Every summer we bring together a group of talented and experienced amateur choral singers for a week of intensive choral study involving a challenging a cappella repertoire. But it’s not just about hard work and performance; we enjoy a week of convivial company, good food and wine in the heat of the Provençal countryside where lovers of choral music, some accompanied by partners and friends, can share their passion with like-minded others.
Beginning in 2009, we have so far attracted singers from UK, US, Spain and France, Canada, Switzerland, Germany and Sweden and have covered music from the Renaissance to the present day. The week is appropriate for experienced choral singers.
Errol chooses a repertoire for the week of works which are seldom performed due to neglect or their level of difficulty and with six hours rehearsing a day, and under his guiding hand, we always manage to deliver a creditable final concert to an enthusiastic audience.
This year’s dates are 5th to 13th of August and we will be working on and performing the following:
Monteverdi – Cantate Dominum
Mundy – Vox Patris Caelestis
Bach – Ich lasse dich nicht
Bax – Mater ora Filium
Eriks Ešenvalds – O Salutaris Hostia
Gershwin arr EG – A foggy day, The Man I Love
What our performers have to say!
Errol is inspirational. It is a privilege to work with him and learn from him. He is a perfectionist and doesn't let anything go. I like that. He is also a great listener. He is receptive to ideas and comments made by individuals and enjoys the exchange. I have huge admiration for him and the constructive and encouraging way he works. He is a real 'enabler'.
Inspiring, as always. By far the finest musical director I have ever worked with. It was a wonderful experience to work with such a musician as Errol. His exacting requirements made us work hard to achieve perfection… He set a high bar which I'm sure we all appreciate as musicians.
I did so enjoy the week at Lumieres. It feels like such a family now, and it was particularly nice to have so many French singers there. I thought the concert was excellent. I do hope to see you all next year. And wish it were sooner as I sit here (back home in England) with the rain pouring down and the skies battleship grey.
Thank you all for a wonderful week, and especially Kate, Jo and Cy for all their unseen and unobtrusive work in organizing everything and keeping everyone happy. It's taken a week to get into real life again: I had a lovely holiday and some of the music is still going round and round -- also trying not to eat much for a while. It was especially rewarding to meet so many French singers and I hope the entente cordiale was enhanced! Best wishes and beaucoup d'amities to everyone, Cheers et Salut
Keith - Tenor
"Singing with Errol, his choice of music, Provence, good wine and food, warmer weather than England, the high probability that I would enjoy the company of the singers you had invited. The week was good fun, musically challenging (but I expected that!) and it lived up to expectations."
Catherine - Soprano
I loved it all. The Poulenc was one of the highlights of my musical life. Just to get from beginning to end of this piece was a massive achievement, so to perform it pretty well… I had an absolute ball.
John - Bass
"I think first and foremost is the chance to sing under Errol’s direction. In my mind he is one of the best choral directors not least because he is a singer himself. I like the way Errol demands nothing less than the best we can offer but helps the choir enormously to find how to give their best and always with that winning smile".
Mary Ann - Alto
What a wonderful week! It’s my second Ristretto summer and I hope there will be many more to come. “Figure humaine” was an inspired choice. It stretched us and, I’m sure I’m not speaking just for myself here, moved us deeply. I feel enriched and invigorated by the whole Ristretto experience!
Jenny - Soprano
The programs other years have always been great, combination of challenge and nourishment, beauty and fun. This year was another dimension again and I was grateful for both pieces; still living off them substantially! I’m so glad to have been part of the Poulenc it absolutely was a transformative journey learning and performing, amazing piece; thank you Errol for everything you did - long haul as well as in the immediate - to get us to know it well enough..!! Thought Bach was perfect companion and enjoyed that so much too.
Rosemary - Alto
I have come away from both years doing this, feeling I have learned more about my own singing, strengths, weaknesses etc. Key elements- a good friendly group, absence of competitiveness, so a reasonably similar standard and the immense amount of effective hard work by all the team to make everyone feel welcome and important. Thank you!
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