Baroque Week (28 – 4 August 2019)
Paris versus Versailles:
Marc-Antoine Charpentier & his Court Rivals
The Parley of Instruments
Peter Holman course director & continuo, Judy Tarling upper strings, Mark Caudle lower strings, Gail Hennessy woodwind and Philip Thorby voices
Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643–1704) is increasingly recognised as the greatest French seventeenth-century composer, to be compared with Henry Purcell for his compelling ability to combine rigorous counterpoint with rich harmony and expressive word-setting. Yet at the time he was largely kept out of the court at Versailles by Jean-Baptiste Lully, working instead for the Duchesse de Guise until her death in 1688 and then mostly for the Jesuits at their Paris base, the collège and church of Saint-Louis.
Our 2019 summer school will be devoted to exploring Charpentier’s wonderful music in the context of his court rivals, including Jean-Baptiste Lully, Henri Dumont, Michel-Richard Delalande and François Couperin. The centre piece will be Charpentier’s Messe pour Monsieur Mauroy (1691), the longest and finest of his eleven settings of the mass. We also plan to work on a range of other music by him and his rivals, including Peter Holman’s reconstruction of the original orchestral form of Couperin’s Concert dans le goût théâtral, and music written by Charpentier and Lully for Molière's plays. There will be a focus on the specialised techniques required to perform French music in le bon goût, including how and when to apply notes inégales and ornaments.
Each day we will offer technique workshops, choral and orchestral sessions for large-scale works, and one-to-a-part chamber music sessions exploring unusual repertoire in various combinations–not necessarily restricted to French music or the ‘Paris versus Versailles’ theme–selected and coached by the tutors.
Auditions for solo vocal and instrumental roles in the works performed in the final concert will be held if necessary. Instrumentalists (particularly wind players) should be prepared to sing in the choir in large-scale pieces that do not have parts for their instruments. Vocal scores for the Charpentier Mass and other major works will be sent out in advance.
The 2019 Baroque Course will take place at Girton College, Cambridge. Please click this link for more information about the venue.
11.30 choir session / orchestra session
13.00 lunch break
13.30 free time / self-organised groups
16.30 chamber music session (organised by the tutors)
19.30 talk by one of the tutors
20.00 tutti session for large-scale works
Tuition will stress historically-informed techniques and style. A large selection of music for many combinations of instruments and voices will be provided; you are also invited to bring your own sets of parts and scores.
Is the Baroque course for me?
Applications are invited from proficient singers and confident players of gut-strung Baroque instruments (violin, viola and cello), with Baroque bows (some instruments and bows are available to hire), bass viol, violone, recorder, flute, oboe, bassoon, lute family and harpsichord/organ. (Suitable keyboard instruments are provided.) Pitch: A=415.
Players should have a good mastery of instrumental technique, but not necessarily any experience of Baroque playing. However, the wind players need to be fluent and confident on their Baroque instruments, able to sight-read solos with confidence. Continuo players should have a good knowledge of figured bass.
Singers should be experienced and fluent sight-readers; they may be encouraged to take solo parts as well as singing in ensembles.
Pre-existing groups are welcome to apply together, and may bring prepared music for coaching in some of the chamber music sessions. Non-singing/playing observers are welcome if we have space.
The course begins with a concert given by The Parley of Instruments at 4pm on 28 July. On 31 July The Parley of Instruments will give a full-length evening concert in central Cambridge. On the final evening (3 August) course members participate in a public concert, performing a selection of works studied during the week.
Dates and Times
Participants should arrive in time for the concert at 4pm on Sunday 28 July. The course ends with breakfast on Sunday 4 August.
We make every effort to assist with bursaries where appropriate. Please see our Bursaries page for details.
Applications will be acknowledged but may not be 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.
For further information on fees & booking, please click here.