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For the first time since Covid lockdown we gathered in person for the traditional Epiphany Party.
Philip Thorby ran a very enjoyable and hard-working day for a chamber-sized gathering in Beccles. No shared lunch was possible this year because of restrictions, but we hope to be back to normal next year.
Music for all the Saints: an online presentation by Patrick Craig
Renaissance Composers and Artists were often drawn to the lives of the Saints for inspiration in their work and many of Patrick’s favourite pieces feature Saints in their texts. He paired these works with art from across Europe and explored the lives of the men and women who inspired such faith and creativity.
Venice in the 1500s
Philip Thorby gave four illustrated talks online about his passion for Venice in the 1500s. MEMF, TVEMF and EEMF jointly organised the series.
Read a summary of the four talks.
An emerald in a work of gold
In this workshop for singers, held online by Zoom, we delved into the extraordinary diversity of music found in the private manuscript collection belonging to sixteenth-century bibliophile Robert Dow. Rory McCleery, founder and director of The Marian Consort, was our tutor and guide on this occasion.
Music of Celebration – a weekend of music-making in Thaxted
2021 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Michael Praetorius. Our programme included the spectacular 16-part In dulci jubilo, as well as Giovanni Gabrieli’s In ecclesiis and Heinrich Schütz’s 4-choir setting of Psalm 150 – all scored for trumpets, trombones, oboes, sackbuts, cornets, strings and continuo as well as solo and choir singers. In addition, we celebrated the unlocking of music-making from coronavirus restrictions.
We were especially privileged to work with tutor Patrick Craig again.
The Circle of Bright Fire
An exploration by Zoom of Hildegard of Bingen's music and writings
With Bill Carslake
Bill brought his own particular insights and matching interests as musician, composer and writer into this fascinating appreciation of the works of Hildegard.
Epiphany Party: RESONENT ORGANA!
At Blyburgate Hall, Blyburgate, Beccles
“Let instruments sound, drums be struck, and the hearts of men exult with joy!”. Scenes from the Christmas Story set to music by Cesare Gussago and Agostino Soderini. From Annunciation to Visitation, Nativity to Epiphany, the story is told in colourful and joyful eight-part motets for voices and instruments. Philip Thorby led this annual workshop, with delicious food prepared as always by Jennie Cassidy and members.
and the Magic of the Medieval
A workshop for all voices and instruments, ancient & modern. This workshop offered an introduction to some of Machaut's most famous works, alongside a few less familiar numbers and a brief foray into the earlier Montpelier Manuscript where music from the previous generation provides us with some context. We covered the poetic song forms of virelais & rondeau, including the well known Ma fin est mon commencement. We also tackled the hocket, including Hoquetus David, composed in one of Machaut's more backward looking moments.
At St Andrew’s parish hall, Marks Tey, Essex, with tutor Lizzie Gutteridge.
The Epiphany Party: "Gloria in excelsis Deo":
We joined together in Beccles to celebrate the great angelic paean of praise which filled the night sky above the shepherds and which begins the Gloria of the Mass. We explored this most exultant text as it appears in festive motets by Orfeo Vecchi, Claudio Merulo and Christoph Buel, and in the Gloria of Giovanni Valentini's Missa Diligam Te.
fit for an Emperor
polychoral day for voices and instruments
Heinrich Isaac (c.1450-1517) wrote the glorious motets Sancti Spiritus and Virgo Prudentissima for the coronation of the emperor Maximilian I. Our day focussed on these masterworks and included other pieces connected to Maximilian, as well as short works such as A la bataglia and Insbruch, ich muss dich lassen which show the astonishing versatility of this Flemish master.
With tutor Bill Carslake, in Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Cambridge
Hail, Queen of Heaven: A polyphony singing day
Featuring Marian antiphons from the Iberian Renaissance. Composers included Lobo, Morales and Victoria
Stile Antico and Somerville College, Oxford
In Churchill College Chapel, Cambridge
Biber: Missa Salisburgensis: a weekend event to explore and perform this colossal polychoral work in 53 parts.
