Tamesis Issue 238 July 2013
Thanks very much to all our contributors for making this such a varied and, I trust,
interesting issue. Alas we have no review of the Lassus workshop because Sidney
Ross’s computer crashed so comprehensively that he hasn’t been able to rescue the
review in time.
We plan to have a workshop in October but are still waiting to hear whether we can
arrange a tutor then for the promised workshop on Georgian music. Keep an eye on
our website www.tvemf.org in case there is more information available before the
September issue comes out.
Now that Tamesis is printed by an outside printer it is costing a bit more to produce,
so rates for advertisements have had to go up to cover the cost of printing them (see
the box opposite). They are still very good value!
Enjoy your summer, and don’t forget to send me a review of your summer school if
you go to one.
I have just returned from a weekend course with Peter Syrus studying renaissance
canons, and by the time you read this I shall also have enjoyed Peter's TVEMF
workshop "Icons and Parodies". I'm sure it will go well, as he is always well prepared,
bringing his own meticulous editions and his considerable knowledge and humour.
You might think that a weekend of canons would be rather dull but we enjoyed it
enormously and marvelled at how composers could use multiple canons, some with
inverted or retrograde subject and still produce sublime music.
A reminder that details of events for the TVEMF diary, both workshops and concerts,
should be sent to the magazine editor at tamesistvemf.org rather than to me and
should be in a helpful format. Please include brief details in text form, not just an
attached image of a concert programme and send the information well in time for the
copy date of the first Monday in the odd-numbered months. You might also want to
enter the concert on the NEMA web site at www.earlymusic.info which will mean it
appears in the NEMA listings once it has been validated.
I was sad to hear that John Catch died recently at the age of 95, as he joined TVEMF
shortly after it was formed and contributed a number of items to Tamesis over the
years. His letters were amusing and I would have liked to meet him, but because he
was a viol player and moved in different circles from me our paths never crossed.
If you search on line for “John Catch” and “Tamesis” you’ll find links to a number of
his interesting contributions in the back numbers on the TVEMF web site, though not I
think all of them. I’m grateful to him not just for these but also for the recorders
which he gave away last year to two of my pupils, and I know a lot of us enjoyed
playing with him and now have the benefit of his music collection.
One of my adult recorder pupils, Roger Prowse, wrote to me: “I'm sorry to hear about
John. I had not seen him for two or three months, but he was adjusting an electric
fire at the time, and didn't need any help from a younger generation. I have good
memories of him, in that he encouraged me to take recorder lessons, having come
back to the instrument on retirement, and then filled me in on its history and the
people involved in its renaissance, usually from personal knowledge. Some of
Barbara's recorder music took me to Grade 6, and some of her recorders have
gone to young local players.”
TVEMF Day at St Matthew’s Church, Wandsworth Bridge Road, Fulham.
Saturday 18th May 2013
It was easy to find the venue as the church is well served by public transport. A bus
stop is no more than 50 metres from it. It is a modern building, opened in 2000, to
replace an older one that stood there from 1895. The worship area, another room
and a kitchen were available for our use. There were 28 singers present.
“Medieval Sacred and Secular Music: a day for singers directed by Donald Grieg”
began at 10:30 and ended just before 17:00. Don began the day by describing his
journey from choir boy at Westminster Abbey and choral scholar at Canterbury
Cathedral to professional singer. He also has wide teaching experience. It showed!
Our music, for the whole day, was ready, on our arrival, to place in ring binders. Each
voice part had a whole score.
Singers enjoyed a chronological journey through six centuries beginning with early
undated works (“Alleluia” St Gall, Gradual Triplex) then some from the 9th century
(“Rex coeli Domine”, Musica Enchiriadis c. 850) through to early 16th (“Tu solus qui
facis mirabilia” and “Deploration on the death of Johannes Ockeghem” by Josquin des
Prez, 1450 – 1521). We were introduced to less familiar composers such as Machaut
and music from the “Worcester Fragments”. Each piece was put into context with
regard to the early development of polyphony.
I learnt many new things about music and harmony: how only certain intervals
(octaves, fourths and fifths initially) were allowed; tenors were literally “holders” of
the line and other voices decorated that with harmony. We sang a “Sanctus” from
The Worcester Fragments in this style, our tenors holding a cantus firmus throughout
it. The piece ended with a plain fifth, as triad endings were a later development. In
later developments counter tenors “interacted” with the tenor line. My musical
knowledge of the history of harmony was extended.
