Here are some of the things that have been going on for the past few months in the world of Early Music since we have been locked down.

Many of the websites have ways that we can pay or donate, so we can use the money we would have spent on workshops and concerts to support the musicians (some are members of MEMF or have links with us), many of whom are freelance and have little or no way of earning money at present. In addition, Help Musicians UK has a special Coronavirus appeal.

Facebook is the easiest way to keep up to date with what’s new, as musicians and groups are updating their FB pages rather than their websites.(“Subscribe” or “follow” your favourite pages to get their latest posts). In addition you will find plenty to listen to on YouTube. 

There is much discussion online about safe distancing between groups of singers and  instrumentalists. There is a long article about it on I Fagiolini’s Facebook page.

Sections below cover TECHNOLOGY, SINGING, VIOL, LUTE, RECORDERS, MIXED INSTRUMENTS/CONCERTS AND DANCE.

N.B.The most recent additions are at the end of each section (unlike Facebook posts and other websites)

Technology

JAMKASAM We know that playing together on Zoom is not practical, because of the time lag, but I am told it is possible with Jamkasam. .It requires some basic technical ability to set it up, you need an ethernet connection, and some people say it only works within about 25 miles. It also takes almost all your wi-fi bandwidth, but an hour is probably as much as most people can sustain concentration. Have a look at a very detailed description here.

JAMULUS Some people are using a similar resource called Jamulus . There is a very useful video on YouTube made by the string quartet Vierimpuls, describing how they are using it to rehearse, which will give you an idea of what is involved.  If you’re up for it join OEMF Online Early Music Fora) below.

OEMF: Music in Lockdown with Jamulus meeting Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6pm

Well, now we can make real harmony online.  We have been testing Jamulus, which minimizes latency and enables us to sing or play together in very nearly the usual way.  We’d love you to join us.  Music can be fun again! From Robin of SWEMF and OEMF

  • Install Jamulus and run it.
  • Press Connect and choose OEMF from the list.
  • There is a Chat feature in case you are not being heard or don’t want to interrupt.

Jamulus has excellent documentation, helpful discussion fora, demos and a download page.  Setting it up can be straightforward or a struggle, depending on what technology you have.  The community is extremely helpful for those who need it.  The software has versions for Windows, Mac and Linux and a brand new Jamulus OS.

ZOOM is the way that online talks and workshops are transmitted. It is easy to set up and use.

Download the Zoom app. It will work on PCs, laptops,
tablets or smart phones but the larger the screen size the better the experience. Click where it says ‘join a meeting’.

Find the invitation email and click on the long underlined link or, if that doesn’t work, enter the ID and password information for the meeting and wait to be let in. You can’t join the meeting until the host has opened it.

Audio and Camera. Turn on your audio when prompted. Turn on your Camera when prompted (white video camera icon) or if you do not wish to be seen you can turn your camera off.

Gallery/Speaker View: Once you’ve joined the meeting choose between Gallery View (which shows small screens of all participants – good for seeing your friends and who else is present) or Speaker View (best once the presentation starts).

Mute/Unmute (the small microphone symbol). Your sound will be Muted by the Host once the presentation begins but you can Unmute yourself at any point eg, to applaud or ask a question at the end.

Chat (the white speech bubble symbol usually at the bottom of the black Zoom screen, or under 3 dots on IPads). This allows you to type a question to Everyone or just to one participant. Or can be used to send a message or question during the presentation.

Qs & As These are usually taken at the end of the presentation either from messages written into Chat or from participants raising an A4 piece of paper to attract the attention of the interviewer.

PLAYSCORE You may like to try PlayScore 2 currently for IPhone/iPad only. It allows you to take a photo of your music and it will play it, or you can import a PDF to play. It allows you to play at any speed you like, and you can set the instruments and transpose. It also exports MIDI if you want to do it that way.

Zoom Talks/Workshops

EMMA KIRKBY Zoom talk – if you missed this on 10th October you can book to hear the recording here

PATRICK CRAIG Zoom Illustrated Talks – these are proving to be very popular – Patrick is a Vicar Choral at St.Paul’s Cathedral and one of our popular Tutors. He is a very engaging speaker and his talks are full of choral music and photos. Below are the next two in the pipeline:-

Sunday 20th December at 8pm – Music of Epiphany: Part 1 Gifts and Stars. Hosted by MEMF, book here.

Thursday 14th January at 8pm – Music of Epiphany: Part 2 Journeys and Dreams. Hosted by TVEMF/EEMF Book here.

DAVID ALLINSON Zoom Singing Workshops – these are very scholarly, but with David’s trade mark references to food and other amusements. He talks in depth about the chosen music with a chance to sing along to a recording

Tuesday 24th November at 7.30O Sacrum Convivium : A Sacred Banquet – Settings by Tomás Luis de Victoria and Cristóbal de Morales. Hosted by BMEMF, book on their website here .

Wednesday 16th December at 7.30 – Motets for the Virgin Mary by Mouton and Verdelot. Mouton’s Nesciens Mater is a celebrated canonic wonder, in which four parts are strictly followed by four more, to create an expressive and apparently effortless eight-part tapestry conjuring up the image of Mary nursing the infant Jesus. The luminous polyphony of Verdelot is less well known, but Beata es, Virgo Maria is scintillating: structured around two cantus fermi the seven-part texture is rich and lyrical. Both pieces are pinnacles of the Franco-Flemish polyphonic art. Hosted by NEEMF, book on their website here.

5th January at 7.30 – On the Theme of Epiphany. Hosted by SEMF

ALISON KINDER

Thursday 26th November 7-8pm – How to sing or play from original Renaissance notation (facsimile). This short course will combine two live teaching sessions via Zoom and two specially prepared “play-along” videos for practising what we’ve learnt. Numbers will be limited, though if there is enough demand Alison will repeat the course early next year.
The second session will be on Thursday 3rd December at 7.00 pm.
Hosted by SEMF – more details and booking link here.

Saturday 9th January 2021, 10.30 – 12 – Michael East – didn’t he just write a few madrigals? He was one of the most published composers of his time. His output was varied, but it seems that today he is remembered mostly for his vocal music, and primarily for his madrigals. Chelys Consort of Viols and Fieri Consort are about to release a CD of East’s music, entitled ‘Amavi’ and in the whole seventy minutes there are only three madrigals – so what else did he write? Find out here on NEEMF’s website, where you can pay and book.

