EditorialThere are a lot of contributions this month (many thanks) and more advertisements than usual, so only a short editorial this time. We have decided to postpone the idea of having a medieval day on 22nd October because, by an extraordinary coincidence, a medieval workshop is being held in Cirencester on the same day. A new date for the medieval day will be found next year. It looks as if there won’t be a TVEMF stand at the Greenwich Early Music Exhibition this year. Nobody volunteered to do any organisation except me! I think this is a great pity, and if you agree I’d like to hear from you. Officially it’s too late to book a stand now, but in practice this may not be so. I am quite happy to take charge of the last day (Sunday) and bring our stuff home in the car, though I’d like to think that other people would help to man the stand on the day. We would need two other people, one each for Friday and Saturday, to be in charge on those days. That really just means organising the volunteers and making sure there is always someone there. Someone would also need to set up the stand either on Thursday or possibly early on Friday. This involves taking the leaflets and putting up the photographs etc. If you would like to help please get in touch, preferably by email (address on the front cover). Greenwich is in our area, so it doesn’t seem right that we shouldn’t be represented there.
Letter to editor
Ena PickEna Pick, who died recently after a long illness, was a TVEMF member in its early days and known to some of you through her activities such as the courses she organised with the late Bill Gregson for voices, viols and recorders. I first met Ena at the West Dean course for musical instrument making, which she attended for many years. She made a variety of things such as a rauschpfiefe, a rackett, a xylophone and percussion instruments, some of which were used by pupils at the school where she taught. A little after our meeting in the mid 1980s, Ena joined the newly formed South Hill Park Early Music Group where she played crumhorn and recorder with great enthusiasm and musicality. Ena helped to form the Wessex branch of the Society of Recorder Players and was its Secretary for many years. She also sang with the Basingstoke Choral Society and after retiring to Winchester was Chairman of the Winchester Festival Chorus. For a while she was a member of the Wokingham recorder group and was the easiest of people with whom to make music - you gave her a part and she played it well, with no fuss, on whatever instrument it required. Theo Wyatt used to run self-catering courses at Benslow over Easter week - Ena and her husband Ron would arrive with vast supplies of food which were prepared by the participants under Ron's supervision and cooked by him whilst we played. Sadly, Theo no longer runs courses and Ena is no longer here - we shall miss her calm good humour, and offer our sincerest sympathy to her family and especially to Ron with whom she spent so many happy years.
David FletcherLong-standing members will also remember the excellent meal which Ena and Ron produced for a TVEMF banquet in Amersham, probably about ten years ago. Ed.
NORVISNORVIS (Northumberland Recorder and Viol Summer School), at the University College of St. Hild and St. Bede in Durham, held its 35th annual session this summer. Its long life, mainly under the direction of Layton and Christine Ring, has allowed it to evolve a very attractive pattern. It continues to be an excellent course, chiefly for the variety of its programme, the excellence and enthusiasm of its tutors and also for the tutor to student ratio. This year there were 84 students and 14 tutors. As a result the classes on technique, which form the first period of the day, are small and valuable. There is time for individual problems to be sorted out. The technique classes cover not only recorders and viols at various levels, but also harpsichord, baroque strings, lute, and solo singing. The second morning session, after coffee, is devoted to consort playing, including trio sonatas and a renaissance group. This is also supervised by tutors who rotate between the different groups during the week and offer different views of the music. Meals, coffee and tea are taken in the college canteen, which is of a good standard, offering salads as well as hot dishes at lunch time, and vegetarian options at the main meals. The early afternoon is free, except for those who wish to take part in the baroque orchestra or choir which both rehearse at this time. The city of Durham is 15 to 20 minutes walk away along the banks of the river Wear, so many combine a visit to the famous cathedral or castle with shopping for those items they have forgotten to pack! After tea comes one of the main attractions of the course, the "Choice of Delights". Numerous activities are on offer including beginner classes on instruments which one has not tried before, madrigals, lute song, court dancing, renaissance band (instruments provided), playing divisions, playing from facsimile or figured bass, and this year, producing CDs, jazz recorder and juggling! These delights vary year by year as tutors are persuaded to reveal their hidden talents! One afternoon in midweek is completely free and one has the opportunity to visit the many attractions of the region which include several museums in Durham, and the Bowes, Beamish Open Air and Thomas Bewick museums outside the city, the Roman Wall, Weardale and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and Baltic Arts centre, to name but a few! After dinner there is always something organised. This year the tutors' concert was divided into two halves, one half being followed by a session of rounds and catches and the other by Renaissance Dance. This was a good move because concerts tend to go on too long and the pews in the chapel are uncomfortable. It also involved the students actively in part of the evening. The students’ concert was similarly divided. In previous years the tutors have given lectures at this time. On one evening a ceilidh is offered, accompanied by a local band and preceded by a talk on the Northumbrian pipes or the accordion by an expert performing entirely from memory, who also directs the ceilidh. This is very popular. The final evening features the orchestra and choir performing what they have been studying. This includes a combined work, often a Bach cantata. It is followed by a lengthy session in the bar with more relaxed and modern music, mainly by tutors. The final attraction of the course is the people. Students get on very well together and the tutors are popular. About three quarters of the course come back year after year. They include several from other countries, mainly European and this year two from Israel, and four from TVEMF.
Making medieval music
News and workshops by the Renaissance Singers