I learnt more about very early notation. That it was, at first, no more than
performance instructions to singers who would already know several melodies and
words: oral traditions of singing were very strong in medieval times. St Gall and
Solesmes examples were available for us to look at. We singers were given an option
of singing from neumes or a modern transcription. It was fascinating to compare
these two alternatives.
The day was superbly crafted to develop our confidence in sight singing. We began by
singing in unison octaves (“Alleluia v. Dies sanctificatus”), followed by two lines (each
sung in octaves) mainly harmonising in fourths and fifths. The Winchester Fragment,
Christmas Mass: 20, “Alleluia” was in this style. Next came a tenor line with a
decorative descant above it (Organum “Haec dies” in Leoninus style [c.1175]). We
ended the morning with 3 part harmony accompanied by a base pedal (“Sederunt
Principes V. Adiuva me Domine” Magister Perotinus). Consonance was evident in all
the works we covered.
During the afternoon we slowly made our way towards more familiar SATB works:
pieces by Dunstable (“Descendi in ortum meum”), Guillaume Dufay (“Adieu ces bons
vins de Lannoys”, John Trouliffe (“Nesciens mater”) and Machaut (died 1377),who
was new to many of us. Don performed Machaut’s “Ay mi! Dame de valour (V3)”
The day ended with works by des Prez, listed above. We sang these in four parts. I
was struck by how harmonies matched words and sentiment. The pieces were
difficult to perform well.
I was stretched by the sight singing during the afternoon and lost my line in places.
Somehow with others around me also trying hard it was possible to rejoin the music
and continue. We repeated most of the pieces at least twice bringing steady
We learnt about composers and compilers of music. Many musical names from
medieval times compiled or arranged music already in existence. Machaut, who died
in 1377, was different. He was a poet of good standing who wrote his own melodies
and harmony. Before his death he arranged many of his works for publication,
succeeded in getting them into circulation, and hence a body of his work has been
preserved. Several of those present asked if Don would give a future workshop on
The day was a wonderful way to both sing and learn more about medieval music in
the company of a master. I enjoyed the day immensely. Thank you to those who
organised it especially Sarah Young who acted as administrator. Their planning, to
ensure a balance of voices, was successful; our group split equally into higher and
lower voices. I hope that suggestions for another day of medieval works, maybe of
Machaut, is organised for the future.
A CD of some of Don’s singing was available for purchase at a reduced price, as were
copies of his novel, “Time Will Tell” (about fifteenth century composers). What good
value the day was!
I was most impressed by Don’s workshop, and the participants have just received a
comprehensive PDF with information about all the music we sang and facsimiles of
some of the pieces. We’ll definitely invite him again, but if you missed this workshop
he’ll be repeating it for SEMF (no date available yet). Victoria
‘Time will tell’, Donald Greig, Thames River Press, London, 2012
Don Greig took a TVEMF workshop on medieval music in May and an account of this
event appears elsewhere in Tamesis. At this workshop Don informed us about his
recently published novel ‘Time will tell’ and I decided to buy a copy. The main
protagonists in the novel are a socially inept second-rate musicologist, Andrew Eiger,
and an English early music singing group Beyond Compère, directed by Emma
The novel opens with an extract from the memoirs of Geoffroy Chiron from 1524 that
Andrew Eiger is reading in 2015. The next chapter is set in February 1997 and we
follow the adventures of Andrew Eiger from Ohio and Beyond Compère from
Newcastle who, by chance, meet up on their way to a conference and concert in Tours
to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Ockeghem. Andrew has with him a copy
of a 15th century manuscript he found in the cathedral library at Amiens which he
believes to be a 34 part work by Ockeghem. He has kept his discovery a secret and is
hoping he can persuade Emma to perform it with her group. However before showing
her the manuscript he has to crack its notational code. The novel alternates between
the Chiron memoirs and the conference at Tours and at the end of the novel the link
between these threads is revealed.
The novel is beautifully constructed, well paced and highly entertaining. The stylish
narrative passes smoothly between farce and moments of poignancy and the reader is
kept guessing about the denouement. This is particularly a book written by a musician
for musicians, especially those interested in early music and as such should appeal to
all TVEMF members. It is available in hardback, paperback and as an electronic book
and I would highly recommend it.
