Thames Valley Early Music Forum
Tamesis Issue 272
I was very sorry to hear of the death in January of Patsy Moore. She and her husband Ken have been TVEMF members for many years, though we have not seen them at events for the last few years. Many of us must have played Patsy’s editions of renaissance music and benefitted from “playing with bricks”. This is a great stepping stone towards playing from facsimile, without bar lines and with the original note lengths but without the problems of legibility so often encountered when playing from facsimile. Ken and family are arranging a celebration/memorial of her life and he writes about it on page 5.
The next baroque chamber music is just after Easter, on 28th April. The form went out in January, rather too soon I felt, but then this month would have been rather late. The result is that not many people have remembered to book yet, so I’ve reprinted the form on the back cover. Do come! Peter drives all the way from Manchester with a carload of harpsichords and music so we need to make all his efforts worthwhile. If you’ve been to one of my baroque days you’ll know what to expect, but Peter has a much bigger music library. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to play or sing, it’s worth asking because he’s probably got it.
We have accidentally booked two events in Northwood in successive months, but fortunately it’s a very easy place for most people to get to. In fact the second workshop, on music by Ingegneri, will be in the church, not the hall, a rather more suitable venue for polyphony even if not quite the sort of place where it might originally have been heard. Several TVEMF members, including me, went to Gareth Wilson’s workshop for the Renaissance Singers and enjoyed it very much, so we asked him to do something similar, with different music, for TVEMF.
We’re always looking for suggestions for good venues. Nobody has thought of anywhere to replace Burnham yet (see January editorial) but we’re also looking for suitable halls we can use on Sundays when churches are not often available. The good news from Amersham is that the Drake Hall won’t be knocked down until its replacement is built, and that hasn’t even managed to get through planning yet. The council are intending to use quite a lot of the adjacent park, which is not surprisingly, an unpopular idea locally.
As I write 135 people have not signed the GDPR Declaration! Please do something about it, because once you’ve indicated your wishes you won’t need to be bothered again. We do understand that a few people don’t want their information to appear in the membership list, but it’s hard to believe that there are 135 of you.
Oliver Doyle of Musica Antica is once again offering TVEMF members a discount – 1/3 off tickets in advance for their concert on 13th April. The code is ‘TVEMF’ and details are in the concerts list.
Almost a hundred people came to the Monteverdi workshop in February but nobody wrote a review so I’ve been reduced to writing one myself. Do please think about writing about our next events. It’s such a shame if they go unreported and forgotten.
In the early 1970s the early music movement was taking off, with performers such as David Munrow bringing it into the mainstream. In 1971 Christopher Monk and Eric Hedger produced what was intended to be the first of a regular series of magazines called the Early Music Register. In fact there was only one other issue, in 1972, as the OUP Early Music magazine came along but the two issues that did get produced are full of information about the early music scene at the time.
These two publications have been scanned and put online on the NEMA site at www.earlymusic.info/Register.php so you can download them. The 1971 issue contains articles on starting your own early music group, “What is a sackbut” by Christopher Monk and “Hunting for music” by Clifford Bartlett. There is a great deal more in its 51 pages including notes on instruments and prices, societies and early music consorts.
The 1972 issue has an article on playing the cornett by Christopher Monk, who by then was making resin instruments, thousands of which have now been sold. There are drawings and instructions for a making a curtal (well something of a hybrid actually) so you can make your own instrument as I did at the time. Clifford Bartlett writes on preparing an edition for performance, there is an article on the Dolmetsch Foundation and Bernard Thomas sets out his editorial methods for his London Pro Musica editions. NEMA members can download the full version which includes a list of people and their interests that subsequently turned into the Early Music Yearbook.
It seems that our workshop with Eamonn Dougan on the choruses from the Monteverdi Vespers was one of our most successful ever so we hope to have a follow-on event in 2020 with some of the pieces we did not cover, together with other works by the composer.
Patsy died peacefully on 14 January 2019, having been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in December 2017. Her last performance was at the summer term soirée of Da Capo, the adult learners' orchestra which she founded as Newbury College Late Starters' Orchestra in 1995. She had continued to conduct, accompany and organise up till December 2017; after her memory was impaired, she still enjoyed playing viola in the orchestra, and chamber music with friends and family.
