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…an international summer festival of classical, choral. orchestral, chamber music – including opera and Jazz. It has taken place each year* since 2005 in the Pays de Fayence in the Var, in the hills of Provence, France and is based in Seillans in the Var, where rehearsals take place and where we accommodate and provide meals (and wine) to musicians and singers and a team of volunteers and paid staff who run the festival. It has usually featured 2 weeks of evening and lunchtime concerts in early August and has also offered a String Academy for talented young players and has sometimes also included a singing week for local children. Most of its musicians are professionals who play in major European orchestras or ensembles as well as talented young players (and a few who have recently retired). Its choir consists of experienced amateur singers who are drawn from renowned choirs all over Europe. Soloists are drawn from all over the world; we specialise in introducing young singers and players whose talents we help to promote and encourage before they become well-known. Musique Cordiale has also organised concerts and music weeks in Britain since 2005, usually in the autumn. Our singers and players value the experience of performing to audiences in both countries. (Musique-Cordiale in Kent takes place in Faversham, Newnham & Doddington in the Kentish Downs, including outdoor concerts in the beautiful Doddington Place Gardens). Musique Cordiale is a French association (L’association Musique Cordiale),whose Conseil d’administation manages the festival. It is also an English charity, The Musique-Cordiale Trust, which organizes events in Britain and supports the International Festival and Academy. Enjoy the flavour of Musique-Cordiale with some of the recordings and images on the page below….
(* except 2022 & 2021 when it has largely relocated to England because of Covid-19)
In its 17th year, the pandemic means that the festival can’t be the same.. but it remains Musique-Cordiale!
Vivaldi: Four Seasons
Final notes of closing Concert, 4 August 2021, Musique-Cordiale in Kent: Emma Purslow, violin, Musique-Cordiale Festival Ensemble, conductor Graham Ross,
Doddington Place Gardens, Kent, GB
for summer 2021 is now closed
(7 concerts in Kent, GB)
See HERE for the
Programme 29 July – 4 August 2021
The festival (reduced but exciting and mostly open-air) took place in GB instead of France this year
Organising a 2-week international festival requires months of planning and lead-time. Each year we arrange venues, travel & accommodation, enrol singers, recruit musicians, book soloists, order music, prepare posters, banners and printed programmes as well as setting everything up on our website. We manage everything from catering to lighting and ticketing to the details of a diverse programme that excites performers and audiences alike. And we budget early to achieve this and to try to fund what we plan. With the ever-changing Covid-19 pandemic situation in Europe and restrictions on travel as well as a vaccination schedule that will not reach everyone for a while, we realised (in mid-April, some time after our usual Easter Box Office opening) that we had, quite simply, run out of time to produce a full festival in the Pays de Fayence this summer. And even if we did, we could not insure it or be confident that our audiences would flock from all over Europe to the beautiful venues where we usually perform musical delights, not only in vineyards and the Fayence amphitheatre but also in closely-packed medieval churches. S0…the Festival moved to Kent GB this summer! And it was just as well as, in the end, we would not have been allowed to put on the festival in France at the time we usually have. And the logistics (closed ports and airports, travel restrictions, covid passes, infection rates) meant that we could not have brought our musicians and singers from all over Europe to Provence anyway. Even in Britain, we had to accept (though many tried till the last moment) that non-UK-based musicians and audiences simple could not participate. And we still had to turn away recently-infected people and exercise special care and social distancing. Indeed most concerts have had to take place out of doors and we could not accommodate singers as compactly (or affordably) as usual. But we DID manage to dodge the English weather… and the week-long series of 7 Concerts (+ rehearsals, outdoor catering and conviviality) was a great success, reaching new audiences and attracting new choir and orchestra members as well as providing an outlet, at least, for many of our longer-standing musicians and singers. Although WE MISSED OUR FRENCH & PAN-EUROPEAN AUDIENCES TOO. But, unlike so many other festivals and concert series, our show did go on, maintaining our uninterrupted 17-year record of successful and popular festivals of classical and choral music. Our international festival in Provence of the kind we have proudly offered in the past was this year still yet within our reach. But everyone who could come was happy and we reached new music-starved appreciative audiences – to whom we also plan to be loyal in future!
