by tragedy and hope for the second. However, thanks to the integrity, the love of music and the dramatic fabric of Jérôme Corréas (conductor and harpsichordist) on the one hand, of Stephan MacLeod (conductor, chorister and soloist) on the other, the sensations caused by these two very different moments were able to come together.
Fusion of singularities
Because the spectators have been hooked, carried away, even bewitched, by a team: it doesn’t matter whether it has five or 70 “players”, as soon as it forms a collective. Not a uniform battalion where everyone is alike, but the happy encounter of singularities – in terms of timbres, tessitura, eloquence, colors… – which, in turn, stand out or merge into a more vast as they are, which welcomes and magnifies them. To better, again, recall their uniqueness, before, in an infinite pendulum movement, to find the generous abnegation of the group.
The public too!
We suddenly notice that the public, surrounded by the talent of the performers, becomes itself a collective: more beautiful, more attentive, more empathetic. As if an ethic of cohesion, even a fraternity, emerged from this privileged moment of the concert, fragile, precious. Let’s not delude ourselves, on the stage side, as on the auditorium side, our human weaknesses will quickly regain their rights.
Such is life. But knowing that we can live such moments and that artists work hard to offer them to us is already invaluable. “Your spirit has filled me with an infinity of celestial joys”, sings the choir in the first part of The Passion according to Saint Matthew…