2016 Renaissance Course
The first session of the day consists of sectionals for recorders (Emma Murphy), renaissance wind (Frances Eustace), plucked strings (Lynda Sayce), viols (David Hatcher) and voices (Philip Thorby). The course of study of each section may change in response to the make-up of the class, but the tutors have written the following to give an indication of what to expect:
Emma Murphy (recorders)
The inventory made at the death of the fifth Duke of Medinaceli (a title originally created by Los Reyes Catolicos, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille) lists eleven recorders – more than any other instrument! In fact, recorders were used in both courts and chapels in sixteenth century Spain, and the recorder sectionals will reflect this, covering music in all the major genres from villancicos to mass movements and lamentations, by composers such as Victoria, Guerrero and Padilla. Using Diego Ortiz’s 1553 manual on ornamentation Tratado de Glosas as a guide, players will learn how to use ornamentation to transform these vocal originals into idiomatic instrumental pieces.
Frances Eustace (loud winds)
Wind-players will have the chance to join with singers to explore poly-choral repertoire, and to tackle the challenges of playing in a mixed ensemble, as well as enjoying time for some wind-only repertoire. Sectionals will provide the opportunity to look at technical questions and to play some lively dance music.
Lynda Sayce (lutes)
Lynda’s sectionals are for lute, vihuela and renaissance guitar players. Students will explore solos and songs from the seven surviving vihuela prints, as well as learning how plucked instruments can take part in the music of other sources, such as the Cancionerio de Palacio. There will also be the chance to play music for lute ensemble, using some of Lynda’s famous lute family – from treble to bass. Technical and notational guidance will be offered at all levels.
David Hatcher (viols)
The viol class will focus on music from a number of Spanish sources, including the Cancioneros de Palacio, de Segovia, de Lisboa and de Sablonara. With David’s help, players will be encouraged to create and play their own decorated versions of pieces from these collections, using the Tratado de Glosas by Diego Ortiz as their guide. The first printed ornamentation manual for viol players, the Tratado was published in Naples in 1553, and contains decorated songs, divisions over ostinato basses and freely composed ricercars, as well as instructions for the viol-player on how to ornament for themselves.
Philip Thorby (voices)
Whilst the course as a whole offers singers a wealth of solo and one-to-a-part study, the morning sectional consists of working together to create the chamber choir which is the centrepiece of the course. The alchemy by which the singers on the course form a dynamic and accomplished vocal ensemble in the space of one short week is always exciting, and the result never fails to impress our audience! This year we have as our core work Victoria’s Offitium Defunctorum, one of the undoubted masterpieces of the renaissance, but will also explore the music of Guerrero and Merulo.