A Musical Surprise
Jackie and I have enjoyed the cartoons from Studio Ghibli in Japan (we have two on
DVD) and we made sure that we recorded most of the output during Film 4’s recent
Studio Ghibli season. Our pleasure turned into astonishment about an hour into
‘Whisper of the Heart’.
Many of the films are pure fantasy, but others are securely set in modern Japan, some
still with some fantastic elements. The story of this one is ‘young schoolgirl meets
young schoolboy’, but it starts off badly with a misunderstanding. The scene where
she first meets him ‘properly’ takes place at the enigmatic antiques shop that she has
discovered with the help of cat she befriends on a train (fantasy breaking through!)
The shop is run by the boy’s grandfather, the boy invites her in and he takes her
round to the rear lower level entrance. Just inside, she sees several unfinished violin
bodies hanging from the ceiling beams. Leaning against the foot of the stairs as they
climb up into the shop is a 7 STRING BASS VIOL! (I spotted the frets, Jackie counted
the pegs). He excuses himself as he has to get on with something, she follows him
down after little while to find him carving a scroll for a violin he is making. He
explains that there is a violin-making class in the basement. His dream is to train in
He plays the violin (badly he says, but breaks easily into lots of double stopping!) and
she asks him to play something for her. She has already written some alternative
words to a well known American country song (oh alright - ‘Take me home/country
roads) for some school function so he plays some divisions for her to sing her words
against. Just when they are getting into the swing of this, the grandfather enters the
shop with two friends. They hear the music and come downstairs and join in, the
grandfather playing the BASS VIOL very convincingly with authentic fingering and
bowhold, and one friend playing a LUTE!, the other playing a tambourine then playing
a CORNETT!!! and then a BAROQUE RECORDER!!!!
How many broken consorts have you seen in international cartoons? The whole thing
was treated as matter of fact as if normal people get out early music instruments at
the drop of a hat. Would you believe it!!!
A Musical Study Visit to Venice
Okay: you are more caught up in performing than in listening, perhaps, or in visiting
‘musical’ sites. And this trip certainly won’t come cheap (though it will provide
excellent value for money). Nevertheless, any visit to Venice is bound to be thrilling –
and the opportunity to go behind the scenes of some of the locations with important
historical associations is surely not one to be missed. While actual arrangements are
currently being finalised, we hope to visit, among other places, the Pietà (not so much
the church, which postdates Vivaldi’s time slightly, but the orphanage itself), Teatro
La Fenice (for a guided tour), the Music Conservatory (where we also hope to hear a
student recital) – and both the Biblioteca Marciana and (potentially even more
interesting) the Fondazione Levi, which (among much else) abounds in original
Petrucci prints, the entire lute repertoire, 17th- and 18th-century operas, abundant
mediaeval and renaissance repertoire, and much of the music associated with the
Basilica di San Marco. And these places are just for starters; other ports of travel are
both obvious ones (San Marco, the Frari) and far less so (San Pietro di Castello, San
Nicolò al Lido – the church where the annual Sposalizio – the Ascensiontide ‘marriage’
of Venice to the sea – reached its climax).
For those readers with internet access, far fuller information awaits on the following
web sites: those of the Wilmslow Guild, Cheshire, who are organising the trip
(www.wilmslowguild.wikidot.com) and of Ffestiniog Travel (www.ffestiniogtravel.com),
our excellent travel company. I have the privilege of leading this tour: if you are even
remotely interested in joining us, please don’t hesitate to contact me at
mostlymusicbtinternet.com or, if not connected to the internet, telephone 01565
872650. We really would love to have you as a member of our party – and please
also inform other potentially-interested friends about it. We hope to hear from you
Tuesday 8 – Tuesday 15 October 2013
Roger Wilkes (President of NWEMF)
News of Members’ Activities
TVEMF member David Allinson has an exciting new job. From 1st September he will
be University Director of Music at Canterbury Christ Church University. He'll be
conducting their two choirs, lecturing (but only a little), managing the university's
public concert programme and building bridges with performing arts groups across
Canterbury. A particular attraction is their close relationship with the cathedral and its
choir - there's a BMus programme in cathedral music, and lots of concerts happen
within the cathedral. He'll be managing a lovely refurbished concert venue. It's a
new full-time, senior, permanent post, with some research time too, so can pursue
writing, editing and performing projects. You’ll be relieved to know that they've made
it clear that they expect him to continue some carefully-chosen freelance work, such
as workshops and summer schools, since he’s being employed as a practitioner. They
even hope that he might bring a summer school to their premises. David will be
moving to Canterbury and I’m sure everyone will be delighted that he has found a
post that sounds as if it was designed with him in mind.
