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Tamesis Issue 211

May 2009

I’ve got a page to fill this month so you will see that I’ve printed the outline programme of the NEMA conference on early music singing. It looks very interesting, and I’m told that all sessions will be plenary, without the need to hive off separate groups of delegates into two or three parallel streams, so you won’t miss any of the conference proceedings. There will also be plenty of opportunities to sing. This is the second large scale early music participatory event this year, as we have already had the Interforum weekend on Handel’s Saul, conducted by Lawrence Cumm ings, where I was happy to see a number of TVEMF members and other old early music friends. Would anyone like to review it for next month’s Tamesis?

Don’t forget that reviews and articles are always welcome. Copy dates for the June and July issues are the usual first Monday of the month, but there may not be an August edition.
Victoria Helby

Chairman’s Chat
The fifth Cornett and Sackbut course at Newark took place last weekend and was as successful as usual. Jamie Savan and Adam Woolf always try to surprise us with unusual large-scale pieces and this year we studied the 24-part mass by Padovano. It's become a standing joke that I have always already encountered these pieces beforehand - previous examples being the 22-part Canzona and 33-part Magnificat by Gabrieli and the 24-part canon by Josquin. This year was no exception as I was at Beauchamp when we did the Padovano mass and I particularly recalled the extremely challenging top cornett part. This time, as well as enjoying (?) this line in the Credo I was able to sing a more restful part in other movements. Jamie and Adam did score a success with a 16-part canzona by Tiburtio Massaino and a number of his choral works, which I did not know and found to be excellent. The 15-part madrigal by Malvezzi from the 1589 Intermedii was also new to me in spite of studying various other works from the collection at different times in the past. Because it had been transposed down a fourth or fifth I had the pleasure of singing a tenor part with its typical flourishes which I had to sing at full volume to compete with numerous sackbuts - great fun!

Because this Tamesis is going out early you may perhaps receive before the workshop on Sunday 10th May to study movements from the 12-part "Earthquake" mass by Brumel and the 8-part Tulerunt Dominum by Josquin. If you are a tenor or a sackbut player we may still be able to squeeze you in so please ring me (01494 532195) or Kate Gordon (0207 482 6874).
David Fletcher

Letter from Leipzig, London and Nottingham
On my return from singing Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man in Dubrovnik, I picked up the March Tamesis and immediately noticed “Spare ticket for St John Passion in Leipzig”. Within minutes I had arranged for Rosemary to meet my fiancée in Leipzig (Rosemary holding Tamesis, Renate with two cushions – the Thomas-kirche has hard pews). I myself heard Arvo Pärt’s St John Passion in Greenwich on Good Friday.

Renate came to London on Easter Sunday to see Handel’s keyboard and the trompe- l’oeil statuary at St Lawrence Whitchurch, near Edgware. We were unable to catch the Jimi Hendrix Museum in Brooke Street, but over the next few days we d id visit the (eighteenth century) St George’s German Church in Alie Street, with its Bonhoeffer associations, the Foundling Hospital (and the nearby Horse Hospital – vaut le voyage!) and caught The Sixteen’s mainly Handel concert at the Royal Naval College Chapel Greenwich. (Renate was hearing Zadok for the first time, so the choral entry was a Haydnesque surprise.) The audience survey questionnaire asked what was my last musical experience – I shamefacedly admitted that it was Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat the previous night (well, it is a musical!)

Having seen Poppea at Glyndbourne last year I was looking forward to seeing more of Danielle di Niese – difficult unless she were to perform Salome à la Maria Ewing! – so Wednesday was a double bill of Dido and Aeneas plus Acis and Galatea at Covent Garden. We then went (a day early) to the Nottingham Saul workshop, where I trust Renate produced authentically Handelian historically informed Saxon-German- accented English, and concluding our Nottingham Handelian connection with a visit to Wollaton Hall, where Handel is said to have played the organ.

A final note on Edgware – would Wetherspoons’ like to erect a “Harmonious Blacksmith” or a “Duke of Chandos” conveniently near to St Lawrence’s church?
Brian O’Hagan

With apologies to Brian for leaving out a paragraph about his visit to the Leipzig brass instrument maker Syhre. Unfortunately there was a bit where I couldn’t read his writing and I couldn’t get hold of him to find out what it said.