This monumental work was rediscovered in 1870, first attributed to Orazio Benevoli, and then recognised as the work of exceptional Austrian composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber. Described as a great mysterious nebula, Biber’s 53-part Missa Salisburgensis recreates the vault of heaven with its rich, complex scoring of trumpets and timpani, cornetts, sackbuts, strings and continuo with two eight-part choirs. The entire work, including the motet Plaudite tympana, was rehearsed over the weekend with a final performance late Sunday afternoon.
Directed by Patrick Craig at Thaxted parish church, Essex
The Epiphany Party: “Epiphaniam canamus!”
Lassus tells the story of Epiphany according to St Matthew in “Cum Natus Esset Jesus”; Rex Melchior was invoked (along with Caspar and Balthazar) by Palestrina; their gifts were compared to three miracles in Curtio Valcampi’s “Tribus Miraculis”; and Nicolle des Celliers de Hesdin composed the motet which (almost!) gave our musical feast its title: “Canamus Domino Epiphaniam Gloriosam”. Held once again in the Blyburgate Hall in Beccles, this was the traditional feast of music and food – music directed by Philip Thorby, delicious food prepared by Jennie Cassidy and members.
“I was glad!” A polychoral day based on Victoria’s 12-part mass “Laetatus sum”.
With Philip Thorby. Victoria’s magnificent mass Laetatus sum is in 12 parts in three choirs and is based on his own setting of psalm 22, which was also studied. A joint event with TVEMF in Epping.
Baroque day for singers and orchestra
With Peter Holman, at St Mark’s College, Audley End, Essex.
The music featured works by Heinrich Biber, including the 15-part Requiem in A major for voices and instruments and the Serenade for Strings, “Nachtwächter”. The magnificent Requiem is written for Baroque orchestra and chorus with solo passages taken either by solo singers or chorally. Instruments included two natural long trumpets in A, two oboes, five-part strings (two violins, two violas, violoncellos & violone/double bass), bass viols, theorbo and two organs.
Iberian polyphony singing day
With David Allinson at Little St Mary’s Church, Trumpington Street, Cambridge
The theme was ‘Beata Dei genitrix’: Spanish motets for the Virgin Mary.
Baroque day for voices and
With Peter Holman. The major work studied was Charpentier’s Messe pour M Mauroy. Held in Abbey Barn, St Mark’s College, Audley End, Essex.
Facsimile singing: a workshop for singers reading from Renaissance notation.
We used the Anne Boleyn Music Book, an important Fench choir book copied around 1520.
With John Milsom, in St Bene’t’s Church, Cambridge.
The Epiphany Party: Festive Renaissance music
A celebration of Christmas music by Palestrina, a major polychoral work by Benevoli and a carol setting by Praetorius were this year’s fare, held in the elegant St John Ambulance Blyburgate Hall in Beccles. The traditional feast of music and food – music directed by Philip Thorby, delicious food prepared by Jennie Cassidy and members
Facsimile singing day with John Milsom
We tackled a wide array of canonic motets, mass movements and
chansons for between two and eight voices, by composers including
Ockeghem and Josquin. Our ultimate challenge was Jean Mouton’s
glorious Nesciens mater a8. We also attempted Byrd’s
palindromic Diliges Dominum a8, in which four voices sing the
music forwards, while another four sing the same music backwards.
In St Bene’t’s Church, Cambridge
Orazio Benevoli: music for 19 voices
Splendid and magisterial music by Orazio Benevoli, specifically the Gloria from his Missa Tiracorda and Dixit Dominus, for four choirs of SATB singers and suitable instruments. With Philip Thorby at the Centre at St Paul’s, Hills Road, Cambridge.
A joint event with Thames Valley Early Music Forum
Oranges and Clemens: a polyphony singing day
A view of the Hapsburg empire through the eyes of Clemens non Papa
and Seville composers including Morales, Lobo, Cotes, and Guerrero,
with references to Charles V and Philip II.
With Patrick Allies, in Churchill College Chapel, Cambridge
Monteverdi: Vespers of 1640: Selva morale e spirituale
A weekend workshop leading up to a public performance of selected parts of the work, directed by Philip Thorby.