PLATINUM VIRTUAL VOCALS – Sing four Renaissance Motets leading up to Christmas, including a warm up and introduction to the music. On demand if you missed the dates. Details and booking here. £15 each or £75 for all.

Friday 20th November at 7pm – Nesciens Mater by Jean Mouton

Friday 27th November at 7pm – Hodie Christus natus est for double choir by Giovanni Gabrieli

Friday 4th December at 7pm – Lullaby My Sweet Little Baby by William Byrd

Friday 11th December at 7pm –  Angelus ad pastores ait a12 by Hieronymus Praetorius.

Friday 18th December at 7pm – A Renaissance Christmas: Virtual Concert A ‘performance’ of the four motets ?interspersed with traditional carols.

TVEMF AT CHRISTMAS

Monday 14th December at 7pm: In Dulci Jubilo – a Christmas Workshop with Andrew Griffiths who will explore well known Christmas music, focussing particularly on Hieronymus Praetorius’s Magnificat Quinti Toni, famous for the carols (In dulci jubilo and Josef Lieber) interpolated between the verses. Join with renaissance instruments and voices (pitch A=440) for a (muted) rehearsal and performance. PDF’s supplied in advance for you to print out. Hosted by TVEMF it will be followed by their AGM. Book here.

DAVID HATCHER

Tuesday 22nd December at 7.30pm: ?Praeter Rerum Seriem – an online workshop for singers and instrumentalists (A=440) comparing two settings of this text by Josquin des Prez and Adrian Willaert. Hosted by BMEMF, book here.

JOHN HANCORN and RICHARD WIGMORE Zoom Singing and playing workshops

Saturday 23rd January 2021 4 – 6.15 Handel’s Messiah. Book here.

Saturday 27th February 4 – 6.15 Bach’s St.Matthew Passion. Book here.

JOHN BRYAN – Founder of NEEMF – Zoom Illustrated Talk

Tuesday 9th February at 7.30. Hosted by TVEMF

SING THE SCORE EXTRA every other Saturday at 11am (see details below) Next dates are 14th November, 28th November and 12th December. Details are on the events page of this website.

THE TELLING IN RETREAT Every Friday morning 11-11.30 (see details below).

Singing – Take part

I Fagiolini  

  • Sing the Score gives you an in-house recording of an Italian madrigal with the music alongside so that you can sing along with the ensemble. Released 6pm occasional Fridays on YouTube, and introduced by Robert, there is a good collection now. See them here .
  • Sing the Score Extra, initiated and hosted by our chairman Nancy Slessenger, is a webinar chat with Robert every other Saturday at 11am. You can see guests, ask questions via a chat box and join in some singing (with the music in advance if you need it).To join, send an email to Nancy (nancy@vinehouse.com) and she will put you on the mailing list. Alternatively book through our website You are requested to donate a minimum of £5 to I Fagiolini each time (for members of the Ensemble who are currently unable to work) and encouraged to become a Friend for £30 or more a year.

The Kings Singers have a virtual performance of Tallis’s If Ye Love Me with the score displayed so that you can sing with them. Find them here.

Amilcar Enrique has a glorious video of Gesualdo’s Sacrae Cantiones I 18 Illumina faciem tuam with the score displayed so that you can sing with them. If you have autoplay turned on you will find other videos of music with scores displayed including Gesualdo’s Sacrae Cantiones I 17 Tribulationem et dolorem and responses from Tenebrae.

Much of David Hatcher’s “Consort Music Minus One” –  downloadable mp3 files of beautiful renaissance music recorded at A440 – is suitable for singers see his website here. It has expanded considerably to include newly edited Gassenhawerlin und Reutterliedlin (German street songs – listen to one below), madrigals by Palestrina and Cipriano de Rore and Savonarolan Motets. Contact David for advice at djhatcher@icloud.com

Sing along with the Tallis Scholars as they sing the wonderful Motet Tu Es Petrus by Palestrina, with the score scrolling on the screen.

Tenebrae with their Conductor Nigel Short are giving an online workshop on Sunday 18th October from 4 – 6 pm for singers of all ages as part of Music@Malling Festival 2020. Tickets £2.50 from here. Also on Saturday 24th October from 10-11am another one on My soul, there is a country from Songs of Farewell by Hubert Parry, and the exquisite Versa est in luctum, by Alonso Lobo. Free, but limited places – register here.

The Telling is a group formed in 2009 to bring early and medieval music off the page and reach wider audiences by creating intimate, staged concerts. They create a different concert experience, combining ancient song, ballads and upbeat dances with new writing, narrative, readings or film. They draw from a pool of leading musicians who perform for the Society of Strange & Ancient Instruments, I Fagiolini, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Carnival Band and The Dufay Collective. The Telling in Retreat is a Friday morning Zoom workshop from 11-11.30am featuring a medieval or Sephardic song or lullaby with music to download and sing along to (in unison). Every third Friday is a concert of the music studied in the previous 2 weeks. From 13th November for 6 weeks singer Ariane Prüssner will guide you through a mixture of medieval and traditional carols from around Europe as well as a few requests! Book your tickets here: £5 each week or £25 for all six.

Andy Watts of the Carnival Band (and many early music ensembles) invites you to join Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band on line to record two of their most popular carols. They provide music, guidance and backing tracks for you to record and upload your video at home, then all the videos will be edited together. Find out more here and see the result of a pilot project in the summer here.

Singing – Watch and listen

The Full Monteverdi, I Fagiolini’s most successful show was released online on May 15th to celebrate Monteverdi’s birthday. You can rent or buy it to download.

From the Conductor’s Stand- a regular illustrated talk by David Allinson for his choir, The Renaissance Singers, in his usual inimitable style (with references to food of course). It can be found on their Facebook page or on the Renaissance Singers website where you can donate. Four available.

