Cambridge Early Music Summer Schools 2014

RENAISSANCE MUSIC: Musica Transalpina, 10-16 August 2014

Philip Thorby and Friends

Philip Thorby, David Hatcher, Emma Murphy, Frances Eustace, Lynda Sayce

The Italian Influence on English Music in the Elizabethan Age


Course description

Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I

When Henry VIII sent his agents to Venice to engage for his court the best wind and viol players Europe had to offer, the stage was set for English music to be transformed. Madrigal, fantasia, pavan, galliard - the music at Queen Elizabeth's court took Italian music to its heart, and blended it with the inherited glories of earlier English music, to produce one of the richest and most evocative repertoires in musical history. Our course will reflect both elements - the Tudor heritage of choral music, and that most English form of the verse-anthem, for example, alongside instrumental music influenced by the Bassano and Lupo dynasties, introduced to the English court by Elizabeth's father.

Each day of the course will be divided between sectional rehearsals and ensembles, both large and small, directed by our specialist tutors. The after-dinner sessions might include informal performances of works covered in the day, as well as exploring early dance and working on large-scale pieces in which all the course members will take part.

The tutors will offer coaching and workshops on all aspects of renaissance ensemble performance. Music will be provided, but you are also invited to bring your own sets of parts and scores if you wish. Please indicate on the application form if there are particular pieces you wish to study.

Tutors and Sectional Groups

Our tutors are exceptionally enthusiastic and inspiring. 'The great Philip Thorby' (Early Music Review), a powerhouse of energy and inspiration, will coach the choir and large ensembles. Philip is Director of Musica Antiqua of London and a superb performer on both viol and recorder; he is also an unrivalled singing tutor and director.

David Hatcher studied viola da gamba with Charles Medlam and recorder with Philip Thorby. He has performed and recorded prolifically, and also teaches early dance. David will work with viol players and mixed ensembles.

Emma Murphy is our recorder expert, and will also work with mixed ensembles. Emma, herself a CEM 'graduate', works with the Gabrieli Consort, King's Consort and Ex Cathedra as well as many chamber groups, in particular the trio Da Camera.

Frances Eustace is a distinguished performer and musicologist (as well as being a marathon runner). Her instruments include bassoons, curtals, shawms, recorders, crumhorns, viols, rebecs and violin, viola, bagpipes, and pipe and tabor.

We are delighted to welcome for the first time Lynda Sayce, one of the UK's leading lutenists, and noted both as a performer and as a musical scholar with a strong interest in history, literature and the visual arts.

Is it for me?

We welcome applications from competent singers, and from players of renaissance instruments at A=440 including viols, lutes, recorders, renaissance flutes, reeds, cornetts and sackbuts.

Recorder players should be familiar with all sizes (descant to bass), unless offering another instrument or voice as well; renaissance recorders are strongly preferred.

Viol players are encouraged to bring renaissance as well as baroque instruments; please let us know which sizes you can bring. It might be possible to borrow renaissance viols during the course.

All applicants should have a good standard of sight-reading and be able to hold a line confidently on their own. Singers may be encouraged to take solo parts as well as singing in ensembles. Those applying as instrumentalists will also have opportunities to sing if they wish. If you are at all unsure about your standard, please email or phone +44 (0) 1223 847330 to discuss. Non-singing/playing observers are welcome if we have space.

Spem in alium: Tallis 40-part motet

We plan to include Tallis's motet in 40 parts, Spem in alium, in the final concert. Local singers may be invited to join the course on the Thursday and Friday to rehearse and perform this amazing piece. Ask for details!


Study group

Please apply as early as possible, as places are limited. Applications may be acknowledged but not accepted until April, by when we hope to have a workable balance of voices and instruments. You will then be informed if your application has succeeded, and your deposit will be returned if not.

Course fees are detailed on the application form.


The course will begin with a recital by The Intrepid Academy, directed by Philip Thorby, at 14:00 on Sunday 10th August. Philomel, also directed by Philip, will give a full-length concert on Wednesday 13th August. On the final evening all course members will participate in an informal concert, in which we will perform a selection of the pieces studied during the week. All concerts are open to the public, and course participants attend them free of charge. There will be a party after the final concert.

Dates and times

Participants should aim to arrive in time for the recital at 14:00 on Sunday 10th August, which will be followed by the first teaching session at 16:30. On most days there is a free period of 2-3 hours after lunch, for practice, ad hoc music-making or rest, but the remainder of each day is filled with music from morning to night! The course ends with breakfast on Saturday 16th August (or after the Friday night party for non-residents).

Contact: |  tel: +44 (0) 1223 847330 |  fax: +44 (0) 1223 701914  
Christopher Roberts, Administrator
Cambridge Early Music is a registered charity, No. 1127932, and a private limited company registered in England and Wales,
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