EASTERN EARLY MUSIC FORUM
Saturday 6th May 2006
by Philip Thorby
OR the second year running Waltham Abbey Church
welcomes the TVEMF & EEMF workshop under the direction of Philip Thorby.
This time the work is Alessandro Striggio's
forty-part Ecce Beatam Lucem,
considered to have almost certainly been written in honour of Cardinal Ippolito d'Este for his visit to Florence in 1561.
Once again our challenge is to spend a day rehearsing the work, rounding off
with an afternoon performance. With typical Philip Thorby
aplomb we launch the attack, commencing with detailed work on a phrase half way
through the piece, then working backwards. Philip reiterates that Ecce Beatam Lucem should not be
compared to the forty-voice Spem in Alium, subject of last summer's workshop and indeed it
does feel quite different - more intimate with tricky syncopation and close voicings.
AS we work through the piece we are encouraged to hear the tonality and to
allow the pulse and momentum inherent within the composition to dictate.
Philip's passion, humour and concern for detail are catching and by the time
we're ready for the performance we are focused and listening well to each
other. Tricky passages have smoothed themselves out and the beauty of the
Italian-Latin vocal sound is surfacing. In addition to the chamber organ,
played by Stephen Bullamore, Director of Music at
Waltham Abbey, and the continuo, we have a lovely ensemble of early
instruments. Recorders, sackbut, cornett, viol, harp,
curtal and violins combine beautifully with the
choirs and add a powerful authenticity. But perhaps more than anything what
makes the day special is Waltham Abbey Church itself. The stone Norman arches and decorated roof positively breathe tranquillity - no
atmosphere could be more ideal for such a spiritual collaboration. The performance
itself is wonderful.
Extracted from EEMF
Newsletter 62, June 2006