Quarantine with The Sixteen has amassed a large number of videos including Eamon Dougann’s Top Tips (six episodes), Twenty Years of A Choral Pilgrimage (Harry’s favourites, 5 episodes), Lunchtime Soundbites (12 episodes), a virtual performance of Sheppard’s Libera Nos and two archive performances – Macmillan’s Stabat Mater and Bach’s The Passion.

The Tallis Scholars have a Marathon Playlist which you can access from their website . There is a large list of streaming services where you can play it and they get royalties for every track you listen to. You can also donate on the home page.

Stile Antico have produced a virtual performance of Tallis’s Spem in Alium and Will Dawes has recommended a beautiful recording of Cantiones sacrae I: Ne irascaris Domine by Byrd.

The Gesualdo Six have an interesting collection of videos on their Facebook page including Robert Pearsall’s  beautiful “Lay a Garland” with Andrew Cooper singing all parts.

The a capella Fieri Consort have a number of videos on YouTube. Visit them on Facebook or their website www.fiericonsort.co.uk.

Steven Devine and Kate Semmens  have produced a few amusing videos: Viral Video (don’t think you’ve got the wrong link!) and What Did You Do in Lockdown and the U-turn. They have serious videos on YouTube as well.

James Gilchrist accompanied by David Hatcher on viol, perform a sublime song from Gassenhawerlin und Reutterliedlin which was due to be part of the 3 Choirs Festival this year.

Lizzie Gutteridge, a specialist in Mediaeval music, sings a catch by Ravenscroft with the live-looper and some extra words of her own! See more on her Facebook page.

The Complete Works of Shakespeare madrigal to the music of Thomas Morley!

Armonico have recreated their popular Oz and Armonico Drink to Music concerts on YouTube (recorded live in the Court House. Warwick), in which Oz Clarke talks about wine and Eloise Irving, William Towers and the Armonico Consort provide some glorious music. Part one is English, part two German, part three Italian and part four Spanish. Watch them all here. Don’t be put off by hearing the same introduction for all four parts. Their performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas recorded live in Warwick’s Court House is still available on their Facebook page.

Armonico have a live recording of William Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices under the guest direction of their Associate Artistic Director, Geoffrey Webber on their Facebook page

A really gorgeous performance of Ave Maria a7 by Philippe Verdelot sung by the Renaissance Singers, directed by David Allinson.

Ensemble Pro Victoria (8 voice a capella group): 1. have released 5 tracks from a day of recording at Castle Howard, free to download (donations invited) here. You can buy the whole album for £5.00. 2. have begun a series of live hour-long concerts from St.Mary’s, Bourne Street, London. The second was entitled Musical Emblems of the Elizabethan Age. The third is centred around Victoria’s Requiem. See the concerts here.   If you listen to it please donate here.

Stile Antico’s 2014 concert of Motets by Giaches de Wert was streamed on Facebook on 30th August and is still available here

Stile Antico sing John Taverner’s Christie Jesu  as part of the Bitesize Prom Series – Classical Music in miniature). Please donate in aid of Help Musicians.

16th September at 2pm Stile Antico presents an exciting new programme, ‘The Journey of the Mayflower’, with extraordinary music and readings. It’s a film version for release in mid-September, coinciding with the 400th anniversary of the famous voyage across the Atlantic when William Bradford and his fellow pilgrims set out on their fateful journey across the Atlantic in the Mayflower, seeking freedom from persecution. England in 1620 was a country rife with religious and political division, standing on the brink of civil war. But the age also spawned some of the finest music ever composed in the land, with Gibbons, Tomkins and the aged Byrd overseeing the late flowering of the English musical Renaissance. This programme explores the journey the pilgrims took using music of the time, interspersed with extracts from Bradford’s diary and dramatic accounts from the pilgrims themselves, newly written for us. More details here and watch it here at a cost of £15 for 3 months rental.

Sunday 20th September at 6pm Au Naturel: concert about the Seasons by I Fagiolini live streamed from Kings Place, London. Programme includes Monteverdi, Howells, Brahms, Schütz, Poulenc, de Wert and two semi-staged pieces by Janequin, one of them “La Chasse” which some of us attempted to sing at Robert Hollingworth’s last workshop. Details and Online tickets (£12,50) available here

A short delightful song by Josquin about knitting, performed by La Fiamma on YouTube!

Quomodo Cantabimus by William Byrd sung by the Fieri Consort. A Bite Size Prom on Facebook raising money for Help Musicians UK – please donate if you listen.

The Marian Consort, directed by Rory McCleery (who is booked to Tutor a MEMF workshop in January 2021), has launched a major new strand of digital work. The headline feature of this is six 50-minute programmes available on-demand. Centred around vocal music, they’ve collaborated with poets, artists, actors, academics, filmmakers, and writers to shine new light and bring you something different. These are available pay-per-view via their website. For under a fiver you get carefully-crafted films shot in stunning spaces, featuring seraphic performances, incisive commentary, and beautiful visual art.

Tenebrae are taking part in the City of Derry (virtual) International Choir Festival with a concert, to include Lassus, Allegri, Reger and Bach, on Saturday 24th October 7 – 8 pm. Tickets are free but limited so book here.

Sign up here to Voices of Ascension from New York for a daily choral moment on Facebook.

The Renaissance Singers, directed by David Allinson, are showing archive performances on Facebook in Throwback Thursdays.

The Sixteen are streaming a 5 part Choral Odyssey every Wednesday at 7.30pm from 18th Nov-23rd Dec. Presented by actor Sir Simon Russell Beale, this special series explores choral music from across the ages in iconic, pertinent surroundings – from Byrd in Elizabeth I’s childhood home of Hatfield House, to Purcell in the reconstructed 17th-century theatre of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. These programmes, featuring performers from The Sixteen, reunite Harry Christophers and Simon Russell Beale, a partnership which proved so successful in the popular BBC Sacred Music series. The series culminates in an ‘as live’ relay of their special Christmas concert from Cadogan Hall, which will weave together six centuries of festive choral masterpieces. Details of each episode and tickets (£10 each) here.

An unusual version of Purcell’s beautiful Music for a While sung by The Kings Singers and Jakub Józef Orli?ski on YouTube.

