La rentrée is so official in France that somebody created a word for it. French people return from their summer holiday, complaining that they are stressed about larentréé and how busy it will be.Let me point out that the word has been designated feminine - I choose to see only the positive in this however. La rentrée signifies the start of a new school year, with the opportunity to learn new things. It's a good time of year if you're looking for a new job, and I speak from experience as I have just changed company. La rentrée also means a new season of classical music, which is great news if that kind of thing floats your boat.
I first came across Sinfonietta Paris Chamber Orchestra through my friends Patricia and Lauren, who are involved in the running of the "Cocktails and Conversations" series. These concerts are an opportunity for young musicians, at the beginning of their professional career, to perform a varied repertoire of classical music to a friendly audience. When the performance is over, audience members are invited to a wine-tasting where they can mingle with fellow music-lovers and the performers. Now entering its 4th musical season, the Sinfonietta will consist of 6 "Cocktails and Conversations" recitals and 3 Chamber Orchestra concerts in 2015/2016. You can see a teaser of what is to come on YouTube.
I was invited to the final concert of the 2014/2015 season in June, which was held at Reid Hall. If you've never been I recommend it - there's a beautiful courtyard where Preeti and I enjoyed a glass of Champagne before the concert started. The programme featured Impressionist composers, Fauré, Debussy and Ravel, and this happens to be my favourite genre of classical music. I remember many hours of piano practice at music school - it's particularly difficult to master technically, because everything must sound effortless. The result however is magnificent if you manage it. The trio of performers, consisting of piano, violin and cello, were at ease on the stage and succeeded in joining their musical voices together. The risk with chamber music when performed by solo artists is that sometimes one player can overshadow the others. This was not the case with Guillame, Anne-Sophie and Hermine, who were greeted with a rapturous round of applause at the end of the concert.
Many thanks to Sinfonietta Paris for this memorable evening. I know the hard work that goes into running the series and applaud your efforts to bring classical music to a younger audience. Too often I hear classical music described as boring and stuffy - this is not the case. That's not to say that everyone has to like classical music, but I believe it is worth a try as there are so many different and exciting genres to choose from ! You can find more details on how to reserve tickets and support Sinfonietta Paris via their Facebook page.
Photo credit: Preeti Gill