Monteverdi’s compendium of sacred music, the Selva Morale
e Spirituale, or Moral and Spiritual Forest, of 1640 represents
more than 30 years’ work while Music Director of St Mark’s,
At the magnificent parish church of St John the Baptist, Thaxted, Essex.
The Epiphany Party: “Magi videntes
The three Kings were at the centre this year, in music by familiar and lesser known renaissance composers. The Magi follow the star to the music of Simone Molinaro, Caspar Vincent, Pietro Ponti and Francesco Guerrero; Philipp de Monte and Tiburtio Massaino accompany the offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh, whilst Luca Marenzio contemplates the mysteries behind the gifts; finally, in Agostino Soderini's wonderfully titled "Voces Citharaezorum" gittern-playing angels exhort us to join the Kings in celebrating the Christ-child shining in the manger.
Carissimi: Missa L’Homme Armé, and other works
A workshop for voices and instruments with Philip Cave
Recorders, strings, loud wind and continuo joined in the twelve-part Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus & Agnus Dei). There were other, contrasting, a cappella works, mainly by Josquin.
In Churchill College Chapel, Cambridge
Singing from facsimile: Jacob Obrecht
A day for singers with John Milsom. Following two successful events in which we learned to read directly from Tudor notation (the Dow Partbooks, and Byrd’s Masses), this year we tackled something much earlier and significantly more challenging: the six-voice Salve Regina by Jacob Obrecht.
Music for a Bavarian Wedding by Striggio, Padovano and
The royal wedding of the heir to the throne of Bavaria, Duke Wilhelm, to Princess Renée of Lorraine in February 1568 in Munich was a magnificent affair. The celebrations lasted for over two weeks with banquets, tournaments, dances, fireworks, masquerades, theatre performances and specially composed music. Singers and players of cornetts, sackbuts, curtals, recorders, strings and continuo looked at some of this music with Philip Thorby, in Waltham Abbey, Essex. A joint event with TVEMF.
Viols workshop with Amit Tiefenbrunn
In St Peter’s Church, Horningsea, near Cambridge
Medieval and early Russian Orthodox Church Music
A workshop for all singers; deep basses were particularly welcome. The music of the Russian Orthodox Church has a long and rich history, encompassing Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music. Much of the music is very straightforward, and the transliterated Russian texts are not hard to pronounce. Our tutor was Ivan Moody who is a composer, conductor and musicologist, a Russian Orthodox priest and a published author on Russian sacred music.
Masterpieces of the Spanish Baroque
A workshop for singers and Baroque orchestra tutored by Peter Holman, studying works by one of Spain’s leading Baroque composers, the precocious and prolific Francisco Valls, and his contemporary José de Nebra. In Jesus College Chapel, Cambridge.
Tudor Consort Workshop for Recorders
An afternoon workshop, all one-to-a-part, with tutor Francis Knights. A soprano performed consort songs with the group.
The Epiphany Party: “Music of the Spheres” including Praetorius's brightly shining morning star leading the Magi to the Christ child and an entire galaxy blazing alongside the moon to create the "blessed light" at the heart of Alessandro Striggio's great 40 part motet Ecce Beatam Lucem.
The Original Byrd – singing masses, motets and anthems from facsimile rather than modern score, including use of the beautiful Dow partbooks. With John Milsom. At Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Spem in Alium, featuring Thomas Tallis’s great
40-part motet, for singers and instrumentalists. A joint workshop
with TVEMF tutored by Philip Thorby at the Centre at St Paul’s,
Renaissance polyphony workshop with tutor David Allinson at Churchill College, Cambridge. This time the programme focused on Franco-Flemish music from the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, including Josquin, Gombert and Mouton.
Commemorative workshop on anthems by Handel in the Chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge. The workshop was held to commemorate Selene Mills (Selene Webb) and Christopher Hogwood, both of whom died in 2014. Led by Peter Holman, the focus was on two anthems by Handel, “The Ways of Zion do Mourn”, and the Coronation anthem “Let Thy Hand be Strengthened”.
