St Gauderic Music Festival

Festival history

The purpose of the Festival is to gather a choir of English and French singers for a long weekend in the South of France during the August Bank Holiday weekend and put on concerts in and around St Gauderic and Mirepoix.

The first St Gauderic Music Festival was held in August 2007; a couple of concerts were promoted in the summer of 2008, and the second festival took place in August 2009.  A third festival happened in August 2010, and the in 2011 and 2012.   See the links below for details.

For 2007, the English singers mainly stayed in Auberge du Balestie, ( although there was an overflow to other accommodation in the area. Dave and Sylvia at the Auberge provided a comfortable environment for the Festival, laid on delicious food, as well as the glorious views of the Pyrenees, the beautiful weather and the appealing swimming pool.

The main works for the concerts in 2007 were Faure’s Requiem and Elgar’s From the Bavarian Highlands. We also sang Faure’s Cantique de Jean Racine and a few other works  More detail see link below.

Two concerts were promoted in 2008.  The Goldberg Ensemble string sextet gave a truly inspiring concert on 25 August, and the Latour Festival Choir came on 25 July.  More detail see link below.

For the Festival in August 2009, with the main works were Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Zadok the Priest.  Further details are available on the link below.

In 2010 we tackled the Liebeslieder Waltzes by Brahms in a new arrangement for choir, four soloists, string orchestra and piano.   We also performed Handel’s Messiah parts 2 and 3, and John Ireland’s anthem Greater Love hath No Man.  Further details are shown on the link below.

The Festival in 2011 was our most ambitious yet.  We gave over most of the Saturday concert to the orchestra, and under the direction of James Ross, gave splendid performances of Warlock’s Capriole suite, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and the Serenade for Strings Opus 6 by Josef Suk.  The choir performed Mozart’s Ave verum and Purcell’s Rejoice in the Lord alway, with string accompaniment.  On the Sunday the main pieces were Vivaldi’s Gloria and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, choir, soloists and orchestra in Mirepoix Cathedral.  We also promoted an organ recital in the same venue on Monday lunchtime by Jonathan Lilley.  The Friday soiree musicals in Manses contained an eclectic mix of songs and arias from our young soloists, a dramatic extract from Mendelssohn’s Elijah and the Bach Double Violin concerto by the orchestra.   More detail is shown below.

The 2012 Festival introduced Colin Beeson as our musical director, and the quality was as good as ever.  Our main piece was Gounod’s St Cecilia Mass, which we performed in Mirepoix Cathedral with organ accompaniment.  Jonathan delivered another stunning organ recital on the Mirepoix Link organ, and we did another well received concert at Manses.  The new feature was the concert at Fanjeaux church, which went well even though it was a cold wet evening (they do have them in August in the south of France, but rarely).  Additional works included movements from Monteverdi’s Vespers, and an exciting arrangement of Rhythm of Life.

In 2013 there will be no St Gauderic Festival in the south of France, but we are promoting a singing workshop and concert in the Manchester area on the bank holiday weekend, 24/25 August 2013.   Further details.