Stunning Baroque music in the French countryside - here's the utterly splendid Itinéraire Baroque festival

26 August 2016, 16:12 | Updated: 6 January 2017, 14:45

Let us introduce you to Ton Koopman's Itinéraire Baroque festival - bringing the best period music to the Dordogne in southwest France. Because beautiful music is always best experienced in beautiful places.

Harpsichordist, organist and conductor Ton Koopman has good taste - he's taken Baroque music around the world, he's produced hundreds of acclaimed recordings over the years – including cycles of Bach and Buxtehude – and he also knows a jolly good way to spend his summer.

For 15 years (with the help of his orchestra, choir, and a few friends), he's been taking period music to some gorgeous and historic locations in southwest France.

2016's Itinéraire Baroque festival kicked off in Église de Champagne with a splendid all-Bach show from Koopman and his Amsterdam Baroque on a Thursday night.

Monteverdi, Handel and Scarlatti followed the next day at a 14th-century church in the village of Cercles. The festival's finale took place in the grandeur of the Church of Verteillac – with Mozart and Haydn Masses from Amsterdam Baroque. 

But it's the Saturday that was particularly special. Every festival-goer gets to travel around the area's village churches, which are filled with exquisite Baroque music played by some of the world's finest period musicians. 

Stunning village churches just like these:


The beautiful churches of Itinéraire Baroque.

A photo posted by Classic FM (@classicfm) onAug 17, 2016 at 6:13am PDT

 ...and from the inside: (just to make you fall in love a little bit more)


The beautiful churches of Itinéraire Baroque.

A photo posted by Classic FM (@classicfm) onAug 17, 2016 at 6:13am PDT


We were there for the entire festival, soaking up the music, enjoying the food, wine and sun (all recommended) and doing our best to capture the magic of the performances on social media. Here are a few of the highlights. 

Vivante treated us to Monteverdi masterpieces for two tenors, and a few solo gems like this one:

(and we got some bonus theorbo action)

Handel and Scarlatti on a hot night in Cercles. We took this cheeky Instagram... 


Beautiful Baroque music through the smallest crack in the door...

A video posted by Classic FM (@classicfm) onJul 31, 2016 at 2:36am PDT

In one of the most beautiful and intimate churches you could imagine, classical period songs performed by Anna Zander and Mayumi Kamata.

Another beautiful church, and this time some stunning Bach on harp

Here's some baroque comedy with Accademia Italiana and Lorenzo Bassotto, including a moment with a mosquito.

During this one-day whistle-stop tour of the region, when we weren't in a church, we were probably in the grounds of a Château. Here we are indulging in Dowland at Château de Beauregard. 


This is a good way to listen to music... (at Itinéraire Baroque)

A photo posted by Classic FM (@classicfm) onAug 26, 2016 at 2:13am PDT

Find out more about this fantastic way to experience good music, in one of the loveliest parts of the world on the Itinéraire Baroque website

We'll leave you with this, taken a few minutes before an incredible concert of Purcell songs...


A photo posted by Classic FM (@classicfm) onJul 31, 2016 at 2:26am PDT