Ex Cathedra are streaming a live recorded Renaissance concert on Sunday 29th November at 4pm, which will be on demand until 13th December. Programme includes Byrd, Tallis, Gibbons, Tomkins, Morley and Sheppard. Details of programme and booking tickets (10 euros) on their Facebook page here.

All things Viol – take part

Online Lessons

Many viol teachers are now giving lessons online using zoom or other platforms – see below. The UK Viola da Gamba Society has a lot of information about this and is a very useful source of knowledge. Their link section will tell you where you can get replacement strings if one breaks and lots of other useful information. You don’t need to be a member to access the majority of the site.

Jacqui Robertson-Wade (MEMF member) of the Rondo Viol Academy is in the process of recording 150 lessons at 5 different levels, so it’s possible for complete beginners can learn the viol, as these are progressive lessons.  She has nearly completed 30 lessons for the Elementary Level, with 10 lessons on each viol.  She has also created a Progressive Viol Lessons page with links to lessons from Alison Kinder, Sam Stadlen and herself.  This is to help players find the right lesson for their ability and you can also search by piece or teacher.

Alison Kinder has created her own YouTube channel where if you become a patron you can have access to “The Clinic” which looks at all aspects of viol playing. In the latest she is talking about different arrangements of broken consorts. She anticipates a new video each week. You can also access it from the Rondo Viol Academy above and follow her on Facebook.

Claire Horacek (MEMF member) will also give lessons online: email clairehoracek@gmail.com

Alison Crum another experienced teacher will also give beginner lessons online. Sshe has a new website here and has produced a series of videos on Viol technique – 16 so far.

Alison Kinder has recorded a virtual Medieval Cantiga Workshop in which any instrument at A440 can take part. The music for the session, a Cantiga from the Red Book of Montserrat, can be printed off from LosSetGotxs.pdf and the video can be watched on the SWEMF website here.

Consort Playing

When you need someone to play with then the following resources have been produced enabling you to play along with a pre-recorded consort, with whichever part you want to play missing (There are more on the VdGS website):

David Hatcher’s “Consort Music Minus One” –  downloadable mp3 files of beautiful renaissance music recorded at A440 – see his website here. It has expanded considerably to include newly edited Gassenhawerlin und Reutterliedlin (German street songs – listen to one below), madrigals by Palestrina and Cipriano de Rore and Savonarolan Motets. David may also give lessons online  –  email him at djhatcher@icloud.com

The Chelys Consort of Viols are also recording consorts minus one. Follow them on Facebook to hear when new videos are released.

Sam Stadlen: play along videos and tutorials online can be found here or with a link from the Rondo Viol Academy above. 

Thomas Gettys has created a website of Midi files of consort-minus-one music for viola da Gamba and recorders to play along /practice with. He explains clearly what a Midi file is and how you can alter the speed and pitch and even download the music.

Viol – Watch and listen

Search on YouTube for viol consort music. Well known ensembles are Fretwork, Chelys Consort of Viols and of course David Hatcher’s Linarol Consort.

Look for the Early Music Group and the Viola da Gamba Society on Facebook for posts by members.

Asako Morikawa has a series of Multitrack videos for you to listen to or play along with.

James Gilchrist accompanied by David Hatcher on viol, perform a sublime song from Gassenhawerlin und Reutterliedlin which was due to be part of the 3 Choirs Festival this year.

It’s not early music, but fun and played on viols by David Hatcher!

Ex Animo – Nic Hyde (a MEMF member), treble viol, Ryonfa Lee, bass viol, Ludmila Podgaiskaia, spinet and Sara Stowe, soprano, perform a concert of German and Italian music in aid of Help Musicians.

Alison Kinder gives an illustrated 40 minute talk about the travels and solo viol lyra-style music of Tobias Hume, soldier and mercenary, including discussion of his spat with John Dowland.

Ibrahim Aziz has made a short 20 minute film, entitled The Music of Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe Le Pere,about the famous but mysterious 17th century musician, inventor of the 7-string viola da gamba and teacher of the great violist and composer, Marin Marais (1656 – 1728)

Parthenia Viol Consort (Lawrence Lipnik, Rosamund Morley, Beverly Au and Lisa Terry) with guest Motomi Igarashi performed the Complete Book of 1610 by Michael East in April 2019 in New York City. Hear Amavi here and Triumphavi here . Parthenia’s website is here .

The Chelys Consort of Viols have created a YouTube video playing a very serious piece written by harpsichordist and Director of Studies at Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, Francis Knights. It’s based on a popular children’s song, which is being played veeeerrryyy slooowwwwllly by Kate (top right in the video) Can you tell what it is?

Between now and August, Fretwork will be publishing previously unreleased recordings of Purcell Fantasias, performing each fantasia on the day it was composed, together with Fretwork’s edition of the score and parts. The first of these, the fantasia in G minor Z. 735 is free for all. The rest will be available only to Friends of Fretwork.

Lute – take part


If you are interested in learning to play the lute, or just have an interest in the instrument the first port of call is the Lute Society website . MEMF has a 7 course Renaissance lute in G for loan, in the custody of our Secretary (yatesdp@gmail.com) in Sutton Coldfield, and instruments can also be hired from the Lute Society.

On their homepage there is now “Lute in Lockdown” which gives a list of teachers who can teach via Skype or Zoom, and lists of upcoming events. Also their own YouTube channel where among other things you can play virtual duets with Lynda Sayce. This is very new but is expanding rapidly.

Lute – Watch and listen

Jacob Heringman has made a series of 5 videos on YouTube entitled Lockdown Lute, which are illustrated talks about the Renaissance lute.These can be found at the Early Music Shop here.

Jacob Heringman and Clare Wilkinson play Dowland.

Dowland’s Now, O Now performed by Les Canards Chantants (Lute and voices) 

Lynda Sayce has posted a youtube video on the history of the lute.

There is plenty of lute music to be found on the Lute Society Facebook page and YouTube channel, as well as searching YouTube for Lute.

11a Peacock Yard is a new YouTube channel created for renowned Lute makers Stephen Barber and Sandi Harris. As well as making beautiful lutes they have made a huge contribution to research into historical instruments. The first video explains that Stephen is now disabled and in a wheelchair and they need to move their workshop, though sadly he died just before they were due to move. Subsequent videos will be of lute related material, much of it from customers and friends, and a Fund-raising campaign has been started by Lynda Sayce to help with the costs of moving. Please donate here if you can.

