Made in Venice:
Willaert, de Rore, Ganassi and Bassano, masters of the 16th century
6 - 12 August 2017
Girton College, Cambridge, UK
Philip Thorby & Friends
Philip Thorby course director & choir, David Hatcher viols, Emma Murphy recorders, Lynda Sayce lutes, Frances Eustace & Jeremy West wind.
Throughout the sixteenth century Venice was, of course, a major centre of music and culture in its own right. It was also the centre from which musicians, their music, and the instruments they played were exported and imported all over Europe.
We will explore not only the magnificence of multi-choir motets, but also the intimacy and intensity of the “Venetian” madrigals of Adriaan Willaert and Cypriano de Rore, combining voices and instruments. As well as working with our singers, instrumentalists will also be able to follow in the footsteps of Venetian masters from Sylvestro Ganassi to Giovanni Bassano, those masters of virtuosity and sensitivity to text and rhetoric, as well as exploring the more ceremonial (and foot-tapping) repertoire of the piffari.
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 course members will take part.
11.30 ensembles (organised by the tutors)
13.00 lunch break
13.30 free time / self-organised groups
16.30 ensembles (organised by the tutors)
19.45 tutti session for large-scale works
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.
Is the Renaissance course for me?
We welcome applications from competent singers (all voices), and from players of renaissance instruments at A=440 including viols, lutes, renaissance recorders and flutes, cornetts, sackbuts, crumhorns, shawms and curtals. Recorder players should be familiar with all instruments in the descant to bass range, 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 but 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. Non-singing/playing observers are welcome if we have space.
The course begins with a recital by The Intrepid Academy directed by Philip Thorby at 4pm on 6 August. Philomel will give a full-length concert on 9 August. On the final evening (11 August) course members participate in a public concert, in which we will perform a selection of the pieces studied during the week.
Dates and times
Participants should arrive in time for the concert at 4pm on 6 August. The course ends with breakfast on Saturday 12 August.
We make every effort to assist with part or full bursaries where appropriate. Please see our Bursaries page for details.
Please apply as early as possible, as places are limited. 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.