Mozart GLORIA, 31 July 2021, Musique Cordiale Festival Ensemble & choir, 31 July 2021,
Doddington Place Gardens, Kent, GB
Concerts in England this year were in Faversham, Newnham & Doddington in the beautiful Kent Downs
This year, we decided to do what we thought we CAN manage, carefully and cautiously and mainly out-of-doors, but to do it in ways that retain the high musical and aesthetic standards for which Musique Cordiale has become known. We hoped it can still be friendly and convivial, incorporating a variety of lovely music in enchanting settings, along with our traditional mix of music, wine, food and good humour. But this summer it was in Kent Downland countryside in England, based in the enchanting Doddington Place Gardens and, with suitable social distancing, in nearby indoor churches and the Faversham Assembly Rooms. We hoped that those who can would still come (and lots of you, including many new musicians as well as new audiences, did) and that most of our choir and musicians and at least some of our loyal supporters – from anywhere in Europe – would have been vaccinated by then and would join us for
a (mostly open-air) WEEK of rehearsals &
MUSIQUE-CORDIALE CONCERTS in Kent, GB
29 July – 4 August 2021
Musique-Cordiale’s Festival in the beautiful Kent Downs
Doddington Place Gardens and lovely acoustic churches
Click below for some other brief 2021 concert excerpts: E.G.
Brahms Trio for Clarinet, cello and piano, 1 August 2021, Faversham Assembly Rooms
Albinoni Oboe Concerto, 2 August 2021, Doddington Church
Beethoven Septet for clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello & double bass, 29 July, Newnham Church
Vivaldi Gloria – James Hall, counter-tenor, with Musique-Cordiale Festival Choir, 4 August 2021, Doddington Place Gardens
Vivaldi Gloria – Musique Cordiale Festival Choir & Ensemble, 4 August 2021, Doddington Place Gardens
We missed our loyal supporters in France but we are trying to be positive and creative at a time of great challenge for culture and music. We just hoped that some of you could join us for our concerts, this year, in Kent, GB. (see feature article HERE) … and, with luck, in France again next year too
Pre-festival announcement, May 2021: what can we try to offer in this 2nd pandemic year?
This summer, we decided to do what we think we CAN manage, carefully and cautiously and mainly out-of-doors, but to do it in ways that retain the high musical and aesthetic standards for which Musique Cordiale has become known. We hope it can still be friendly and convivial, incorporating a variety of lovely music in enchanting settings, along with our traditional mix of music, wine, food and good humour. But this summer it will be in the Kent Downland countryside in England and will be based in the enchanting Doddington Place Gardens and, with suitable social distancing, in nearby indoor churches and the Faversham Assembly Rooms. We hope that some of you will still come and that most of our choir, musicians and supporters will have been vaccinated by then and may be there too. At least a few singers and players hope to join us from France, Holland, Germany and Switzerland – if they can. Maybe we can attract some of our European supporters too. We so hope that some of you can join us!
2021 Programme & Repertoire
There will be a performance of the MOZART REQUIEM with choir, orchestral ensemble & exciting young soloists under the baton of Graham Ross, director of Music at Clare College, Cambridge. Some of you may have heard this many times, but not with Graham! We will sing the Süssmeyer version with reduced orchestra – and with Rebecca Taylor at the keyboard. Certainly a favourite and popular piece is the VIVALDI GLORIA. Many of you may know the opening chorus by heart. We are sure that Graham’s tempi, and the glorious melodies and rhythms, will make a lovely contrast. The concert will begin with a performance of the Vivaldi Four Seasons.
A CAPPELLA: Graham Ross has suggested the RUTTER BIRTHDAY MADRIGALS, (actually with piano and double bass), which are romantic and fun and fit well to the season and ambience. Other favourites include are Lay a Garland (Pearsall), Richte Mich Gott (Mendelssohn)…to name but two.
The 2021 concert Programme is HERE: tickets are available now from our online BOX OFFICE
Meanwhile, we invite you to renew your subscriptions. (we’re offering free memberships in 2021 to young or under-employed musicians). And if you are a good experienced singer, please consider joining our choir. See details HERE(we need new singers as we may lack some of our European talent if travel restrictions make coming to Kent difficult). Please join our mailing-list to ensure that you receive up-to-date information See contact us. If you would like to join or re-join the Musique-Cordiale CHOIR this summer, please click HERE (enrolment of good and experienced singers by 31 May 2021).
