At the Via Aeterna festival, at Mont-Saint-Michel, nine centuries of classical and sacred music in ten days

At the Via Aeterna festival, at Mont-Saint-Michel, nine centuries of classical and sacred music in ten days

Nearly a thousand years separate the creation of the Mont-Saint-Michel abbey from that of Via Aerterna, the festival dedicated to classical and sacred music. The first dates from 1023, the second from 2017. One is celebrating its millennium, the other, its sixth edition. In homage to the oldest – and to accompany its celebrations – the artistic director of the festival, René Martin, offers an eclectic program that will span nine centuries, from Gregorian chant to contemporary music. The artists will invest churches, sacred places, gardens, stud farms and other unusual buildings in 13 communes* of the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel… in the continuity of what the founders of this event wanted: the Bayard group (publisher of the Pilgrim ), the Center for National Monuments, the Manche department, as well as the Nantes Center for Artistic Achievements and Studies.

High the choirs

This year, emphasis will be placed on a centuries-old exercise, choral art. Thus, the opening concert on October 5 at the former stud farm in Avranches will be given by the Janoska Ensemble, which will perform Bach, Beethoven, Brubeck and… the Beatles. The next day, we will find the vocal trio Les Itinérantes a cappella, at the church of Saint-Pair-sur-Mer.

As for the Mikrokosmos choir (32 singers aged 18 to 30), it will project its voices at the abbey church of Mont-Saint-Michel, for the closing day of October 15. Concert which will follow that of the Ensemble vocal de Lausanne, whose repertoire extends from the 16th to the 21st century. Under the direction of Pierre-Fabien Roubaty, he will perform works by Franck, Saint-Saëns and even Gounod.

Renowned instrumentalists will also be there, like the violist Philippe Pierlot who will perform a varied baroque repertoire in various locations around the bay. Without forgetting the Israeli formation Yamma Ensemble which will offer a mix of ancient and current Hebrew music, on Friday the 13th, at the church in Cancale.

Extend the summer with music

Another headliner: the Trio Wanderer, a French chamber music group with piano, violin and cello formed in 1987. “We are delighted with this first participation in Via Aeterna,” says cellist Raphaël Pidoux. This festival is held in one of the most beautiful world heritage sites and takes place in autumn, which allows the pleasure of musical activity to be extended beyond summer. »

He also welcomes one of the characteristics of this 2023 edition: making all this scholarly and sacred music accessible, by encouraging exchanges between the 200 invited artists and the general public during the 27 concerts planned over the ten days.

This approach delights his partner, the pianist Vincent Coq: “This gives us the opportunity to explain our choice to pay homage to Franz Schubert, and to talk about the rich work, both spiritual, humanist and very current, of the man who is considered one of the most prolix composers of the 19th century. »

* Municipalities concerned: Ardevon, Avranches, Cancale, Carolles, Dragey-Ronthon, Genêts, Granville, La Lucerne-d’Outremer, Les Portes-du-Coglais, Mont-Saint-Michel, Pontorson, Saint-Pair-sur-Mer and Val-Couesnon.

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