Tamesis Issue 234 November 2012
TVEMF members formed one of the four choirs at Michael Procter’s memorial service
at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate last Friday 2nd November. I think Michael would
have been pretty happy with all our efforts, bearing in mind that we had only had an
hour to rehearse each choir, and being a very sociable man he would have approved
of the wine and nibbles afterwards which gave some of us an opportunity to talk to
people we hadn’t seen for a very long time. From where the choirs were sitting at the
side it was difficult to hear the contributions from members of Michael’s family, but
Robin Rigby has put links to Claudia and Ben’s words on the web site www.michael-
procter.com. For a lot of us the last time we saw Michael was his memorable TVEMF
Christmas workshop last year, and now it’s almost time for the next one. A form is
included, along with forms for Jeremy Jackman’s workshop for singers in January at St
Sepulchre’s, and David’s popular annual renaissance playing day in February. Don’t
forget that singers who can hold a line are welcome to that as well.
We are in the process of arranging workshops with Patrick Allies and Peter Syrus
during the early summer. Keep an eye on the web site www.tvemf.org if you need to
know the dates before the January Tamesis comes out.
There are a couple of things to keep you entertained at home over the winter season -
listing your musical activities in November for Hugh Rosenbaum’s play month count
and dreaming up your desert island discs as suggested by Kate Gordon. Read on for
It seems early to say it, but Happy Christmas to all our members!
1. Apologies for absence 5. Treasurer's report
2. Approval of the minutes of last meeting 6. Election of officers and committee
3. Chairman's report 7. Any other business
4. Secretary's report
Sunday 2nd December 2012 at 5.15 approx.
(after the Christmas workshop in Amersham)
After so many years it's hard to remember for me to remember what it was like
before TVEMF existed, but now there is usually at least one event per month, which is
a great joy. The workshop with James Weeks, studying music by Philips and
Sweelinck, seemed to go very well, and confirmed my opinion of Phillips as a
somewhat neglected master, whilst introducing equally good music by his
contemporary. I very much enjoyed the Baroque Chamber Music day, which
appeared to run very smoothly but I know that our Secretary had some anxious
moments and put a great deal of work into rearranging groups after a late
cancellation, so many thanks to her.
Time for a mention of what one might call domestic matters. I am a computer
programmer, which makes me particularly sensitive to things being done in an
inefficient way (all right, I'm a bit obsessive). At our events we usually use plastic
cups and cup-holders for convenience. The latter are not disposable - please do not
throw them away as they can be used many times. When disposing of plastic cups,
please try to stack them, otherwise the bin fills up very quickly. Please do not deposit
used tea bags on the lids of containers used for cutlery or sugar. Indeed, before the
morning session, please consider making a pot of tea rather than each person using a
messy tea bag. When making coffee, please keep at least one dry spoon for the
purpose - it is sufficient to have one wet spoon for stirring coffee and (if your taste
buds are very sensitive) another for tea, otherwise we rapidly run out of spoons. Help
in clearing up after events is always welcome, but please don't pack jugs, kettle,
cutlery etc. into our boxes unless they are marked as ours! It's very embarrassing
and inconvenient to have to return a jug or bowl to the church some days afterwards.
The Purcell workshop is well-subscribed with singers but, as usual for baroque events,
we have had some difficulty in attracting enough instruments. It will be fine, but do
encourage any of your string-playing friends to join TVEMF and come to these events.
The Christmas workshop will of course be great fun and I look forward to this festive
occasion. The Byrd workshop in January is intended to encourage those who are a bit
nervous at the idea of singing without the aid of bar lines. Anyone who has been
performing early music for a while will have got used to the idea that the bar lines do
not indicate emphasis, merely the passage of time, so it should not be too hard to
abandon them. Just make sure you can distinguish a semibreve rest from a minim
rest and all will go well. In fact we shall be working up to things gradually, starting
with modern notation before doing the same music in a form which would have been
more familiar in the sixteenth century. Finally I should point out that needing a bar
for support is not something I associate with TVEMF members!
Letter to the Chairman
I was recently at an SRP Playing Day in Petersfield and happened to see a leaflet on
your workshop: "Silence is Golden".
Imagine my delight - it sounded most interesting.
Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was rather short-lived when it was pointed out to me
that it had actually taken place earlier in the year. I'm so disappointed that I missed
as I think it sounds a most imaginative theme for a workshop - rests are among the
most difficult parts of a piece to play well and convincingly.
I have no idea how many people attended or how successful it was, but if you are
thinking of putting on something similar in the future i should be really pleased.
As a music teacher I have spent much of my life looking for imaginative ideas on
dealing with rests for young people who seem to think that silence means that
something has gone wrong.
I suspect the event would have included a recorder arrangement of John Cage's 4
minutes 33 seconds, which, although I have never seen the score I imagine it to have
included a large number of rests and would have formed quite the most tranquil part
of the day - an ideal follow on from lunch.