Lynda Sayce’s Virtual Road Show: the development of the lute from the oud to the earliest theorbo using her extensive collection of instruments. She includes four-part music for different sizes of lute as well as a number of solo pieces. See it here. (35 minutes)

Nick Gravestock (MEMF Member) plays lute music on occasional Saturdays in the 1620’s House at Donington le Heath. near Coalville, Leicestershire. Book a timed ticket here – they are valid for a year.

European Lute Quartet in Florence (2019) play two pieces by Robert Johnson – Ballet and The Prince’s Maske – arranged for 4 lutes by Gian Luca Lastraioli (2.5 mins) Watch and listen here

Recorders – Take part

Online Lessons

Mary Tyers (usually teaches at the Early Music Shop) – mary@marytyers.co.uk  or 0776 2374638

Alyson Lewin 01785 716957 or 07751 964156

Linda Hardwick FCTL (MEMF Member) linda.204@hotmail.co.uk or 01684 564203

Visit the Society of Recorder Players (SRP) website for lots of information and a variety of links including David Moses  see below:

David Moses has produced a series of backing tracks, but so far almost the only early music is a jazz accompaniment of  Handel’s Sonata in F Op1 for treble recorder and some Playford dances for descant, accompanied by a lute. His link is on the SRP website.

Emma Murphy has all sorts of useful stuff in her shop including consorts minus one to play along with.

Sarah Jeffrey has a Team Recorder YouTube channel with a large number of videos about playing the recorder  including a couple of play-along ones. She also runs a 4 week online course to improve your playing., though the May one has just finished.

Helen Hooker is creating weekly videos, along with the sheet music, so players can join in with the sound of a real consort. These include a conducting track in each video along with some hints and tips about playing the music. All the resources can be found here – sign up to receive notifications – or follow her on the SRP Facebook page

Much of David Hatcher’s “Consort Music Minus Oneis suitable for recorder ensembles.

Thomas Gettys has created a website of Midi files of consort-minus-one music for viola da Gamba and recorders to play along /practice with. He explains clearly what a Midi file is and how you can alter the speed and pitch and even download the music.

Consorts.co.uk is a new independent business supplying high quality ‘play-along’ recordings for the recorder playing community. It will be launching on the bank holiday weekend and as a special opening offer, Consorts are offering free access to the whole site for that weekend (29th-31st August). At launch they are aiming to have about 80 works available. Each will have a webpage providing some basic information about the piece along with links to the score and parts and a complete recording of the piece as well as versions with all individual parts missing as well. This should total around 600 recordings! To find out more, Consorts have an introductory webpage  with details and a video montage of some of the pieces.

Alison Kinder has recorded a virtual Medieval Cantiga Workshop in which any instrument at A440 can take part. The music for the session, a Cantiga from the Red Book of Montserrat, can be printed off from LosSetGotxs.pdf and the video can be watched on the SWEMF website here.

Continuo Lines founded by Tabea Debus (virtuoso recorder player) and Benedict Williams (continuo player) is a library of an ever-evolving online collection of basso continuo play- along recordings for players of all backgrounds and levels of learning.  With this resource players will gain confidence in playing with a continuo line, i.e. an accompaniment consisting of a bass line with added figures (numbers) specifying the harmonies to be played in addition. Initially focusing on recorder repertoire, we plan to offer resources for other instruments in the future. Find it here.

Join Pam Smith 10 -10.30 every morning from 19th to 25th December for Recorder duets. Music will mostly be from “Mediaeval Christmas Carols” ed. by Greg Lewin. Click here for details how to join and donate to the Samaritans.

Recorders – Listen

Go to YouTube and search for recorder music whether solo or ensemble, renaissance or baroque. Well known  ensembles are The Flanders quartet, The Royal Wind Music,  Palisander and Fontanella.

There are also some jewels on the SRP page and on the Early Music page on Facebook.

From the Divine to the Ridiculous: Reconsidering the Recorder’s image in the Renaissance – an illustrated half hour talk by Helen Herbert.

A delightful performance including some stunning recorder playing from the Vivid Consort and David Bergmuller (lute) in Dowland’s “Can she excuse my wrongs” from the First Book of Songes or Ayres.

Mixed Instruments – Take part

Cat on the Keys Music has downloadable backing tracks of renaissance and baroque music for all sorts of instruments at various pitches.

Corona Consort Karaoke Play-Along Store has been created by City Musick, the Renaissance Wind Band . They have recorded music ‘minus a part’ in whole and mixed consorts  of recorders, cornets, shawms, dulcians and sackbuts for you to play along with on any instrument. For £5 a piece you can download a quality audio file of the full piece, an audio file of the piece minus the part you want to play and a pdf score (with parts where necessary)

Jude Rees is offering online tuition on modern and early woodwind including recorders, shawms, English border bagpipes, curtal/dulcian, crumhorns. Contact her here. MEMF have crumhorns available for loan.

20th September: The Early Music Retreat – a Day of online tutorials for Renaissance music. Six Tutors in the UK present a variety of online sessions for voice (Deborah Catterall), viol (Elizabeth Dodd), lute (Hugh Cherry and Richard MacKenzie) and recorder (Michael Piraner and Philip Gruar). They will cover aspects of performance practice, two and three part ensembles in a ‘minus-one’ arrangement, technique for voice, viol, lute, recorder and choral work, ending with a qigong and voice workshop. Open to participants anywhere in the world. One hour classes at £15 per session run from 9.30 to 5.00 – you can choose as many or few as you like. Details and booking here

Alison Kinder has recorded a virtual Medieval Cantiga Workshop in which any instrument at A440 can take part. The music for the session, a Cantiga from the Red Book of Montserrat, can be printed off from LosSetGotxs.pdf and the video can be watched on the SWEMF website here.

Mixed Instruments / Concerts

Ensemble Échos (flute, violin, viola da Gamba and Harpsichord) have a number of videos of baroque music to listen to on their website. Their latest offering is a series of concerts called Five O’clock Baroque on Sundays. Tune in here.

