Sadly but predictably, the piano festival that would have been happening in Lagrasse this week has been cancelled. But as Covid restrictions were recently eased, the organisers decided they could put together something with local pianists, so from today there are five 6 pm concerts. Naturally the plan was to have them in the market square as usual, but paradoxically the Préfecture rejected this at the last minute and insisted they be held ... indoors, in the characterless salle polyvalente.
Today was piano teacher François-Michel Rignol and two of his masterclass students, aged 13 and 17. As ever the students were astonishingly virtuosic, playing Ravel (the 13-year-old) and Brahms (the 17-year-old). Then François-Michel himself played some pieces. The hall was laid out with physically distanced seating, and the usual bizarre French instruction that once you were inside and seated you could take your mask off. Almost every seat was taken and almost no-one was wearing a mask. For this reason, I didn't feel I could move around to take photos, so I didn't. Ironic that last year I couldn't move around to take photos because I was on crutches ...
There was no interval because of the difficulty of managing people wandering in and out. With this consideration, the concert went on far too long, over two hours. I ended up leaving before the last piece because I needed to get out, stretch my legs, and breathe some fresh air. So I had a stroll around Lagrasse in the early evening light, taking the sort of photos I used to take: mostly doors and windows, but in the end I liked this rim-lit group enjoying a drink by the river. When I got back to the car half an hour later, the audience was just leaving.
PS sharper in large.