The Epiphany Party – “…abiding in the field…” What the angels said to the shepherds, set by Samuel Scheidt and Hans Leo Hassler; what happened when the shepherds saw the angels, set by Giulio Osculati and Johann Hermann Schein; and what the shepherds said, set by Felice Anerio.
Danish music from the manuscript Copenhagen 1541 – a day for Renaissance wind players with Renate Hildebrand at the Unitarian Church, Cambridge
Singing from facsimile,
with John Milsom, in Fitzwilliam College Chapel, Cambridge, using the
Dow Partbooks, a very clear edition of Tudor music made by the
copyist Robert Dow in the late C16. A day for singers and
Padovano’s 24-part Mass for the Munich Royal Wedding, with Philip Thorby, in St Sepulchre’s Church, Holborn (the Musicians’ Church). A joint event with TVEMF.
Verse anthems with William Hunt, in Burrell’s Field, Trinity College, Cambridge, concentrating on works by Orlando Gibbons and one by William Byrd in a reconstruction by Andrew Johnstone
Scenes from Purcell, including the Frost Scene from King Arthur, and substantial chunks of Dioclesian and The Fairy Queen. For singers and Baroque orchestra. Tutored by Peter Holman at the Old Baptist Chapel, Elsworth. In memory of Selene Mills a funeral anthem by Jacob Handl was sung under Clifford Bartlett’s direction.
The White Rose and the Red, presented by EEMF and the York Waits. Music from the age of Richard III, from chansons and quodlibets to dance tunes from the English Gresley Manuscript. A workshop for voices and instruments of the period, tutored by Tim Bayley and Deborah Catterall at firstsite, Colchester.
Epiphany Party – Rex Gloriae – Christmas music by the ever-inventive Michael Praetorius led us from the annunciation to the incarnation and on to the manifestation with the arrival of the three kings, taking in some jolly Christmas carols on the way.
The Plangent Prophet – settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. A workshop for singers in Girton College Chapel, Cambridge, with Philip Cave, director of Magnificat. The deeply moving Lamentations of Thomas Tallis are well known, but here, less familiar settings by fellow 16th century English composers William Byrd and Robert White offered a wealth of exquisite music for study
Gabrieli reconstructions by Hugh Keyte, including the Magnificat a 28 and Lechner’s Quid, chaos at Waltham Abbey, for voices and instruments, with Philip Thorby. A joint event with TVEMF
Voices and Viols with William Hunt, a co-founder of Fretwork, in Burrell’s Field, Trinity College, Cambridge, concentrating on a work by Thomas Tomkins and one by Orlando Gibbons in a reconstruction by David Pinto
Music for the Peace of Utrecht: Handel and Croft. A workshop for singers and Baroque orchestra, at Elsworth, with Peter Holman
A workshop for singers on the music of maverick prince-composer Gesualdo, with Gerald Place, leader of The Gesualdo Consort, at Fitzwilliam College Chapel, Cambridge, in the 400th anniversary year of Gesualdo’s death
Biber’s Missa Bruxellensis: a weekend workshop leading to a fully-rehearsed performance of this magnificent work, which was the subject of the joint EEMF/TVEMF workshop in 2012. Directed by Philip Thorby in St Mary’s Church and at 1 Myddylton Place, Saffron Walden
Epiphany Party – Giovanni Gabrieli’s
sumptuous 12-part Angelus ad pastores
ait and pieces by Andrea Gabrieli and
Hans Leo Hassler
Motets by Marc Antoine Charpentier. A workshop on some fine examples of French Baroque music, for singers and instruments, tutored by Graham Sadler at Stow-cum-Quy
Richafort’s Requiem – a workshop for singers with John Milsom, one of Britain’s leading authorities on Renaissance polyphony, at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Bach’s cantata no. 4, ‘Christ lag in Todes Banden’, one of his most powerful cantatas, for singers and Baroque band, with John Butt, at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Biber: Missa Bruxellensis a25. The annual polychoral workshop at Waltham Abbey for singers and instruments with Philip Thorby. Another joint event with TVEMF
‘Unser Gott ist im Himmel’: A workshop for singers and instrumentalists on the music of Heinrich Schütz with Peter Syrus, at Bury St Edmunds Unitarian Church
Music by Thomas Linley the Younger (The “English Mozart”), a workshop for singers and Baroque orchestra, at Elsworth, with Peter Holman
A workshop on sequences and hymns of Hildegard
of Bingen with tutors Sara Stowe and Matthew Spring,
at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Epiphany Party – Rudolphus Rubrinasus: music inspired by deer, composed by Palestrina, Ockeghem, Dumont, Ferrabosco, Taeggio, Tallis and others
Honour, Glory, Light of Flanders: The Music of Philippe Rogier. A day for singers and instrumentalists with Philip Cave and Sally Dunkley at Girton College, Cambridge
Striggio’s 40-part Mass at Waltham Abbey.
