Thursday, September 23, 2010


King Theodore and other presumptuous interlopers

We have been to another excellent concert at the Eglise St Charles in Monticello. Last time we came here it was to see a group of young music students from Paris; this time, we attended a concert of baroque music performed by staff members of the Conservatoire de Musique de Bastia.

For some strange reason, the concert was called Les voyages de Theodore. King Theodore was Corsica’s only king of any kind and his brief and embarrassing reign will shortly be documented in a book written by Julia Gasper. I await this book’s publication with interest, but what the journeys of His Presumptuous Highness have to do with this wonderful and uplifting collection of music by Telemann, Rameau, Bach, Handel and Vivaldi I can’t begin to imagine.

The concert was performed on organ, harpsichord, and ancient versions of the flute, violin and cello. I particularly enjoyed Rameau’s short piece Le Vezinet performed with great virtuosity by V. Loriaut on the harpsichord.

But the King Theodore angle remains a mystery. Another thing I couldn’t understand was the florid commentary by an unnamed male announcer which might have solved the problem. The audience of locals and holidaymakers were visibly bored as he launched into five or more minutes of arm-waving explanations and erudite pontification before and after each piece.

He didn’t explain things clearly enough for me to understand much of what he said, but I could tell from the quivering intensity of his delivery that he greatly enjoyed the experience.

Notwithstanding these last remarks, the Confrerie San Carlu of Monticello are to be congratulated for supporting this excellent and stimulating concert. How sad that there were only 25 or so of us there to enjoy it.

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