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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Close on 60 people spent a glorious day singing and playing Bach Cantatas on Saturday 27th April under the expert direction of Paul Spicer. Cantatas 77 and 150 were chosen not only for their lusciousness, but also because they have a lot for the chorus to sing – not that we minded listening to some excellent soloists. What heaven!
We now look forward to the Dowland weekend in June – come and listen in on Philip Thorby’s Masterclass on the Saturday or take part in small singing and playing groups on the Sunday. See the Events Diary for details.
The next workshop on 27th April is with Paul Spicer who is well known as an outstanding choral conductor, composer and musicologist. This will be a rare and exciting opportunity to sing or play Cantata BWV 150 with baroque orchestra and another to be decided. The venue is Warley Woods Methodist church and details and booking form can be found in ” Events Diary”