A workshop for singers and instruments with Philip Thorby. Although
most of Striggio's piece is in 40 different voice parts,
the last movement is for 60 separate voices. A joint event with
Thames Valley Early Music Forum
The Eton Choirbook: A workshop for singers tutored by Peter Syrus of the Royal Northern College of Music, at St Cyriac’s, Swaffham Prior
Heinichen in Dresden: A workshop for singers and instrumentalists with Ralph Woodward, in Fitzwilliam College chapel, Cambridge.
Choruses from Handel’s Israel in Egypt. A Baroque workshop with Peter Holman in the Old Baptist Chapel, Elsworth.
Exploring medieval music, a workshop for voices
and instruments, with Belinda Sykes at the Unitarian Church,
Tomás Luis de Victoria: Doyen of the Spanish Golden Age. A choral workshop with David Allinson at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Epiphany Party – Noe! noe! French motets and carols from the Annunciation to Epiphany
Philip Thorby’s talk on Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610. Lecture, discussion and workshop at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Tallis: Gaude gloriosa. An a cappella singing day at Waltham Abbey with Philip Thorby. A joint workshop with TVEMF
Henry Du Mont – Grands Motets. A workshop for singers and Baroque strings and continuo, tutored by Graham Sadler, at Stow-cum-Quy.
Ruggiero – an opera by Francesca Caccici. Studied and performed over a weekend at Westleton, Suffolk, under the direction of Philip Thorby.
John Blow’s God spake sometime in visions, and Purcell’s Praise the Lord, o Jerusalem. A Baroque workshop with Peter Holman in the Old Baptist Chapel, Elsworth.
A further workshop on medieval music, for voices and instruments, with Jon Banks, at the Unitarian Hall, Cambridge
Polyphony workshop: the genius of Palestrina. A day
for singers with tutor David Allinson at Bury St Edmunds Unitarian
Epiphany Party – Roman Christmas music: Benevoli Dixit Dominus and Palestrina polychoral music including Hodie.
Verse Anthems by Gibbons and Tomkins, with
William Hunt, at Elsworth
Interfora/NEMA Weekend Workshop at Nottingham University
To commemorate Handel’s 250th anniversary, a weekend course & informal performance of Saul
variis linguis – choral
hymns and responds by Tallis, Taverner, White and Sheppard
A workshop with David Allinson at the Centre at St. Paul’s, Cambridge
Handel’s Dixit Dominus. A workshop with Peter Holman in the Old Baptist Chapel, Elsworth
A workshop on medieval music, for voices and
instruments, with Jon Banks, at the Unitarian Hall,
Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit: a workshop led by Peter Holman, for soloists, chorus and small Baroque orchestra, at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.
This event was combined with the NEMA AGM and Margot Milner lecture by Annette Landgraf on ‘Editing Handel’.
Party – featuring a four-choir Te Deum by Hieronymus
Praetorius, with Philip Thorby
Josquin – a workshop for singers at Sidney Sussex College with David Skinner
A Schütz workshop at Waltham Abbey with Philip Thorby (joint event with TVEMF)
A vocal polyphony workshop with David Allinson on Masterworks of the Portuguese Golden Age at The Centre at St Paul’s, Cambridge
Venus and Adonis, by John Blow. A workshop with Peter Holman in the Old Baptist Chapel, Elsworth
Music for Voices and Instruments by Tomás Luis de Victoria, suitable for All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
A workshop with Roger Wilkes (President of NWEMF) in
St. Mary’s Church, Bury St. Edmunds
Party – O Great Mystery: seasonal and sumptuous 16th
century settings, with Philip Thorby
Byrd and Tallis: Cantiones 1575, with David Skinner at Sidney Sussex, Cambridge
Charpentier's Messe pour les Trépassés: a workshop with Peter Leech in Rushmere St Andrew, Ipswich
Vespers weekend with Philip Thorby (King's Music edition).
