Autumn delights

Baroque instrumentalists are invited to a workshop on 3rd October with Tutor Kate Fawcett, exploring music by Purcell, Blow and Scheidt and Philip Thorby makes a welcome return in November with a now familiar double act: a workshop on Saturday and Master Classes on Sunday. The workshop is on the music of Andrea Gabrieli, Giovanni’s uncle, who was organist and composer at St. Mark’s in Venice and whose music is considered to be more subtle and expansive than his nephew’s.Then in December everyone is welcome to sing or play in choruses from the Messiah. Bring your friends and family to join in – there will be punch and mince pies too!


Looking back and forward

The Kerll workshop was an excellent day. David Hatcher is a superb tutor who knows just how much to rehearse without becoming tedious and can get the best out of singers and players alike. The music is quite complex and was apparently much studied – and copied – by Bach and Handel. We had to work hard, but it was all very rewarding.

We have a break for the summer, but look forward to Will Dawes of Stile Antico introducing us to music by Giaches de Wert on September 19th.

July surprise

Who has heard of Johann Casper Kerll? …………… neither have I, but David Hatcher clearly has. Come to Rugby on July 11th and explore his Missa in Fletu Solatium – some of the music with which he made a name for himself in Vienna in the 1640s and which influenced many composers such as Bach and Handel.  All singers, string and wind players (pitch A440) welcome. See events page to book.

Spring Programme

March  brings an fascinating look at three 16th century composers – Palestrina, Victoria and de Padilla –  with Nigel Short, director of Tenebrae. Following in April  we commemorate our late Chairman Edwin Griggs with a workshop on Three Generations of the Bach family tutored by Paul Spicer. This not only has a reduced fee but also a free buffet lunch to celebrate! Then in May we have an informal half day singing Madrigals one, two or more to a part according to taste. Come and join in!

Looking forward to 2015

The New Year Revels having sadly been cancelled, the first workshop in 2015 will be for Baroque instrumentalists in February, tutored by Martin Perkins,Head of Early Music at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Singers can look forward to exploring Palestrina, Victoria and de Padilla in March with Nigel Short, Director of Tenebrae.

New Year Revels

In the depth of winter, on January 17th, why not head to a warm village hall in Dorridge for our annual Revels! The excellent David Hatcher will tutor an afternoon workshop for singers and Renaissance instruments- to include a 12 part Magnificat by the Polish Nicolai Zielenski – and lead us later in dancing. At 7.15 we will enjoy traditional hot punch and a ‘bring and share’ supper and the evening will continue after the dancing with informal performances from MEMF ensembles.

Henry Purcell with Steven Devine

We look forward to singing parts of Dido and Aeneas and the Fairy Queen at our next workshop with Steven Devine who has a busy career as a keyboard player, both solo and continuo, and Music director, working with many prestigious Ensembles such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and London Baroque.He is known to be an excellent and humorous Tutor so do come and join us at Selly Oak Methodist Church in Birmingham on 15th November.

Florentine Spectacular

In May we have another spectacular weekend workshop with Philip Thorby, who just gets better and better. This time the music will be from the Florentine Intermedii, originally written for the grand wedding of Ferdinando de Medici and Christine of Lorraine in 1598, The music is based on Mythological stories and culminates in a wonderful toe-tapping dance tune, a big hit in its day! Many fine composers contributed including Cavalieri, Malvezzi, Marenzio, Peri, Bardi and Caccini. As well as voices there are parts for many renaissance instruments including lutes, sackbuts, curtal, harpsichord, guitar, 2 violins, bass viols and even 4 recorders. Instrumentalists in particular need to book early so we can get the right balance.

King’s Coronation Anthems

On the 16th November the Internationally renowned Robert King, of the King’s Consort, will conduct a day workshop for singers, instrumentalists and continuo (A415)  on Handel’s Coronation Anthems; ‘My Heart is Inditing’ and ‘The King Shall Rejoice’. The venue is Selly Oak Methodist Church, Langleys Road which is well served by buses and trains from the City Centre and has plenty of parking nearby. this should be an exciting day.

The Russian Baroque experience on 28th September

It was an absolute privilege to be part of the group of singers assembled at St Nicholas Church in Warwick to be led by such an inspiring tutor. He knew exactly how to structure the day, beginning with simple yet heavenly music so that we could experience singing in Russian, then each new piece set new challenges, the previous ones having laid down the essentials of singing in this unfamiliar language. There was just the right amount of singing interspersed with interesting stories of life in the Russia of Catherine the Great. There was just the right amount of sitting and standing and the music he selected for us was just unbelievably sublime, a good mix of homophonic and contrapuntal textures.

I am so very glad that I attended. That workshop and Peter’s CD have opened up a whole new world of music for me that I had previously not experienced. Let’s hope he comes again to inspire us.

Susan Francis

Peter Leech was masterly. He handed out a wealth of music, assured us that singing in Russian wasn’t all that difficult and managed to sing tenor, conduct and play the piano simultaneously! His enthusiasm was infectious and his praise generous. I found the pieces themselves very interesting, musically and historically. We were treated to humorous anecdotes and relevant developmental facts from someone manifestly an expert in his field. The final rendition of the pieces we had been studying was quite stirring. I heard a few murmurings that the attendance was low (about 30, I think), but I don’t think the workshop suffered from that. I certainly enjoyed it and am considering attending the Handel and Purcell workshop in Birmingham on November 16th.
Chris Prior.