As well as directing our singers’ workshop on Saturday 7th September on Franco-
Flemish Marian motets, David will be conducting De Profundis (Cambridge's all-male
early music vocal ensemble) on Saturday 28th September at Little St Mary's Church in
Cambridge. Music will be the Lobo Requiem a 8 and motets by Lobo, Cardoso and
Fernandez. Contact details for both of these are in the listings at the back.
Opportunities to Make Music
Philip Thorby tells me that he would like some more tenors and basses for the
Beauchamp House summer school for singers and renaissance instruments which runs
from 28th July to 3rd August. This is always a great course, combining as it does
wonderful music, really good food and the open air life (optional!). In it’s new venue
just a bit further west than before it will have the same brilliant catering team and you
can choose to camp or B&B. The topic this year is Michael Praetorius, Composer,
Arranger and Teacher. Philip will be assisted by David Hatcher with Clifford Bartlett
on continuo, and you can get more information from holidaycoursesgamusic.co.uk
(01452 522170) www.gamusic.co.uk.
TVEMF member Bruce Ramell is running a course at !"#$%&'()*+,-$./'00+1(%$(*+2-"3'.
#$B0G)'+HBD'%&'/*+I-3JG#$*+K<")*+Palestrina, Haydn, Mozart. Details from Elizabeth
Green liza44rosegooglemail.com (01747 811 966)
Another of our members, Norma Herdson, organises the Thames Baroque Workshops
at Bourne End Community Centre near Maidenhead. The next one is on Sunday,
October 27th and the music will be Vivaldi’s Gloria and Handel’s Ode for Queen Anne’s
Birthday, 1713. The orchestra (at 415 with gut strings preferably) will include
strings, 2 oboes, 2 trumpets, and continuo. There will be an SATB chorus and
opportunities to sing solos - soprano and alto in the Vivaldi and soprano, alto/high
tenor and bass in the Handel. Please contact nherdsonbtinternet.com
for an application form or phone her on 01628 621367.
I had a look at the City Lit web www.citylit.ac.uk site to find Helen Dymond’s course
on Handel and Susannah (Tuesday 13th August - see listings for contact details)
which I mentioned last time, and was amazed to see how many pages of music
courses they have. I used to go to Stephen Preston’s baroque chamber music classes
there. Has anyone any experience of good courses which are still running and which
might interest our members?
Morley college also has lots of short music courses during the summer including an
advanced harpsichord course Have a look at their web site for more details
The Southern Early Music Forum is organising a workshop for instruments and voices
to be led by Tim Bayley at St Swithun’s School, Winchester, on 5 October. The theme
will be music from the age of Richard III (d.1485) through to the 1520s. Repertoire to
be explored will include composers such as Isaac, Obrecht, Senfl, Finck and Stokem.
This event is being organised by TVEMF member Catherine Cruise and there is an
application form enclosed with this Tamesis. Please contact her if you would like any
further information catherinecruisebtinternet.com.
Isleworth Baroque invites players of violin and viol, plucked strings, recorders, oboes
and trumpets to a study day on Saturday 14th September for Monteverdi's 'Orfeo', as
a preliminary to our annual opera season in November. Interested strings please
contact Chris Hobson c.hobsontiscali.co.uk (0208 948 0791); woodwind and brass
players please contact Mary Stallebrass mcstall.msgooglemail.com (0208 761
The study day will be held in Isleworth (west London) at St. Francis of Assisi church,
Great West Road TW7 5HG. Fee £30. Free parking in the surrounding streets. By
public transport: Osterley station on the Piccadilly line (10 mins walk), bus routes H91
(stops outside the church door), 237, 235, 110 (all 5 mins walk).
There will be separate tutors for upper strings, continuo strings + recorders, and
Come along to the Study Day and decide whether you would like to take part in the
For sale. Ceske baroque violin by Rudolph Fiedler, made in 2001, complete with new
strings. Two bows by Walter Mettal and hard case. £800. Contact Jane Edwards.
Phone 0208423 1185. duncancjonesyahoo.co.uk
Beautiful baroque/classical violin for sale. £4995 ono. Made in the classical era, set
up for baroque style. Please contact Erica McCarthy for more information. 07577
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