Past EEMF events

In 2019

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. Philip Thorby led the day.

Music fit for an EmperorA 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

With Will Dawes of 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

In 2018

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 Victorias 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 instruments

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.

In 2017

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, Venice.
At the magnificent parish church of St John the Baptist, Thaxted, Essex.

In 2016

The Epiphany Party: “Magi videntes stellam”.

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.
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 Lechner

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.

In 2015

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, Cambridge.

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”.

In 2014

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 viols

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.

In 2013

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

In 2012

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 Britains 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

In 2011

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, Cambridge

Tomás Luis de Victoria: Doyen of the Spanish Golden Age. A choral workshop with David Allinson at Fitzwilliam
College, Cambridge

In 2010

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

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.

Ruggieroan 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 Meeting House

In 2009

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 250
th anniversary, a weekend course & informal performance of Saul

Loquebantur variis linguischoral 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, Cambridge

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’.

In 2008

Epiphany 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

In 2007

Epiphany 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

Monteverdi 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

In 2006

Epiphany Party – a selection of 16th and 17th 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

In 2005

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

In 2004

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

In 2003

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

In 2002

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

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Updated 01/04/2023. Please contact the EEMF committee with comments