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THE REIMS PROJECT: “INCOMPARABLE MUSICALITY”

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“The third stop of the Boston Camerata’s marvelous itinerary,” in the words of the local newspaper, took place June 28 in the sumptuous, medieval reception hall of Reims’ Palais du Tau. Our third program of five, “Douce Dame Jolie,” devoted essentially to the secular music of Guillaume de Machaut, took the shape of a narrative love story. In the great poet’s own words, the audience heard the heart-rending essentials of his last love affair, with a very young woman named Péronne, interspersed with some of the most tender and passionate love songs ever penned by human hand.


Director Emeritus Joel Cohen, who created the program, led Camerata’s ten singers and players, and the response was enthusiastic. “Stormy weather outside the palace notwithstanding,” wrote the critic, “the concert was ravishing!…A thousand fires brightened the facets of the various works… splendid instruments…We felt that the musicians were happy and touched to be performing the composer’s music, in his own city, and in the shadow of the cathedral.

“Clear vocal timbres, purity, and limpid diction illuminated the sinuous melismas of Master Guillaume…[The women’s voices] worked miracles with the playful hockets, but also with the tender effusions of “Puisque en oubli”….the audience was transported.”

P.S. as the newspaper article noted, it was a great experience for us, too.

Concert four happens on June 29, when the golden trio of Anne Azéma, Anne Harley, and Jennifer Ellis Kampani, plus angelic instruments, storm the gates of heaven (“Portes du Ciel”). Check out the preview article here.

Next rendezvous at the Saint Jacques church, bound for glory!


Anne Azéma