We were sorry to hear of the death of our friend Sue Peters, a stalwart of MEMF, Committee member and for several years our Publicity Coordinator. Sue had been ill for some time, and some of you will have been receiving updates via her husband Colin. Our condolences to him and to friends and family.
We began the year with a wonderful Renaissance vocal workshop with David Allinson, which was so oversubscribed we had to start a waiting list. David was in excellent and witty form as usual, though sadly will not be available for further Workshops for over a year as he is writing a book. But of course we have other top class Tutors to tempt you – Andrew Kirkman comparing Josquin, Dufay and Ockeghem in the new(ish) Dome Building in Birmingham University in March; Justin Doyle delighting us with extracts from the sacred dramas by Monteverdi for singers and instrumentalists in April and Richard Wilberforce exploring Royal music of the Spanish Renaissance in May. We also have Baroque workshops in February -Muffat with Nicolette Moonen – and French Music with Steven Devine in July. How can you resist!
We look forward to Jeffrey Skidmore’s workshop on Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit on December 10th. Amazingly it will be 20 years to the month since Jeffrey did his first workshop with us on the same work!
The long planned Peerson project, Richard Rastall’s edition of Peerson’s Grave Chamber Musique, came to Birmingham in a very enjoyable workshop earlier this month. We were introduced to this long forgotten composer by Robert Hollingworth, rehearsing the singers, and Richard Boothby, rehearsing the viols, coming together at intervals throughout the day to perform this glorious music which deserves to be better known. Many of us came away with the CD that I Fagiolini and Fretwork recorded earlier this year.
Do look at the events page for next year’s line-up of inspiring Tutors!
Renaissance Fest in July was an excellent informal day with a long and delicious tea break! Members Sheila Koch and Jonathan Spencer organised the singers and viol players respectively and we sang and played some really lovely music.
The new season begins in September with Zielenski, the Gabrieli of Poland in Leamngton with Graham O’Reilly, followed in October with two days of the excellent Philip Thorby in Solihull. See the events diary for other treats.
We are delighted to welcome back Graham O’Reilly to run the next MEMF workshop.
Graham O’Reilly, founder of the “Ensemble William Byrd”, has lived in France for more than 30 years. Originally from Australia, he studied at University of Sydney before coming to England to work as a Singer and Music Director. Graham continues to Direct “Ensemble William Byrd”, with whom he has made many highly acclaimed recordings. He also works throughout Europe as a Choral Conductor and Vocal Trainer, and is in great demand to lead masterclasses and workshops. Graham has run two previous workshops for MEMF, which were very successful and enjoyable:- Carissimi’s “Jeptha, and more recently, a wonderful Portugese Polychoral workshop..
The music we will be studying on 22nd February is Polychoral music of Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704), which was very much influenced by the years he spent studying in Italy with Carissimi. We hope to include Extremum dei judicium (H.24) for double Chorus and Baritone solo; and Salve Regina (H.24) for 3 Choirs.
We need plenty more singers for the 2 and 3 choir pieces, but we already have enough instrumentalists (unless there is a keen keyboard player who would like to help out with reading figured bass on the second keyboard part!).
Bookings please by February 8th.
For a sneak preview, go to Amazon where Graham’s recording of Charpentier choral music is available as an mp3 download.
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”