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A weekend in Paris

Last weekend I abandoned the family for a quick jaunt to Paris. 

After singing in a concert of Palestrina Lamentations on the Saturday night I had a free day in Paris (I was unfettered and alive, for any Joni Mitchell fans). 

By bizarre serendipity my friend and colleague Jos Somsen was also singing in Paris the self same weekend.  After years of singing early Medieval polyphony together, composed by the so-called Ecole de Notre Dame, we were able to meet at the door of the immense and impressive Notre Dame Cathedral, and wander around in the very acoustic for which Ensemble Ut Sol’s repertory was written about 850 years ago.

A mass was taking place, and there was a large seated congregation in the central body of the church.  In the choir was a small but select group that sang from under large clouds of incense.  Surrounding the service was a moving throng of tourist paparazzi lapping up against the edges.  And us, standing still with our heads down, totally enthralled by the other-worldly Agnus Dei that filled that enormous space.

A little surreal, I thought, but maybe not so different, in its way, from the hustle and bustle of Medieval churchs.

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