12 April 2021: We invite our members to renew your subscriptions (we’re offering free memberships in 2021 to young or under-employed musicians). Even while travel arrangements are uncertain in Europe, we are also inviting singers at least to enrol ASAP (maybe we can wait for payment and confirmation in June when things are clearer) for what promises to be something special and different this summer. EMAILS ARE WINGING THEIR WAY TO THOSE WHO HAVE SUNG WITH US BEFORE… and we invite other good singers to join them. Details & booking forms will be on this site (see choir pages) soon. The concert programme will be available soon too and the Box Office will open for online ticket sale in June.
Looking back: before the summer of 2021… & before the pandemic hit music and performance
See HERE for our 1 January 2021 member update, HERE for our December 2020 choir update for details… and HERE for our 26 January 2021 UPDATE with details of the newly-appointed Management Committee / Conseil d’administration following completion of the nomination process. Thank you to all who participated!
2020 was terribly disappointing (and was also a huge financial headache) but it was not a complete washout
Brahms happened en pleine aire in a time of Covid, 2020.
Sadly no festival was possible in the Pays de Fayence in 2020 for the first time in 16 years. We did manage a little 2-musician recital in Seillans in August and, on 13 September 2020, we proudly staged an out-of-door, socially-distanced concert with only UK-based singers (both soloists and Festival choir members) plus 4 familiar hands on a keyboard and our redoubtable conductor, Graham Ross, performing one major work intended for the final festival concert a month earlier. Here is a little taste of the Brahms Requiem, sung (without our orchestra) on a sunny but windy Sunday afternoon in lovely Doddington Place Gardens in Kent, GB. These are just 2 movements of the 7 that were performed.
Frederick Long, bass (in this clip), Emily Vine (in a 2nd video below), soprano, Graham Ross, conductor, Rebecca Taylor & Richard Leach, pianists in the original version of Brahms Requiem with the Musique-Cordiale Festival choir (minus its French & German singers). Sad only that Covid precautions meant we couldn’t invite a larger audience to this memorable performance in a perfect (almost Provencal) setting especially after the
cancellation of the 2020 Festival in Seillans or the Pays de Fayence, France
After a fabulous year of musical performances in Britain and France in 2019 came the summer that hardly happened…
With this, we were proud to have kept going against the lockdown odds in 2020 – with 3 days of rehearsal in September 2020, following by the single outdoor performance of the Brahms Requiem. So, even with only a limited non-paying audience in 2020, we did NOT actually miss a year completely (though we also had no autumn/winter concerts either). (We had previously been looking forward to an ambitious programme of concerts & music-making for 2020 devised by Pippa Pawlik and Graham Ross in collaboration with our soloists and musicians and in consultation with our choir and having discussed arrangements with our local partners in the Pays de Fayence. We hope that you may still witness some variation of this programme at a suitable point in the future). Now, we can add our pride at still having an unbroken annual record of concerts, albeit again only – but successfully – with our recent week of mostly-outdoor events in England in 2021. We are just beginning to dare to hope that 2022 can be our 18th year, possibly with summer music in Kent AND Provence this time!
Just a quick word while youre here…. PLEASE WOULD YOU CONSIDER SUPPORTING our…
Let’s make music together! Help us with our 2021-22 Essential & urgent fund-raising “Revival” campaign!
Admirable Aspirations – a 17-year record of valuable achievement in Pan-European musical and cultural exchange & education – a Labour of Love Modest Means – especially after Covid cancellations
If you value Musique Cordlale for its unique international festival and its orchestral academy for young musical talent – or its choral & singing courses, concerts and events in France and Britain, we now desperately need your help!
