P a s t   W o r k s h o p s

Season 2017-18

Exploring the emotional drama of Tallis's Lamentations

with Carris Jones

Monday 11 September 2017, 7pm - 9:30pm

St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, EC1A 2DQ

Tallis’s Lamentations contain some of the most emotionally charged and highly dramatic music of Renaissance England. In this workshop we unlocked the emotions of the piece through analysing the text, exploring the relationship between breath and sound, and bringing the power of imagination to choral singing.  Beginning with a refresher on how to breathe effectively for singing, we worked our way up to exercises more familiar to actors than choral singers, helping us to discover the drama within the music. Participants were encouraged to come with an open mind and leave with a new way of looking at a familiar work.

Monday 8th January 2018, 7pm - 9:30pm

The Gresham Centre, Gresham Street
London EC2V 7BX

The media seem very focussed (in professional musical performance) on directors and conductors: yet at the same time the performance of Renaissance sacred vocal music often appears to be characterised by a lack of any directorial interpretation.  Is this a good thing?  And when directors take a particular approach, does it get us closer to the heart and soul of the piece?

Rather than discuss the merits of (for example) emotional over drier performances, this workshop aimed to tease out what one might call ‘interpretation’ from clues in the music itself and to aim to use the voice so these are as clear as possible.  It may have touched on affairs of Renaissance performance practices here and there but rather more was about looking at the piece, understanding what the composer seems to have aimed at and then trying to make it work.  Sounds simple!

Robert Hollingworth was a chorister at Hereford Cathedral, set up his first solo-voice ensemble at the age of 16 and read music at New College Oxford followed by a year at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He has spent 30 years directing vocal groups, notably I Fagiolini which he founded at university in 1986. The group has a unique reputation for innovative and creative productions.

Nearly 30 CDs and DVDs have included first recordings of works and collections by Byrd, Croce, Tomkins, Andrea Gabrieli and more.

Teasing out what lies within

with Robert Hollingworth

Chant and polyphony: a living tradition at Westminster Cathedral

with Martin Baker

Monday 19 March 2018, 7:15pm - 9:45pm

Venue: Gresham Centre, Gresham St, London EC2V 7BX

Martin Baker, Master of Music, examined the conflux of gregorian chant and polyphony in the daily liturgical environment at Westminster Cathedral, with emphasis on music in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, referring in particular to Victoria’s Missa Ave Maris stella and Guerrero’s Ave virgo sanctissima. This was an opportunity to examine how the performance of chant and polyphony are naturally connected, and to understand how great music from the past finds an authentic expression in the contemporary church.