Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Magic at Beduer

The Chateau
(photo from Chateau de Beduer website)

It's been a summer filled with music and last night the tradition continued. We found seats in the courtyard of the Chateau de Beduer which is a few kilometers from home in the Cele Valley. A gleaming Steinway grand piano stood center stage. As the crowd gathered, though, so did threatening dark clouds. They made the sunset beautiful, but as Olivier Pons spoke his opening remarks, they began to spill a raindrop here and a raindrop there. The piano was quickly closed and covered; we waited ten minutes to see if Mother Nature was going to cooperate with this outdoor concert. She did...almost.  The pianist, Risto Lauriala with Pons on the violin swept us through Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, and Pagnini, but as we applauded their superb performance, we began to be peppered with raindrops. The piano was again covered, but this time the crowd was shepherded under cover while benches and chairs along with the blanketed Steinway were moved into the galleried Salles des Etats, the grand reception room of the Chateau...
Salles des Etats
(photo from the Chateau website)
The musicians were hastily staged in front of the huge wall-to-wall, two-story 15th century stone chimney and hearth while the crowd filed in.
The piano was quickly re-tuned.
 Both the room and its gallery were packed with people on benches, chairs or even sitting on the stone floor, surrounding the musicians for a cozy and intimate finale to the evening. Pons and  Lauriala were joined by violinists, Veronique Constant and Corinne Contardo, and cellist, Helen Linden. For the next 45 minutes we were lifted and lulled, inspired and intrigued by Dvorak's Quintella. Being so close to the performers, it became obvious just how physical a musical performance is. The cellist never sat still...she was leaning, swaying, and bouncing the entire time she was drawing her bow and plucking the strings of her instrument. Likewise, the violinists were tapping their feet and sometimes stomping them on a dramatic note, moving with the emotion of the music. It was midnight when the musicians took their final bow to the thunderous and appreciative applause of an enthralled audience. As we slowly made our way through the Chateau's high arched medieval gate into the warm night air, you could feel the crowd sigh with satisfaction. It was an evening of magnificent music wrapped in the magic of a majestic Chateau. Summertime in the Lot! Who would want to be anywhere else?

This concert was part of a two-week series of events in conjunction with the annual music festival in Figeac. Professional musicians gather here to play and teach master classes. The concerts are the culmination of their hard work and hours of practice and are performed in churches and chateaux in our local towns and villages.


  1. It sounds like it was an amazing evening. How lucky to witness such a performance in such an intimate and spectacular environment. I will look out for the annual music festival next year.

  2. How absolutely divine. Now I'm going to listen to the video. Merci.