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment directed by Steven Devine, have a monthly series of illustrated talks called “Bach, the Universe and Everything”. Now recorded live in their home in the King’s Place, London. See them all here.

Hespèrion XXI directed by Jordi Savall have numerous videos on YouTube,

Eboracum Baroque have a series of virtual coffee concerts (solos) on YouTube. They are Zoomed live on Facebook and YouTube when you can ask questions. Follow them on Facebook to find out when the next one is.

The Orchestra of the Age of Isolation, with musicians from France, England, Scotland and Switzerland  play the beautiful  Entrée de Polymnie by Rameau.

Sounds Baroque mini concerts:  solos performed by Julian Perkins on keyboard and duets with Emma Abbate (not all are baroque!)

Weekly Music from Worcester at 6.30. A variety of performances (not all early) from a variety of people including Martin Perkins and Kate Fawcett and Christopher Allsopp. Follow them on Facebook to find out what they are playing for the week.

Angel Music, a charity supporting Early Music Education and performance, have sponsored a number of illustrated talks and concerts on YouTube including Alison Kinder talking about Tobias Hume, Fieri talking about Marenzio and Halcyon performing on harp and Lute. Find them here Subscribe to the Angel Music mailing list here and you will be notified about new videos.

Did you ever wonder what a consort of crumhorns sounded like? Early Music in a Different Way have a wonderfully pictorial video of Susato’s Pavane “La Battaille” with drums, viols and crumhorns (and a lot else!)

Christopher Monks, director of Armonico, plays Bach’s Goldberg Variations as part of their “Unlocking Musical Memories” series for people suffering from Dementia. All on their Facebook Page.

Les Arts Florissants celebrate their fortieth birthday in William Christie’s stunning garden at dusk with a really sumptuous concert of Handel, Lully, Purcell and Rameau. There is a long introduction before the concert begins.

The Oxford Bach Soloists (OBS) is a Baroque ensemble whose ambition is to perform, in sequence, the complete canon of J. S. Bach’s vocal works over 12 years. This has been somewhat interrupted during the Coronavirus Pandemic, but they have a few videos on their YouTube channel.

Bach’s Ascension Oratorio: Professor Ashley Solomon, Head of Historical Performance, directs the Royal College of Music’s Baroque Orchestra and RCM Chamber Choir in an uplifting rendition of this oratorio here.Recorded on 12 February 2020 in the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall at the Royal College of Music in London.

BBC Prom: Thursday 3rd September live from the Royal Albert Hall Violinists Nicola Benedetti and Alina Ibragimova join period-instrument group the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for a celebration of Baroque concertos by Handel, Vivaldi, Avison and Bach. On Radio 3 at 7.30 and BBC 4 at 8.00 and afterwards on BBC Sounds.

Il Bianco e Dolce Signo, a renaissance madrigal by Arcadelt is here sung by the Kings Singers and here arranged by Banchieri, an early Baroque composer, for two dulcians

Ensemble Principale – 6 baroque trumpets, keyboard and drums in Dresden make a fabulous sound in a short 6 minute concert here.

Academy of Ancient Music – Spotify Sundays – a weekly playlist of AAM concerts (about an hour and a half) personally chosen by AAM players, conductors, soloists and guests introduced every Sunday at 3pm, but all available here.

Hesperi at Home – The Hesperi Ensemble (the recorder and keyboard half) are back for their autumn series of live concerts with a talk on their Facebook Page on Saturdays 31st October and 7th November at 1pm London time and roughly fortnightly afterwards. You can see all their past videos there too. Please donate if you can here.

New Trinity Baroque have posted a playlist of four hours of Baroque music including Corelli, Vivaldi, Bach, Albinoni, Handel, Torelli and some lesser known composers. Listen on YouTube here. Founded in London in 1998, they are now based in Atlanta, US.

Tenebrae Unlocked Musica Dei Donum the first of a series of 4 short concerts filmed in St.Augustine’s Kilburn. Streamed on Friday 20th November at 7pm (and available for 30 days) it includes music by Tallis, Byrd, Lassus and Victoria. Buy you £7 ticket here. (The other concerts are from later periods).

Singers from Eboracum Baroque are in concert with the the Recorder Quartet, Palisander, presenting works by Byrd, Tallis, Tomkins and Dowland in exciting new arrangements. The concert will be pre recorded in the beautiful surroundings of Peterborough Cathedral and broadcast online on Saturday 21st November at 7pm. From Byrd’s peaceful sacred music to energetic Elizabethan dances they will present a varied programme from across the 16th century. It can be watched online at YouTube and Facebook

Ensemble Échos have a Five O’Clock Baroque series starting on 22 November at 17.00 (GMT) for three consecutive Sundays. They will be sharing (via Facebook and YouTube) three recent live recorded performances of Trios and Quartets by Bach, Handel and Telemann. These are free to watch, but you can make a donation to support future projects. Details and links here.

Here is a bit of seasonal fun from Joglaresa whose Director Belinda Sykes entertained us on SingTheScore EXTRA last week. Listen here.

Eboracum Baroque are posting Christmas Crackers (short pieces) throughout December. Find them here.

A Bitesize Prom from the summer – an interesting take on There is a Light that Never Goes Out, by the Smiths, from Elizabeth Kenny (lute) and Iestyn Davies (countertenor). What a gorgeous sound – listen here and donate to Help Musicians.

Festivals

The Suffolk Villages Festival under the direction of Peter Holman, has an online concert in lieu of their postponed Summer Festival:- Helen Charlston (mezzo-soprano) & Terence Charlston (harpsichord) perform Purcell, and Handel; Mark Caudle (viola da gamba) plays Bach and Steven Devine (harpsichord) plays Böhm, Pachelbell and Bach.   If you feel able to make a donation having listened, please click here

Brecon Baroque  Festival 23-25 October: Included in the Festival is the eagerly-awaited première of Chad Kelly’s arrangement of the Goldberg Variations, created especially for violinist Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque. This ambitious re-imagining was filmed in Brecon Cathedral over three days in August and will be streamed on Saturday, 24 October at 7.00pm. There is also a documentary about the project featuring all the musicians plus celebrated author, Horatio Clare (Sat 24 October at 4pm). 
The Festival is book-ended by Rachel and Chad with an introductory talk (23 October at 7pm) and an interactive Q&A Zoom (25 October at 7pm). Details and tickets (£4/£6/£12 or £20 for everything ) here.

