Here are some of the things that have been going on for the past few weeks 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. Recent additions are at the end of each section (unlike Facebook posts)

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 will be 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.

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 every Friday 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 send you the information. 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. Next dates are 25th July and 8th August.

K’antu Ensemble are running a monthly music club quiz – you can play in a group or as an individual. The May one had questions on Early Music, Chamber music and Opera. You can see details and sign up for the July one here

Voces 8 are live with Apollo Five at 2pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays in #Live From Home. includes interviews, online performances, participation events and interactive sessions. See information and the timetable at https://voces8.foundation/events.  

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.

Following the success of Messiah at Home, the Self-Isolation Choir is putting on a virtual Summer School over 3 weeks in the summer. Week Three (17th – 21st August) is studying Vivaldi’s Gloria. Full details at https://www.theselfisolationchoir.com/summer-school-2020 . The other two weeks are a Celebration of John Rutter (22nd – 26th June) and the splendour of Church Anthems with a modern piece (20th – 24th July).

John Hancorn (MEMF Tutor) and Richard Wigmore, writer and broadcaster, have started a series of Sing and Discover’ workshops online. the next one is on Bach’s Magnificat and B Minor Mass on Saturday 11 July, from 4-6 pm.

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.

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.

The Choral Chihuahua – a weekly conversation on Mondays between Harry Christophers of The Sixteen,  Robert Hollingworth of I Fagiolini and Eamon Dougann who sings with both.

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.

The Sixteen have posted a number of videos called Quarantine with the Sixteen including Eamon Dougann’s Top Tips, a virtual performance of Sheppard’s Libera Nos and Lunchtime Soundbites on Mondays.

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.

Tenebrae gave a virtual workshop on June 4th and are planning more.  They also have videos of past performances on their Facebook page and have a new CD of music by Gesualdo and Couperin.

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 couple of amusing videos: Viral Video (don’t think you’ve got the wrong link!) and What Did You Do in Lockdown. 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!

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

Thursday 9th July at 8pm – Angels in the Bible. Music and Art – an illustrated talk by Patrick Craig, hosted by TVEMF. Those of you who watched Patrick talking about his life will know what an engaging speaker he is. Please email your booking to David Butler d.e.butler@ntlworld.com to reserve your place.  We hope to host this talk later in the summer if you miss it this time.

Monday 20th July at 7.30pm – St.Paul’s:Resurgam – an illustrated talk by Patrick Craig. The last time St Paul’s Cathedral was deprived of music for this long was after the devastating Fire of London in 1666. But in 1697 Christopher Wren was able to triumphantly declare RESURGAM as the phoenix rose from the ashes.  Patrick will look at music from either side of this momentous event. He will also guide us through the finest repertoire from across the Cathedral’s liturgical year. Escorted by a selection of his favourite photographs, music and videos he will aim to convey the glories of twenty-five years of singing in this extraordinary building. Book 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 teachers will also give beginner lessons online; her website is here. She has also produced a series of videos on Viol technique

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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. They have also recorded a virtual performance of a Bach trio.

Academy of Ancient Music: Streaming Sundays a full length concert from the recent past is shared every Sunday afternoon on YouTube.

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,

National Centre for Early Music streams a concert live on Facebook every Saturday at 1pm. Also Bach Bites every Wednesday at 6pm, where Steven Devine plays a Prelude and Fugue .

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.

Hesperi Ensemble are giving a live concert with a talk on Facebook every Friday at 1pm, called “Hesperi at Home”. You will find their past videos here and you can donate to their secure PayPal account here  

Listen to BBC’s Radio 3’s Early Music Show with Lucy Skeaping or  ‘Early Music Now‘ with Tom McKinney to hear highlights from the 2019 International Festival of Early Music. Includes lutenist Elizabeth Kenny, recorder player Olwen Foulkes, soprano Tinka Pypker with fortepianist Anders Muskens, and ensembles Palisander, Solomon’s Knot, Parandrus and the Chethams Early Music Ensemble.

The Early Music Shop have a variety of musicians performing Monday to Friday at 1pm. See the full list here.

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

Daily 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 day.

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.

York Early Music Festival Online  9-11 July 2020 This virtual festival is headlined by internationally acclaimed countertenor Iestyn Davies and includes specially recorded performances by Steven Devine, Richard Boothby, Consone Quartet, Elizabeth Kenny, Matt Wadsworth and Stile Antico. Concerts are live and only available at the published times.
Booking opened on 19 June – tickets and more information are available here  Individual concerts cost £10, Festival ticket for all events costs £30.

Live From London:– an Online Festival of the world’s Finest Music by Voces8. I Fagiolini, Stile Antico, The Swingles, The Sixteen, The Gesualdo Six, Apollo5, Chanticleer and the Academy of Ancient Music. Ten weeks of Saturday concerts from 1st August – 3rd October streamed live, but available to listen to until the end of October.  Here’s a trailer. Hosted by Voces8 Foundation, Voces8 Ensemble and I Fagiolini. Tickets £15 per concert, or £80 for a season ticket for all 10 concerts, available from Voces8 Foundation website or email I Fagiolini at london@ifagiolini.com (who only have season tickets).

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!)

A Live recording, in Warwick’s Court House, of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas by the Armonico Consort was broadcast on Wednesday 1st July on their Facebook page and is still available.

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 with a really sumptious concert of Handel, Lully, Purcell and Rameau.

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