Come and sing large-scale Tallis/Mundy

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.

The Different Faces of William Byrd – September Workshop

William Byrd Workshop leaflet cover imageThe 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.

Diary details

 

Summer Revels 2012

taborAs we assembled to start the afternoon workshop with Jeffrey Skidmore, the heavens opened once again, proving that moving the Revels to midsummer is no guarantee of better weather!   Of course, as soon as we started exploring the South American Baroque repertoire we could feel a hint of virtual sunshine even if the actual temperature stayed chilly for the time of year and we thought wistfully of the roaring fires that Middleton Hall staff kindly provide for Winter Revels.

The South American Baroque selection that Jeffrey had chosen allowed us to sample a variety of moods and languages from an area of music that he has studied extensively and continues to research for his group Ex Cathedra. With a balanced group of singers and instrumental group we tackled a lively celebration piece, a sweet invocation of the Virgin Mary, a solemn processional enlivened by discreet percussion, and others. Jeffrey Skidmore is not afraid to test out different combinations to enrich what are sometimes simple pieces, clearly written for local singers/congregation and band to learn by heart and no doubt play repeatedly during services, much as happens in some churches today.

After a satisfying workshop, the MEMF AGM took place. Welcome to two new Committee members, Meg Forgan and Jonathan Spencer. Farewell and heartfelt thanks to Jim Rowley (former Chairman) and Kate King-Smith  – both long-standing members who have made a huge contribution to MEMF. Minutes will be sent round as usual.

figures dancingThe traditional evening entertainment allowed MEMF members to share some of their favourite party pieces, and take part in madrigal singing and Playford dances. What a treat to leave at the end of the evening in almost daylight!

A full review will appear in the next Newsletter as usual.