Brighton Early music Festival (BREMF) 23rd October -1st November
Performers include Baroque Ensemble Augelletti, Piers Adams (recorder virtuoso), Joglarresa (medieval) Musicke in the Ayre (soprano and lutre/harp) and traditional music from Africa and Asia. Details here

London Sound Gallery, – an inaugural festival that celebrates the talent and versatility of some of the UK’s finest young musicians, hosted by the Gesualdo Six. Performers taking part in the series include Fieri Consort, Helen Charlston, Ensemble Augelletti, Matilda Lloyd, The Hermes Experiment and The Gesualdo Six. Themes include reconnection, new beginnings and reconciliation and in this spirit, The Gesualdo Six will be collaborating with each artist as part of their programme. Sundays 25th October – 29th November at 5pm and on demand until the end of the year. Season Tickets £45, £10 individual from here go to support the musicians.

London International Festival of Early Music: LFEMDigital, 5th – 11th November. All events will be streamed on the website and their exhibitors’ hall will be available throughout the week, 24 hours a day.
There will be a mixture of free and paid-for content, and an extensive array of instruments and accessories from leading makers around the world. 10 Concert performers include harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, winner of The Society of Recorder Players/Moeck International Solo Recorder Competition 2019, Tabea Debus, and viol consort Fretwork, who will be giving the world premiere of a new work by John Paul Jones, prolific performer, composer and founding bassist of Led Zeppelin. The three finalists of this year’s Early Music Young Ensemble Competition will have their recitals filmed live at the usual venue, St Michael and All Angels Church, Blackheath, and streamed on the website during the week.

Live From London Christmas Festival:1st December – 6th January, follows on the highly successful Summer Festival. The internationally renowned line-up includes hosts VOCES8, with vocal groups The Tallis Scholars, Take 6, I Fagiolini, London Adventist Chorale, Anúna,  Amarcord, The Aeolians, and Apollo5. Soloists in the series include baroque violinist Rachel Podger (A Guardian Angel) and baritone Roderick Williams (Solstice); Roderick also appears in Bach For Christmas. Details here. See below for ticket prices.

The Live From London Festival includes Bach For Christmas by the Gabrieli Consort & Players directed by Paul McCreesh present a stunning line-up of soloists filmed at St John’s Smith Square, London. The six Christmas Oratorio cantatas, will each be broadcast on the day for which they were liturgically written. Details here. Ticket prices: £12.50 for individual tickets , £80 for the first 10 concerts + one Gabrieli, £120 for all 15 concerts. Buy them here.

Historical Dance Society Weekend Playford Festival 7-8th November. See under Dance (scroll down).

The York Early Music Christmas Festival 4th – 13th December is live, but two concerts will be available online – Joglaresa on the 8th December and the York Waits on the 9th. Book individual concerts here.

Part of the same Festival is Christmas At Home which consists of 9 online concerts from 11th – 13th December at 7pm. The performers are the Marian Consort (singers), Chiaroscuro Quartet (Mozart quartets), Palisander (recorders), Illyria Consort (violin, theorbo & organ/harpsichord), Spiritato (mixed ensemble play Bach), Steven Devine (Bach’s 48 Preludes and Fugues), Stile Antico (singing) and a trio of singers – Bethany Seymour, Helen Charlston, Frederick Long with Peter Seymour (harpsichord), Matthew Wadsworth and Kate Bennet Wadsworth (cello & theorbo). Book here for a £50 Festival pass to watch the concerts throughout the Festive Season.

Talks

The Choral Chihuahua – an occasional half hour conversation between Harry Christophers of The Sixteen,  Robert Hollingworth of I Fagiolini and Eamon Dougann who sings with both. One is a very interesting discussion about vibrato – to do or not to do.

Part of ThisChoirNerd series – conversation with Tallis Scholars director Peter Phillips and Byrd Ensemble director Markdavin Obenza about Peter’s book, “What We Really Do: The Tallis Scholars.” They talk about the Peter’s inspiration for starting The Tallis Scholars, the sound, interpretation, tempo, authenticity, recording, ideal singers, Renaissance polyphony on the main stage, and a short Question and Answer session (1 hour video).

Monteverdi and his Constellation: Podcast series | Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra John Eliot Gardiner presents a new podcast series exploring Monteverdi’s role at the centre of seismic shifts and tumultuous advances in all the arts and sciences during the early 1600s, spearheaded by his contemporaries – Galileo, Kepler, Bacon, Shakespeare, Caravaggio and Rubens. Across eight episodes, with the help of specially recorded musical illustrations and a handpicked team of experts, Gardiner guides listeners through an in-depth investigation into the development of the early-modern mind.Released every Friday – four now available.

Malaysia Bach Festival have released a series of documentaries about Bach, his life, and his music entitled Encountering Bach . Join Artistic Director David Chin encountering Bach at important landmarks throughout Germany, where he speaks with scholars, researchers, historians, and musicians at various venues where many Bach’s compositions were first written and performed. 8 Episodes 9-17 minutes long. Three more now added including Dr. Michael Maul’s sensational rediscovery of the aria “Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn’ ihn”, BWV 1127, the first time an autograph of a previously unknown vocal work by Bach had come to light since 1935.

Early Music Sources Online have a wealth of interesting material on their website including a series of video talks, including ones on vibrato, countertenors, false relations, musica ficta and all sorts of things one has heard of, but didn’t quite know what they were.

Fascinating 10 minute conversation with musical illustrations here, with Musicians of the Netherlands Bach Society talking about Basso Continuo, the backbone of Baroque music.

David Allinson is streaming live chat on Facebook every Friday at 1pm – a relaxed half hour chat about singing, conducting, audiences and all sorts.

The Academy of Ancient Music have been nominated for a Gramophone award for their recording of Dussek’s Messe Solomnelle. Listen to Richard Egarr talking to James Jolly about it here (15 minutes).

