Tuesday, January 04, 2011

AUCH: Organ and fries

P1032151 Damien in Auch Cathedral

Auch is the capital of the Gers department where I live, and I usually see its central cathedral when I’m visiting the adjacent prefectural offices. The Gers is one of the most sparsely populated areas in western Europe – with a slightly declining population - , so this small city of 22000 is a very minor outpost amongst the nearly 100 departments of France. Evenso, the cathedral has a very impressive interior, with Renaissance stained glass windows, and one of the most important sets of carved wooden choir stalls in all Europe. The stalls I will have to visit another day; today I was meeting a friend for lunch, and was otherwise transported by the sound of Bach’s Chaconne being played on the cathedral organ. I’ve recorded a short piece below.

 

Auch Cathedral Organ

It’s a very fine instrument judging by the short performance I heard today. It was built in 1688 by Jean de Joyeuses, and declared by the king to be the finest in his kingdom. It was most recently restored in 1997. I’ll have to look for any news of recitals here – especially if I can hear the entire Chaconne (originally written for violin), or perhaps the C minor Passacaglia. I’ve played around with both of these titanic pieces on the piano, but would love to soak them up in the cathedral acoustic.

2011-01-03 AUCH Cathedral

Nos burgers

Poor Munson had to sit outside while I quickly circumnavigated the interior. My friend Damien took us to lunch at an Irish(!) Pub behind the cathedral. I balanced out my Irish cider with a Gascon burger which incorporates foie gras and fig chutney. The fries of course were lovingly cooked in duck fat.

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