Please let me know if you are thinking of putting on a similar workshop in the near
future - my cheque will be in the post before you can say "hemi-demi-semi-quaver
TVEMF play month count
Hugh Rosenbaum didn’t get a very good response to his idea of a play count in
October, so I’ve suggested we start again with November. As it’s the month that’s
already started you can begin now, which will help you to remember about it. You
may remember the play count was suggested in the September Tamesis, and the idea
is to emulate the RSPB’s bird count and send him a list of your musical activities in
one month, including instruments or voices, number participating, kinds of pieces
played (not the whole list), and one name of the organiser, contact person, or poster.
In spite of the title I’m sure it’s meant to include singing as well. I’d like to publish
the results in the January Tamesis so hope Hugh will get a lot of replies this time. I
did October and it didn’t take very long.
Please send your November report to Hugh either by email to
hugh4blueyonder.co.uk or post them to 127 Fortis Green Road, London N10 3LX.
Desert Island Discs
And here’s another idea for you to be thinking about over the Christmas period.
Kate Gordon has suggested that we might like to dream up a list of our eight favourite
pieces of music, or specific recordings, for our own Desert Island Discs. To inspire
you, here are Kate’s:
1 JS Bach B minor mass
2= JS Bach St John's & St Matthew's Passions, Magnificat
5 JS Bach double violin concerto
6 Tallis Lamentations of Jeremiah (both sets)
7 Monteverdi Vespers
8 Tallis O Nata Lux
Send your own lists to me at tamesistvemf.org and I’ll publish the results in
Cambridge Choral Study Weekend and De Profundis concert
The Cambridge Choral Study Weekends are an established series preparing
Renaissance music for performance in the context of a sung Mass. They have been
directed by Michael Procter and following Michael’s sudden tragic death earlier this
year, Edward Wickham agreed to direct the course taking place in Gonville and Caius
College on 14th-16th September.
There were 32 singers and we studied two six-part works. The larger work was
Isaac’s Missa Virgo Prudentissima composed at the beginning of the 16th Century and
the other was Manchicourt’s motet Osculetur me composed around the middle of the
16th century. These two compositions are utterly different in style but both are of top
quality and wonderful to sing. The Isaac mass was quite challenging. There are
intricate rhythmic patterns and many of the melodic lines are quirky and unpredictable
requiring the utmost concentration. In contrast the Manchicourt was very
straightforward but it was sublimely beautiful.
There was limited rehearsal time available before we sang both works in the college
chapel on the Sunday morning. There was no keyboard player to support us during
the service or rehearsals which made the event all the more enjoyable but carried an
element of risk. Edward Wickham used the time very efficiently to ensure we reached
an acceptable standard and his efforts paid off. We were most indebted to Edward for
the hard work he put into ensuring the success of the weekend.
After very intensive rehearsals on the Saturday, the evening was free and by
fortunate coincidence David Allinson’s group De Profundis was giving a concert in St
John’s College Chapel and many of us attended it. De Profundis was founded by the
tenor Mark Dourish in 2011 and consists of around 20 men singing renaissance music
at the pitch originally written as opposed to the somewhat higher pitches more
commonly used nowadays for mixed choirs.
I had never heard the group before and was very struck by the quality of the singing
and of the rich effect of performing music at a low pitch. The concert was the first in
the series of Iberian Renaissance Masterpieces and consisted primarily of music by
Morales including his Missa Mille Regretz. The mass is based on the Josquin chanson
and we heard this chanson sung one-to-a-part in addition to a number of Morales
motets and the entire mass. As an encore given, according to David Allinson, to
ensure we did not need counselling after an evening of miserable music, De Profundis
performed an uplifting piece by Créquillon. David was really at home with the works
chosen for the concert and demonstrated his insight into the expressive potential of
this powerful music. It was a most memorable occasion and De Profundis is highly
recommended. Watch out for details of future concerts of the group listed in
forthcoming issues of Tamesis.
Tewkesbury Medieval Music Festival
Waytes and Measures is a group of five people who perform medieval and Tudor
music in authentic costume and with period instruments. Their definition of
“medieval” is anything up to the time of Henry VIII. The day this year was tutored by
Tim Bayley from the York Waits.
The music we looked at was from the 13th to 15th centuries and in anything from one
to four parts. Variety was given by repeating the music with different combinations of
instruments and singers. We sang and played a lot of music so I can’t mention all of
it, but two favourites were “Mit Guenstlichem Herczen” by Oswald von Wolkenstein
(1377-1445), a three part canon that sounded especially good played on psaltery,
dulcimer and oud, and a contrasting piece, “Reveillez-vous Piccarz” that we sang and
played, getting louder as time went on and with a rousing four-part finale including
The workshop finished around 5 pm so people could eat before the concert that was
held in the same venue, starting at 7 pm. The concert was fairly informal and anyone
who had attended the day could volunteer to perform. Highlights for me included a
portative organ duet, a pipe and tabor duet, a shawm trio and a performance by
Simon Pickard of the Southwest Early Music Forum on double chanter bagpipes. Tim
demonstrated his versatility on almost any instrument by playing solo items on
bagpipes and hurdy-gurdy, as well as joining with other people in playing drum,
portative organ, pipe and tabor and shawm. Makes you sick, really. The concert
finished with everyone playing a selection from the music we had looked at during the
day and when we played “Ductia” it was great that there was some dancing to the
For further information on Tim and the York Waits, see the York Waits website,
Plans are being made to have another medieval music day in Tewkesbury next year.