Even after 16 years, it cannot continue without your support. Covid-19 left us with no income from choir subscriptions or ticket sales in 2020. We also lost almost all the expected subvention (grant-aid) support from French public funds for culture. We had applied for these for staging the musical events which we had to cancel. We reimbursed what we had received; yet many costs still have had to be met regularly as months have gone by without income. We have been brave and creative (and lucky) in 2021 but, with limited lead-time, ongoing and unpredictable travel restrictions and infection rates, it has been VERY difficult to put on even a reduced festival, especially in Britain where we have much less history and fewer loyal supporters. We are so pleased to have managed it successfully and to have gained appreciative new audiences. In the past we have begun planning for the next festival as soon as the last one is over. We are just beginning this process now (September 2021 for next summer). Selecting the repertoire, designing the Programme, engaging artists, recruiting singers and musicians and enrolling volunteers and students takes months of advance planning, as do the arrangements for travel, accommodation, booking venues, catering and publicising our concerts. The French Musique Cordiale association, which usually runs the festival, & The Musique-Cordiale Trust, the British charity which supports it and which is also arranging this year’s events in Britain, need you for this campaign. Between us, we must hit a £50,000 annual target (with £25,000 needed before next summer – to give us the resources to plan ahead, reshape, to make savings and to re-emerge, probably in new forms but with our established emphasis on musical quality, development of young talent and European cultural exchange. Thank you to those who have helped us in the past by donating, pledging or raising money or by arranging events and inviting your friends to help. WHY NOT BECOME A FRIEND or DONOR? Or SPONSOR an event or musician? The continuing Covid restrictions have also prevented us from holding our usual pre-festival Musical Soirée, a vital fund-raiser that for 15 years enabled us to pay our way.
A huge amount of year-round, voluntary work is involved to organise the Festival and even the one-off outdoor concert that we managed in England in 2020 and the limited series of mainly-outdoor events we have now managed more ambitiously in Kent in July-August 2021 required effort and some risk. Most of this work is done by a team of dedicated volunteers, including several of our musicians and singers. Although normally supported and valued by its participants and audiences, both locally and from all over Europe, Musique Cordiale NEEDS TO REPLACE ITS LOST 2020-21 INCOME from ticket sales, subscriptions, some hard-won local funding in the face of shrinking public budgets for culture. Even in other years, it can be an enormous struggle to cover the costs of bringing musicians and singers from across the continent to the Pays de Fayence and accommodating and sustaining them – as well as working them hard to achieve great music together. Please SUPPORT US: details HERE And look out for our musical fund-raising events in Britain and France whenever we can again manage them.
We thank you for your support and understanding. In some form and at a suitable time, we promised to be back, in small steps and stages. Meanwhile, Stay healthy and safe.SOUTENEZ-NOUS SVP! EUROS € GB POUNDS £ PLEASE SUPPORT US!
L’Association Musique Cordiale (association loi 1901, France, SIRET: 49346074500018), The Musique-Cordiale Trust (charity, registered in England, no 1167732) www.musique-cordiale.org
We hope to be back in Britain AND France in 2022. Come back here for details of our emerging plans for June 2022 and August 2022… if the pandemic remains reasonably under control by then….
Pays de Fayence, France
The 16th International Musique-Cordiale Festival
1 – 16 August 2020 (cancelled)
WAS TO INCLUDE: musicians and singers from all over Europe
Major choral works Superbly-played classical music Dramatic opera Exciting jazz
Performed in the summer ambience of Provence – in medieval town squares and beautiful churches and chapels in the villages perchés of the Pays de Fayence in the hills of the Var…Plus musical events throughout the year in Britain & France
The plans that did not happen in 2020:
Festival Choir 2020
Major choral works & more
In 2019, the big choral work was Handel’s SAUL and in 2018, it was Haydn’s Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons),
(sung with the Festival Orchestra & soloists) & a cappella works included the Frank Martin Mass and motels from Tallis to Lauridsen, directed by Graham Ross in the beautiful acoustic churches and chapels of the “villes perchées”‘ of the Pays de Fayence, France.
AIMEZ-VOUS BRAHMS ? In 2020 the choir “stage”, based in beautiful Seillans, was intended to run from 7-16 August, featuring this year’s major choral works (Johannes Brahms, Requiem, op 45 – Ein deutches Requiem, nach Worten der Heiligen Schriff – sung in German, + Brahms Liebeslieder , op 52 + Brahms Geistliches Lied), and a diverse collection of accompanied and a cappella songs + Handel’s Dixit Dominus.
