A strong content concept

The central program takes place at Watou, from Wednesday 9 tot Sunday 13 May 2018. The pre-ouvertures at Boëseghem, (French Flanders) Grimbergen, Poperinge, Koksijde, Antwerp, Brussels, Dunkirk, Wervik and Haringhe provide a substantial foretaste from Friday 4th May onwards.

For the four central auditions each choir is given a fixed program to perform. Here a repertoire will be offered that hasn’t been sung for some 900 years, the scores of which have been sleeping in abbeys and library archives.

The programs for the afternoon and evening concerts are filled alternatively with Gregorian chant and beautiful music developed from the Gregorian repertoire.

Gregorian chant is liturgical chant first of all. So it is self-evident that Gregorian liturgy forms one of the pillars of the festival, next to auditions and concerts.

Artistic plan of the Festival

One can state that the overall artistic plan of the Festival, since it was founded in 1981, has been based on

  • organic growth and acquainted expertise
  • a well-designed policy of continuity, fame and long term vision
  • constant quality improvement by programming famous ensembles
  • a strong international profile that forms the basis of a unique event
  • inventive and fresh programs aimed at the audiences
  • cooperation with partner locations and cultural organisations with close attention for the central objective of the Festival
  • a strong content concept

This last item is very important. After twelve editions one might feel tempted – for promotional or organizational reasons - to choose easier paths by filling up the program with other forms of religious music. One might envisage orthodox music or polyphony. We choose not to do that since these forms of music are programmed in other festivals throughout Europe. We want to preserve the unique character of the Watou Festival, which enables us to deepen the repertoire more profoundly via various auditions and concerts in a great variety of interpretative forms. The vieux fonds repertoire, but also local traditions in the Gregorian literature and more recent developments will be presented in the 2018 edition of the Festival. However, some concerts or parts of them will be completed with music based on Gregorian chant or inspired by it. Also modern compositions (e.g. Arvo Pärt) will be presented here.

This last item is very important. After twelve editions one might feel tempted – for promotional or organizational reasons - to choose easier paths by filling up the program with other forms of religious music. One might envisage orthodox music or polyphony. We choose not to do that since these forms of music are programmed in other festivals throughout Europe. We want to preserve the unique character of the Watou Festival, which enables us to deepen the repertoire more profoundly via various auditions and concerts in a great variety of interpretative forms. The vieux fonds repertoire, but also local traditions in the Gregorian literature and more recent developments will be presented in the 2018 edition of the Festival. However, some concerts or parts of them will be completed with music based on Gregorian chant or inspired by it. Also modern compositions (e.g. Arvo Pärt) will be presented here.