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.
Here is a chance to hear a version of Cantata 150 together with a rolling score. http://youtu.be/LzT4APqCqRY
Next workshop to look forward to is on 2nd March. Here’s an opportunity to work on some less familiar pieces by two great masters of English renaissance music, Thomas Tallis (1505-85) and William Mundy (1529-1591). Tallis is much the better-known of these two, having composed some of the best-loved and most-performed music of its period; his music has in the last decade been recorded in its entirety and his celebrated forty-part motet Spem in Alium has become almost a pop classic. Mundy, a generation or so later than Tallis, is a more obscure figure, less of whose music has been performed and recorded, undeservedly so, since he was a fine composer. A final selection of pieces has not yet been made, but we hope to look at one or two large-scale works by these composers, or at any rate by Tallis. Possibilities include the motets Suscipe Quaeso, Videte Miraculum, Forgive me Lord my Sin, Gaude Gloriosa (we could easily spend a whole workshop on this piece alone), and Magnificat (Anglican Latin setting) all by Tallis, and Mundy’s Adolescentulus Sum Ego, In te Domine Speravi, and Nunc Dimittis to Mr Parsons. Some of these are pieces which, perhaps because of their difficulty and sheer length (Suscipe and Videte last about ten minutes, Gaude fifteen or more, and the middle sections of Gaude are reduced voices) get less of an airing than they should.
Our tutor for this event is Alistair Dixon, founder and director of the vocal ensemble Chapelle du Roi and an experienced conductor and workshop director. Alistair and Chapelle have together recorded all of Tallis’s music on ten CDs, a monumental achievement, so his expertise and authority in this repertoire is unquestionable. Alistair has directed a number of successful workshops for MEMF over the years but none recently, so it is good to welcome him back now.
Singers will be required in all voice parts. Scores will be provided. Booking form is available to print off from the Events Diary.
Hopefully you have already booked your place on the December 1st Vocal Workshop with Steven Rice in Harborne. Steven will be taking us through works by Clemens (non Papa) and Mouton and if it lives up to previous vocal workshops he has tutored for us, we will enjoy some lovely music spiced up with interesting background information. 2012 is believed to be Clemens’ 500th anniversary (though this is disputed) so he’s an appropriate choice.
Note for your diaries for something to provide a soothing antidote to the rigours of January sales; on 26th January, John Hancorn is our tutor for a workshop covering Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater at Selly Oak Methodist Church. This event is for singers and continuo, booking forms available soon. As ever, we urge you to book early and in this case it will be particularly important as the particular score to be used is not too easily available and arrangements will have to be made.
Please do remember that we’d love to hear your feedback on workshops. You can either leave comments here on the News page, or if you use Facebook, why not “Like” the MEMF page and leave comments on our wall. Yes, MEMF goes wildly techy!
The booking form and leaflet are now available for the next MEMF workshop “The Different Faces of William Byrd” – tutor Will Dawes – on 29th September 2012. We haven’t had a Byrd workshop for quite a while now, so if you’ve been pining, it’s time to book up. This versatile and long-lived composer created works for both small, private performances and large-scale, public events. The eventual selection of music for this workshop will depend on the balance of singers who book up.
For this reason, and for the reasons outlined in the recent Newsletter article by our Workshop coordinator, Gillian Grason-Smith, it is essential that you book early. Last-minute bookings are causing all sorts of logistical problems and have led to near and actual cancellations of workshops.
At present, if you book but are unable to attend on the day for some reason, you will get a full refund if you let us know. So there is no risk in booking up early!
NB this is at a new venue for us (St Paul’s Church in Warwick) so we are awaiting more details on the best places to park for this event.
The first outing for the Renaissance BIG Band on 26 November brought together a splendid selection of earlier instruments, a few singers and even a couple of drums. Kathleen Berg steered us rapidly through a programme of Susato dances, and the “In Dulci Jubilo” arrangements by Hieronymus and Michael Praetorius. This was also the first outing for MEMF’s new Roland electronic harpsichord/organ/fortepiano, purchased with the assistance of a generous gift from a benefactor. It is intended that the keyboard will be available both for use at workshops and also for loan to groups and individual MEMF members. More details on how this will work later.
The next Winter workshop is a treat for lovers of the earlier repertoire. David Hatcher will concentrate on Josquin and Lassus renditions of Praeter Rerum Seriem. This workshop on 21 January 2012 is for singers and renaissance-type instruments (A=440).
Our workshops are open to members of MEMF, members of other early music forums, and also to non-members and you don’t have to be a regular member of any choir or music group to come along (you do need to be able to sight-read to some extent).
We are also very happy to see members come along just to listen in to workshops in which they have an interest but can’t actively take part in – for example singers observing an instrumental workshop. Since we are often lucky enough to be working on music not readily accessible elsewhere, this can be a way to get to know some unusual repertoire even if it won’t be too polished! Members are only charged a fee for observing for certain events such as the forthcoming Master Classes with Philip Thorby.
See the Diary for events coming up. You can print off a booking form before each event to send in to the workshop coordinator.