We have received many cards of condolence and appreciation, some crediting Patsy with having transformed the writer's musical life.
We are intending to organise a celebration/memorial, probably later this year, to which all her friends and musical acquaintances will be welcome. If you'd like to get details of that as we set things up, or maybe even contribute a musical moment, then please look on the Moore Music website, www.moore-music.org.uk. (At the time of writing, the site hasn't yet been updated, but we're hoping to collect email addresses there, and then everyone on the email list would be invited.)
More news about the Beauchamp early music week
Tenors and basses wanted!
Contrary to what I wrote in January, there were a few cancellations after the renaissance summer school had to move to Glenfall House near Cheltenham, so there is now room for you if you are a tenor or bass. The bedrooms in the house itself are full but there is accommodation available in a nearby hotel. The main tutors are Philip Thorby and David Hatcher, plus guest tutors Theresa Caudle, Adrian France and Richard Thomas. The theme of the week is "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" and while the music won’t be exclusively Glorias, there will be a chance to explore a great many of them in from four to forty parts, including the 24-part setting by Annibale Padovano, and the 40-part setting by Alessandro Striggio. Contact details are in the Events list.
Choruses from Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers
A workshop for singers and instrumentalists
directed by Eamonn Dougan
From the gallery of St Alfege church in Greenwich, sitting just above the choir and orchestra, I watched Eamonn Dougan conduct a magnificent performance of the Monteverdi Vespers on the last evening of the 2017 Early Music Festival. I was immediately struck by the idea of asking Eamonn to conduct a workshop for TVEMF. It would be on just the choruses from the Vespers, as doing the whole work needs two days and means a lot of sitting around unemployed for the chorus singers.
The Vespers were printed in Venice in 1610 while Monteverdi was working in Mantua, and nothing is known about possible performances. They may have been composed as audition pieces for Rome or Venice, and the composer did finally manage to leave Mantua and become maestro di cappella at St Mark's in Venice in 1613. Wherever the Vespers were performed, it was certainly nothing like the Drake Hall in Amersham Community Centre. However it worked well as a venue for the almost 100 people who assembled there on 17th February, our biggest TVEMF event for a long time. There were nearly 80 singers and 23 instrumentalists including cornetts, sackbuts, curtal, violin family, viols, double bass and continuo. Barbara Moir’s organ continuo playing held everything together, and in the afternoon she was joined by David Rhodes on the theorbo.
Eamonn’s conducting was inspiring and he made the whole day a really enjoyable occasion, treating us to a lot of interesting information and occasional snatches of his lovely tenor voice.
Enormous thanks to Jenny Frost who organised the whole event and provided the instrumental music which she owns herself. In fact one day proved not to be quite long enough to do justice to all the choruses so we are thinking of repeating the event to do the parts we left out, with other Monteverdi music if there isn’t enough for a whole day. And of course we shall ask Eamonn to conduct.
18-25 August 2019
Irish Recorder and Viol Course
An Grianán, Termonfechin, Ireland
Tutors: Ibi Aziz, Marion Doherty, Pamela Flanagan, Emma Murphy, Philip Thorby
A course designed for players of recorders, viols and other early instruments, covering a wide repertoire from ancient to modern. Sessions include one-to-a-part groups, workshops, consort songs, trio sonatas, choir, large and small ensembles.
Further information from:
Mrs. Patricia Flanagan, 110 Kincora Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin D03 X767, Ireland info @ irishrecorderandviolcourse.org https://www.irishrecorderandviolcourse.org
News of Members’ Activities
If you missed the TVEMF workshop on Handel’s Coronation Anthems, there is a further chance to do two of them on Sunday March 31st when TVEMF member Norma Herdson is putting on another of her Thames Baroque workshop days in Bourne End Community Centre, conducted by Michael Sanderson. The day is for baroque orchestra at A=415, and singers are invited for the afternoon at half price. As well as the anthems, the music is Bach: Brandenburg 3 and Telemann Overture-Suite: La Changeante. Contact details are in the Events list.