Early Music Radio?
I’ve had a letter from Steve Foulds about his plans to start broadcasting early music on the internet. He writes:

I am an Early Music enthusiast who discovered the genre in the seventies; As you can probably guess from my e mail address, I have embarked upon a project to bring more Early Music to the internet by starting a ‘Radio Station’. It’s going to be a bit of a slog to get it going, but I’m confident I should be in a position to make a start during the middle of this year.

If you’re interested, have a look at his web site which is still being developed. Steve’s email is studio @

NEMA International Conference 7-10 July 2009
Singing Music from 1500-1900 - style, technique, knowledge, assertion, experiment. “A singing shop, not a talking shop”
Conference Programme Outline.
Day 1 (Tuesday 7th) Early Music and History: Jo Wainwright. Location: University of York, Music Department. 11:30 to 14:00 Registration and networking. 14:00 to 18:30 Presentations from Bruce Haynes, Bonnie Gordon, Ed Breen, John Potter, Catherine Gordon-Seifert and Anthony Rooley. Round table discussion. Dinner and workshop featuring French 16th Century Vocal Music, both Sacred and Secular: L'esprit français, la chanson parisienne, L'humanisme, with York Chamber Choir and the audience (the Brumel mass will be sung chorally), directed by Dominique Visse.

Day 2 (Wednesday 8th) Sound and Technique: John Potter and Jonathan Eato. Location: National Centre for Early Music. 09:15 to 13:00 Presentations, with illustrations and workshop, by Martha Feldman, Andrew Parrott, Laurie Stras, Deborah Roberts and Christine Pollerus. Illustrated presentation on Allegri by Graham O'Reilly and Hugh Keyte (Part I). 14:00 to 16:15 Presentation on 19th century vocal ornamentation by Laura Moeckli. Illustrated presentations on how pop, rock and jazz vocalists can inspire early music singing by Leila Heil and Robert Toft. 16:45 to 18:15 Walk to Minster for attendance at Evensong. 18:15 to 22:00 Short pub visit followed by dinner at Guildhall and workshop: An Evening with Thomas Ravenscroft, led by Graham Coatman.

Day 3 (Thursday 9th) Science and Perception: David Howard and Martha Elliott. Location: University of York, Music Department. 09:15 to 12:45 Presentations, with live science and vocal illustrations, mostly on vibrato, by David Howard, Jude Brereton, Helena Daffern, Greta Haenen, Fred Gab le, Maria Skiba and Martha Elliott. 13:45 to 17:45 Allegri Workshop (Part II). Presentations from Alex Constansis, Hanae Ono and Christopher Allan. 18:30 to 22:00 Conference dinner followed by polychoral workshop The Speech of Gods and Shepherds , featuring Orazio Benevoli's Dixit Dominus primi toni à 16, directed by Philip Thorby, with opportunities for all to sing.

Day 4 (Friday 10th) Embodied Voices: Peter Seymour and Clifford Bartlett. Location: University of York, Music Department. 09:15 to 13:15 Illustrated presentations by Rosemary Carlton-Willis, Elizabeth Belgrano, Katrina Mitchell, Louise Stein, Brooke Bryant and Alan Maddox. 14:00 to 17:00 Illustrated presentations by Sally Bradshaw and Richard Bethell. Psalmody workshop directed by Sally Drage, with opportunities for all to sing. What Next - debate chaired by Clifford Bartlett, to evaluate the conference and discuss what happens afterwards. 17:00 Conference closes, in time for participants to attend the first event of the York Early Music Festival (Tallis Scholars at the Minster), which starts at 19.30.

Conference Registration. Your conference registration fee covers, for the days you select, your attendance at daytime sessions, morning and afternoon refreshments, and lunch (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday). The fee for the whole conference is £140. Dinner and Evening Events are optional.

Accommodation is available on the main University of York Campus. Single ensuite bedrooms are based in Vanbrugh College, giving you quick and easy access to your rooms from the conference. Breakfast will be served in the Mondrian Restaurant, Vanbrugh College, which is close to the Music Department and near the lake. In addition there are a limited number of rooms in Wentworth College at the University. As there is limited availability, these must be booked for the duration of the conference and should be booked as soon as possible.

For more information visit the conference web site or contact richardbethell @

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