See the Waytes and Measures website, www.waytesandmeasures.org.uk or e-mail
On 20 April 2013 Tim will be tutoring a day on waits band music through the
Southwest Early Music Forum. Details will be available nearer the time on the SWEMF
website or you could e-mail the organiser, Simon Pickard simpickardbtinternet.com.
On 5 October 2013 I am planning a workshop to be tutored by Tim through the
Southern Early Music Forum. The theme will be music from the time of Richard III
and it will be for all instrumentalists and singers. It is possible that there will be a
workshop showcase on the following day, 6 October. Please contact me if you would
like to be put on the mailing list. My e-mail address is
organised by Waytes and Measures
The Library, Theoc House, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
Saturday 13 October 2012
Twice monthly classical/early/traditional music in London
I’m told that ‘Get Classical’ nights are held on the first and third Thursday of each
month organised by Jennifer Bennett of the Amphion Consort at The Constitution, 42
St Pancras Way, NW1 0QT, a pub already well known for its folk evenings. They start
at 7pm and go on until 11.30pm and admission is £5. The line-up of instrumentalists
varies, but on a typical evening there might be baroque violins, lute, cittern, bass viol,
but not necessarily all playing at the same time, there is a lot of improvising, and the
atmosphere is very informal. For more information please email:
jsbjenniferbennett.eu or look at www.amphionconsort.com. Do go and try it, and
write us a review.
International Young Artists Competition 11-13 July 2013 York, UK
Applications are now being invited for this prestigious competition which takes place
at the York Early Music Festival in July 2013. The closing date for entries is Friday 25
January 2013 and full details can be found on the National Centre for Early Music
website at www.ncem.co.uk/youngartists2013.
News of Members’ Activities
David Allinson’s Cantores chamber choir is giving its only concert in 2012 on Saturday
17th November at St George’s Cathedral, Westminster Bridge Road, Southwark, SE1
7HY at 3pm. Make sure you go to the right cathedral! Tickets are a very reasonable
£5 (£4 concessions) on the door but you will need to pay an extra £3 if you want to
stay on afterwards for the refreshments. The title of the programme is Ave Virgo,
and the music is a selection of works from England, Spain, Italy and the Franco-
Flemish lowlands which traces the development of the Marian motet from the mid-
15th century to the high renaissance of the late 16th century, including pieces by
Taverner, Parsons, Josquin, Mouton, Guerrero, Victoria and Palestrina.
Opportunities to Make Music
Thames Baroque Workshops are starting up again on Sunday, February 3 at Bourne
End Community Centre. The application form will come later but in the meantime this
is the planned repertoire:
JS Bach: Cantata “Non sa che sia dolore” BWV 209 for solo soprano, solo flute and
strings, JS Bach: Cantata “Vergnugte Ruh” BWV 170 for solo alto, solo oboe d'amore
(doubles violin 1) and strings (the middle movement is scored for obbligato organ but
may work as a flute/oboe duet) and Pergolesi: Stabat Mater for solo soprano, solo alto
TVEMF member Norma Herdson, who runs these workshops, writes that she would
like more than one soprano and alto soloist so that singers have an opportunity to
experience this repertoire in a non-threatening atmosphere! All the music is available
online so please email her if you would like the links
* * *
The London Community Baroque Orchestra, the educational arm of the period
instrument ensemble L'Avventura London, is now in its third term, and is bigger and
better than ever, they say! The orchestra provides training in historical performance
practice and presents high-level musical performances. You are invited to join them.
Rehearsals are held on Saturdays in the Picture Gallery of the Foundling Museum from
10.30am to 1.30pm. Their next concert will be on December 9th at 3pm. For more
information or to arrange an audition email Zak Ozmo zozmolavventuralondon.co.uk
or look at www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk/learning/lcbo/
Harpsichord for sale: Thomas and Rhodes 1938, B' to d''', 52 keys, 4 pedals. Images
available: contact Morris Davies (0151-427 1037) eb20liverpool.ac.uk
* * *
The Sixteen’s record label CORO is offering TVEMF members a 20% discount on their
autumn releases until the end of this year. For details of the CDs and to claim your
discount, visit www.thesixteen.com and enter the discount code TVEMF3 into the
discount box on the order confirmation page.
available from teacher with over 18 years experience.
Whether you are looking to pass exams, diplomas,
improve your continuo playing, or just want to learn for fun,
lessons are designed to suit individual needs.
Please call Katharine May (GRSM Hons, ARCM) on 01628 783272 or email