Dr Kerry McCarthy will be talking live to David Allinson about her new book on Thomas Tallis (part of the OUP Master Musician series) on Monday 26th October at 7pm. Advance booking essential here on the Renaissance Singers website. Tickets £10/8.

Peter Phillips of the Tallis Scholars talks to Gramophone’s Martin Cullingford about the music of Josquin when their 8th and penultimate recording of his masses came out in 1919. It’s a 14 minute Gramophone podcast (not a video) and there are many more here.

Sunday Evenings with Stile Antico – a series of four Lecture-Recitals from 25th October – 15th November.  Available individually or as a set, they offer a host of specially-recorded performances as well as fascinating insight into the context and structure of the wonderful music they sing. Details, trailer and booking here. Tickets £10 per episode, or £30 for all four.

Thursday 19th Nov at 7.30Where do you want me to sit?  – spaces for music and how early musicians used them with.  This Zoom presentation by John Bryan, Founder of NEEMF, investigates what we can tell about the spaces in which music was heard in the middle ages, renaissance and later periods, and how musicians used them, by seeking out a variety of types of ‘evidence’, from the way music was written down to iconography and written descriptions. Perhaps it is time to realise that the way we now usually hear the music we love is possibly some way removed from how its first performers heard it. Hosted by NEEMF – book here (priority for members until 9th Nov).

Rory McCleery of the Marian Consort has a new video giving you the inside story on Raffaella Aleotti, a little-known convent composer who was labelled a child prodigy, and whose music looked to redress the gender balance in sacred music. Watch here

Dance

Follow the Historical Dance Society on Facebook for teaching videos (released each week) and webinars and find their Virtual Elizabethan Revels on YouTube.

Consort de Danse Baroque – Online Beauchamp- Feuillet Notation Reading Classes with Philippa Waite. Three levels of classes on Thursdays and Sundays

The Historical Dance Society have produced some Lockdown Lectures.
This intriguing series of talks on early dance and its various cultural settings is now available on Facebook. The latest is on Wednesday 16th December entitled Pride and Prejudice: The truth about Thomas Mann’s ballet master, Rudolph Knoll – visit here .

Courses

Benslow Courses: Online Baroque Ornamentation Demystified 2-4 Nov; Harpsichord Workshop 16-19 Nov; Consorting Viols 19/20-22 Nov; Online Lute Songs 21-23 Nov; Baroque Chamber Music (A=415) 21/22-24 Jan; Consorting viols 25-28 Jan.

City Lit have an online course of 10 weeks on Handel London (Italian) Operas on Wednesday afternoons from 16th September to 25th November. Cost is £209 (£167 seniors). Full details on their website.

Burghclere Baroque is an organisation formed by Theresa Caudle in 2020 to promote the performance and study of baroque music in the beautiful, peaceful surroundings of the village of Burghclere in rural North Hampshire. Chamber Days and Orchestral Days will provide the opportunity for keen amateurs to get together to play baroque music, coached or directed by well-known baroque violinist Theresa Caudle, either in her lovely music room at home or in the larger space of Burghclere’s village hall, The Portal Hall. Find out more here.

Much of Medieval Music in the Dales which went Virtual in September this year is available to watch on YouTube here. It includes several performances, a musical history tour of Medieval instruments with Trouvere, reed maintenance with Lizzie Gutteridge, a tour of Eric Moulder’s workshop (Renaissance double reed instrument maker) and a tour of Bolton Castle where the event is held.

Projects

Angel Early Music are sponsoring a large number of early music projects and videos. You can see them here and you can sign up to their mailing list to hear the latest ones.

The Ghost in the Machine is an intriguing project which Angel Early Music is supporting with a major grant. Emily Baines, a professional recorder player and scholar, has spent the last 10 years researching the music that is preserved on mechanical musical instruments, particularly in England during the 18th century, including music by Handel. The music is highly embellished and therefore gives a new perspective on performance practice of the time. Some of it does not exist in manuscript or printed copies. AEM felt it had a very important contribution to make in the whole debate around historically informed performance. Emily and a stellar team are due to record this music starting tomorrow and the CD distribution has already been taken by First Hand Records. If you would like to know a little more about it, and possible pre-order the CD, you can find out more here .

CHRISTMAS

Carols by Zoomlight 6th December at 4pm: The Fieri Consort and Reverie invite you to a one-off joint performance of festive favourites and beautiful choral works. And this is no ordinary carol concert – there are interactive games to join in with, playing ‘beat the intro’ and hearing the singers attempt to sing ‘one carol to the tune of another’, and you can even vote for which carols you’d like to hear during the show. There will also be beautiful, timeless music from the likes of Tomás Luis de Victoria and Robert Pearsall, as well as sparkling new music from Ben Rowarth and Alison Berry – whose festive piece Snow will have its world premiere. This is part of the Musicians For Musicians campaign, to raise funds for the charity Help Musicians. As a result of COVID-19 many musicians are facing severe financial hardship, and the Musicians For Musicians campaign strives to bridge the gap for those excluded from government support and without income at this time. Tickets are free from here, but you do need to buy one (you only need one ticket per household). Donations will be invited on the night, or at any time.

Handel’s Messiah performed by the English Chamber Orchestra on 11th December at 7pm in, and streamed from, Cadogan Hall. Soloists are Carolyn Samson, Iestyn Davies, Andrew Staples and Matthew Brook with Voces8 chorus. 80 minutes with no interval. Book tickets here. (This is not part of the Live From London Festival)

This Endris Night – Saturday 12th December at 7.30, Celebrate a Medieval Christmas in the comfort of your own home. Festive music from the Medieval era played on authentic instruments, some familiar, so less so. Hosted by Archaedium and Jude Rees. Buy tickets (£10) here.

Carols from St.Bartholomew the Great 17th December at 7pm. Each year the church of St Barts in the heart of London, one of the most beautiful and most filmed buildings in the city, celebrates Christmas with a much sought-after series of themed carol services: Medieval, Dickensian, German, American, A Ceremony of Carols and a traditional service of 9 Lessons and Carols are all usually performed to a packed church. Spend an hour watching a selection taken from each of these beautiful services performed by the Choir of St Bartholomew the Great under the direction of Rupert Gough. Buy tickets here.