There are exciting plans afoot at Worcestershire Early Music for 2019, beginning with our second Tea Dance in January at Leominster’s lovely Lion Ballroom, followed by a workshop with renaissance flautist Clare Beesley in March (booking for these two events open now), and our festival running from Friday 31 May to Sunday 2 June. Full details will be announced soon!
Congratulations to Rachel Podger who has been named Artist of the Year at the Gramophone Awards. We were delighted to have her play at our festival this year!
Our outreach programme enables us to broaden our audience base by offering opportunities to hear early music throughout the year in different settings. On Thursday June 21st, Make Music Day, we invited Ruth Hopkins and Sam Brown to the Commandery Museum where they played Elizabethan Lute songs to captivated audiences, young and not so young!
On the morning of Friday 22nd June students from Birmingham Conservatoire gave a splendid concert, including works by Monteverdi, Couperin, Telemann, and Boismortier on various instruments including recorders, flute, Baroque cello, and harpsichord. We extend our thanks to Martin Perkins, and Elizabeth Pallett, tutors at the Conservatoire, who gave their time to support the event. The concert drew a good sized audience, and looks set to be a permanent fixture in the Worcestershire Early Music summer season of events.
Our Baroqueathon 2018
raised a grand total of
Thank you to Worcestershire Early Music for this successful collaboration that will help fund our special educational needs project.
A special thank you to all musicians who helped support this fun day of continuous music making from 9am – 9pm. We enjoyed 18th century music from Italy, France, Germany, England, Scotland and Ireland,
performed on a variety of instruments including bassoon, cello, oboe, flute, saxophone, viol, recorder, sackbut, curtal, mandolin, guitar and piano. A great day was had by all!!!
Deborah Roberts has sent us details of the music she would like to cover for her workshop in Worcester on 1 September – there are too many pieces here for just a day, so let us know when you book if there’s something you would particularly like to do!
Book through Eventbrite or send us a cheque (see our Events page for details).
Music from renaissance Europe
The migration of musical trends via travelling musicians
Summary: Musicians have always travelled. Many during the Renaissance spent their entire lives moving from country to country, and court to court where they mingled with other musicians from all over Europe, sharing ideas, trends and new techniques. This workshop looks at some of the really big ‘stars’ whose names and music were widely known – and even copied – as well as some lesser-known, but fascinating and influential composers in their day, whom history failed to do justice.
The Franco-Flemish school
The first renaissance ‘trend’ to really hit Europe came from composers born in Northern France and the Low Countries. Large numbers of them travelled to Italy and worked in a variety of cities, notably Ferrara, Florence and Rome. Franco-Flemish polyphony is characterised by rich sonority with quite complex inner structure. It’s wonderfully rewarding to sing. The most famous composer to emerge from this school was Josquin des Prez, who actually clarified the style and had a huge impact on the next generation of composers throughout Europe
Josquin des Prez Tu solus qui facis mirabilia (SATB) Salve Regina (SATB)
Cipriano de Rore Descendi in hortum meum (SSAATTB)*
Palestrina and the Roman school
Franco-Flemish music had a strong influence on Italian composers, and Palestrina is famed for having perfectly combined the rich polyphonic style of the previous generation with an Italian tunefulness. Although Spanish, Tomas luis de Victoria spent most of his life in Rome, only returning to his native country towards the end of his life. His style shows influences from both countries
P. Da Palestrina Agnus Dei from the Missa Brevis
Tomas Luis de Victoria 3 Tenebrae Responsories
Seniores Populi (SATB)
Tamquam ad latronem (SATB) Caligaverunt oculi mei (SATB)
Introit from the Requiem (SSATTB)
The Iberian style to the New World
Via mission centres often run by Jesuits, much Iberian music was exported to the New World, eventually leading to great musical centres such as Mexico
Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla Stabat mater (SATB)
Meanwhile in Britain
British polyphony had quite a distinctive style until after the Reformation and a lot of that was to do with the choral tradition and the choir schools that trained boy trebles to such a high standard. Thomas Tallis lived under five monarchs during his long life and wrote for both the Catholic and Anglican churches. His pupil and friend, William Byrd, shared his Catholic faith, and both would have encountered the many Italian composers who visited or lived in London during the reign of Elizabeth 1st.
Thomas Tallis In manus tuas (SATBarB)
8th tune from Archbishop Parker’s Psalter – God grant with grace
9th tune from Archbishop Parker’s Psalter – Why fumeth in sight
The European connection
To end, a famous connection between 2 composers: Phillipe de Monte, born in Belgium but worked mostly in Italy, England and Austria, wrote Super flumina, and sent it to William Byrd, who responded with a 2nd part: Quomodo cantabimus. Both pieces reflecting on the misery of exile.
Phillipe de Monte Super flumina babylonis (SATB – SATB)
William Byrd Quomodo cantabimus (SATB – SATB)
There’s lots of fascinating information on the blog on the Linarol Consort’s website about the music they’ll be playing on Sunday 29 April in our 2018 festival – take a look! The Consort’s director David Hatcher has edited a manuscript from the library of the Fugger family, containing music from the court of Maximilian I, for their programme “Will no-one sing?”
You can sign up to have David’s blog entries sent directly to your email inbox.
“Podger plays with a remarkably consistent serenity and poise, the virtuosity unaffected, almost unnoticeable. But, there is an underlying rhythmic vigour, which gives shape and coherence to the fluent elaborations and explorations which run, dance, fly and exclaim with unwavering eloquence.”
So says Claire Seymour of Seen and Heard International in a review of Rachel Podger’s collaboration with Voces8, A Guardian Angel. Look out for further performances this autumn – and come and hear Rachel play some of the music in the programme, including the wonderful Biber Passacaglia at her recital for us on Friday 27 April.
Our Outreach programme aims to broaden our audience base in order to progress towards greater financial independence. This year’s programme starts on Wednesday March 21st, European Early Music Day, with one of three events at Worcester’s Commandery Museum, when members of K’Antu Early Music group will perform to visitors to the museum between 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Further dates are Saturday 28th April when a performance by Blondel will be given as part of our Festival, and on Thursday June 22nd when K’Antu return to celebrate Making Music Day.
We’re delighted to present a renaissance music singing day with Deborah Roberts on Saturday 1 September in Worcester .
Deborah was a longstanding member of the Tallis Scholars. Turning to choral directing, in 1990 she founded, with Tessa Bonner, Musica Secreta, an ensemble of female voices and continuo, to research and perform a rapidly expanding repertoire of music which has helped re-establish the role of women as performers, interpreters and composers of music from the 16th and 17th centuries. She is also musical director of Brighton Early Music Festival Consort of Voices, an ensemble of solo and consort singers formed from semi-professional, student and experienced amateur singers, and runs courses in Triora, Italy. Deborah is co-founder and director of the Brighton Early Music Festival.
This is a fantastic opportunity to study renaissance repertoire from around Europe with a specialist singer and director in the field.
Further details to follow soon!