In St Stephen's Church, Norwich, including a performance at 4.30pm on the Sunday
Giovanni Gabrieli Magnificat a33 with Philip Thorby, in two reconstructions. A joint event at Waltham Abbey with TVEMF
My Heart is Inditing – a day of Purcell anthems at Elsworth with Peter Holman
Party – a selection of 16th
century pieces, with Philip Thorby
Festal Mass weekend in Trinity College, Cambridge, with Michael Procter
Bach cantata choruses workshop, tutor Peter Leech
Striggio: forty-part Ecce Beatam Lucem, with Philip Thorby, a joint event with TVEMF
Restoration choral workshop at Swaffham Prior with Peter Leech (a private event publicised by EEMF)
Dido and Aeneas – a day's workshop with Peter Holman
Epiphany Party – 'Praetorius and travel' with Philip Thorby
The Singing Body: Voice workshop and seminar, tutor Ashley Stafford
Lalande: choral workshop with Jeffrey Skidmore
Tallis: Spem in Alium day with Philip Thorby, in conjunction with TVEMF
Scenes from Purcell's Fairy Queen tutored by Peter Holman
Viol masterclass and workshop with Amit Tiefenbrunn
Epiphany Party – polychoral music by Schuetz with Philip Thorby
A day with Dufay (and Philip Thorby)
Festal Mass Salve Regina in Trinity College,
Cambridge, directed by Michael Procter
Scenes from King Arthur (Purcell) tutored by Peter Holman
Polyphonic and popular medieval songs – a workshop tutored by Andrew Lawrence-King
Epiphany Party – Palestrina 12-part motets with Philip Thorby
Byrd and his Chester contemporaries – a workshop with Roger Wilkes
Singing weekend coached by Richard Wistreich
Draghi: Song for St Cecilia's Day with Peter Holman
Klezmer Day with Ilana Cravitz and friends
Epiphany Party – Praetorius, Polyhymnia Caduceatrix et Panegyrica with Philip Thorby
Monteverdi Madrigals and Arias – Singing Masterclass with John Potter
Handel and others – choral and baroque orchestra workshop, tutor Peter Holman
Choral weekend in Cambridge with Michael Procter
In earlier years
Epiphany Party – every year in January
Instrumental music and dance workshop with Steve Player
NEMA workshop: Biber Requiem with Philip Thorby
Mexican music by Gaspar Fernandez, with Andrew Lawrence-King
'Historically-informed performance': a UEA seminar with Clifford Bartlett
Medieval and Traditional Song, tutor Belinda Sykes
Service at Framlingham, tutor Alistair Dixon
An Italian Entertainment for the Wedding of Lucrezia Borgia, tutor Nancy Hadden
Purcell Ode – Hail Bright Cecilia – photos, tutor Peter Holman
Singing Masterclasses for soloists and ensembles,
tutor John Potter
Sponsored by the Music Faculty of the University of Cambridge
Choral and baroque orchestral workshop with Catherine Mackintosh
Philippe Rogier's magnificent Mass in 12 parts (1596), tutor Alan Lumsden
Purcell choral and baroque orchestra workshop Come Ye Sons of Art, tutor Peter Holman
Music for the 800th anniversary of Ipswich's Charter, tutor Belinda Sykes
La Dafne, tutor Philip Thorby – two weekends of workshops and an informal performance
Recorders and Viols, tutor Margaret Westlake
Music of Lassus, Gabrieli, and Croce, tutor Alan Lumsden
Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, tutor Philip Thorby
Spanish music and dance, tutors Andrew Lawrence-King and Steve Player