JOIN & SING! Invitation to new & returning singers: enrolment for good and experienced singers from all over Europe is now closed.
Please return to join/re-join for future events to be announced including the 2021 summer Festival Choir: 8 days of rehearsals and performances in August.
Each year, we also invite singers to join the choir for 3 days of autumn rehearsals and concerts (see below). Usually in November, we have held this in September this year so that it can be entirely out-of-door and socially-distanced, both for rehearsals & performance but also for providing food and drink for our participants.
& the orchestra academy
The Festival orchestra consists of professional musicians from across Europe and elsewhere, brought together each summer for 2 weeks of rehearsal and performance. In addition to accompanying the choir and vocal soloists in major choral works, the orchestra is the mainstay of other major symphony concerts during the festival and its members also perform in chamber music, quintets and quartets and in recitals. They also act as tutors to our Academy students who consist of 6-8 talented young people from music colleges and conservatories who sit beside professionals leading sections of the orchestra. The students also perform in an Academy chamber concert together.
The festival also features a selection of Jazz events with invited European artists, usually performing out of doors
Musique-Cordiale Autumn weekend in Kent
3 CONCERTS: 15-17 November 2019 & again in 2020
The 2019 Autumn Musique-Cordiale weekend in Kent, GB, again featured 3 CONCERTS. These included a performance of Handel’s MESSIAH (with orchestra and a great line-up of soloists) and an exciting programme of instrumental, ‘a cappella’ choral music plus some fabulous vocal and instrumental solos. Details here Autumn online Box Office now closed. (autumn choir information here)
This year, it was 11-13 September, featuring an out-door, socially-distanced performance of the BRAHMS REQUIEM (This concert DID happen in 2020: see video & details above)
Festival curtain-raiser- Gala Dinner & Soirée musicale
1 August 2020 (cancelled)
Tickets sold out quickly in 2019 for our popular annual fund-raising evening and Festival launch event – with wine, dinner and music in the Pays de Fayence. So please book early to join us on in August 2020 if you can! – details of events in 2021 will appear here when the Covid-19 situation is clearer. Bookings will begin soon afterwards.
In 2018, Musique Cordiale also reached out in the local community in the Var, offering opportunities for
In 2019, we again invited YOUNG SINGERS (aged 6 -14): to join our FREE courses. for local children learning to experience multi-part singing in four different languages
Situated in the hills between Nice & Aix-en-Provence, Musique Cordiale in summer has become one of the most significant music festivals in Europe: experienced professionals and stars, exciting young talent, beautiful ambience, wonderful music…
For 2 or 3 weeks in late July & early August each year, over 125 musicians and singers pour into Seillans and the Pays de Fayence from all over the world to embark on two weeks of intense music-making in beautiful medieval hill towns & villages in the Var, Provence, France
We are committed to presenting a brilliant festival each year and look forward to welcoming you to Seillans & the Pays de Fayence in Provence! In the face of precarious subsidies and dramatic currency shifts, we are more dependent than ever on the help of our audiences and supporters.
To help us to keep offering a high-quality programme at affordable prices, please do consider supporting us,
for example, by becoming a Member, Friend or Donor of Musique Cordiale or by offering in-kind help as a volunteer or artist host.
Here is NEWS on Facebook about some of our summer events, including the 2019 International Festival programme (9-17 August) and our…
Annulation du Festival 2020
Tout était organisé et prêt. Mais….
Malheureusement, la pandémie Covid-19 signifie que
Programme 2020 concerts 1 -15 August 2020 (annulé)
in the hills behind the Mediterranean.
2020 Festival Programme to be announced in late March, including Brahms choral works with soloists, choir & ensemble, Mahler Symphony, Baroque Concert, Recitals & Chamber Music, soirées Jazz, evening and lunch-time concerts, opera arias
The 2019 festival featured 18 varied events – symphony concerts conducted by James Lowe and other orchestral works, chamber music, recitals, opera, choral, jazz, vocal, folk & a little nostalgic rock in beautiful warm surroundings in Provence, France
2019 festival programme here.
2020 concert programme cancelled!
Summer Festival ONLINE BOX OFFICE now closed in 2020