St John the Baptist, Clayton, West Sussex, 7.30pm, 22 June 2019 Tickets £10, available on the door
We’re looking forward to our visit to the beautiful church of St John the Baptist in Clayton, West Sussex on 22 June 2019. We performed there in 2017 when we presented a programme exploring the beautiful wall paintings. This year we will be exploring the 14th and 15th centuries in the first half of the concert and then looking at music from the last two Tudor courts in the second half.
We are including some intriguing English songs from the 14th
century and a selection of pieces from the Libre vermell, a famous collection
of music for pilgrimage
As usual we will be playing instruments that are appropriate
to the music of each period, including harp, psaltery, bagpipes, symphonie, rebec,
medieval fiddle, recorders, crumhorns and racketts.
On March 1st we took part in a Medieval Day held at Saint Ronan’s School in Hawkhurst, Kent, where David is Director of Music. The children participated in workshops in music, history, English and much else throughout the day, and we also contributed a medieval dimension to the Friday evening chapel service in conjunction with the chapel choir. The revels rounded off with a medieval banquet at which we provided a musical backdrop to the feasting, drinking and good companye!
As an example of what can be achieved in a school workshop, here is a group of 10 and 11 year olds who learned to play Les Bouffons in their session. Not bad for 30 minutes’ work!
Although we don’t wear period fancy dress for concerts, we made an exception for the banquet, and were delighted to welcome Debbie Katis, Saint Ronan’s music administrator, to boost the percussion!
We were delighted to have been invited back to St Matthew’s Church, Redhill to perform in their lunchtime concert series in February. Our programme featured music from the Tudor period, including works by Henry VIII himself and composers associated with the Tudor court such as Cornysh, Holborne and Gibbons. We also included several pieces that reflect David’s recent research in re-assessing late sixteenth-century keyboard manuscripts as sources of consort works, including pieces derived from the Mulliner Book and from GB-Lbl. Royal. App. 58, a source dating from the 1520s.
Bridge Cottage in Uckfield is a wealden hall house built in around 1436; it has recently been restored as a venue for community events and a popular concert series. Our concert took place in the hall chamber and featured the type of repertoire from the 14th to 16th centuries that itinerant musicians would have performed in domestic spaces such as this.
The concert was given as part of the Uckfield Festival and was screened live via a videolink in another space due to demand: one wonders what the 15th century residents of Bridge Cottage would have thought of it all!
St John the Baptist, Clayton, West Sussex, 2.30pm, 29 April 2018
Clayton church has a magnificent set of wall paintings created by the monks of Lewes Priory in the 12th century. They are the finest of a series of similar paintings in several churches in the area. The most impressive feature is the Doom painting over the chancel arch, depicting the Day of Judgement in all its gory detail.
Our concert began with music inspired by the paintings, including a number of English works from the medieval period featuring voices, rebecs, harp and psaltery, and in the second half featured renaissance music for various types of wind consort, including recorders, shawms, crumhorns, curtal, rackett, and cornamusen.
St Matthew’s Church, Redhill, Surrey, 1st September 2016 1.10pm
This lunchtime concert formed part of the well-established series at St Matthew’s church, Redhill. The town stands just to the south of the ancient Pilgrims Way to Canterbury in Kent, along which Geoffrey Chaucer travelled in the late 1300s, which provided the inspiration for our programme. The concert featured music from Chaucer’s time, including examples of rondeaux, virelais and ballades, and songs and dances from fourteenth century England and France. All of the instruments we played are mentioned in Chaucer’s works – organ, harpe, fidel, ribible (rebec), cornamuse and shalmeys (bagpipes and shawm), pype (recorder) and nakers (drum).
All Saints Church Herstmonceux, 27 August 2016 7.30pm
We were delighted to be invited to give a concert in Herstmonceux that tied in with the 24th annual medieval festival at Herstmonceux Castle, which is the largest event of its kind in the UK:(www.englandsmedievalfestival.com).
Our programme featured a wide variety of sacred and secular vocal and instrumental works, and, as always, we explained the nature of the music, described our instruments, and endeavoured to illuminate the contexts in which both would have been used in the past. A very curious audience, many of whom had enjoyed a day at the castle, were full of interesting questions!
Mayfield Convent Chapel, Sunday 1 – Monday 2 May 2016
Our concert for the Mayfield Festival was possibly the oddest gig we have been asked to do (although whether it was as odd as playing the theme for “Upstairs Downstairs” on crumhorns for Radio 4 is debatable): to celebrate the centenary of the death of the eccentric French composer Erik Satie, the festival staged a marathon 24 hour performance of his mesmerising atonal work entitled Vexations; instead of using the usual piano, they engaged a variety of ensembles to play it, including a brass band, a rap artist and a jazz singer. Faronel provided a medieval and renaissance dimension to the proceedings, although finding instruments that could play all 12 semitones reliably was quite vexatious! Apart from that, though, it was pretty familiar territory: no tempo markings, no dynamics, no performance instructions – just like medieval music!
On April 2nd we took part in an unusual joint concert with the Sussex Waits and a group of visiting early musicians from the Conservatoire Camille Saint-Saens de Dieppe. All three ensembles performed works from their own repertoire, Faronel and the Sussex Waits collaborated in some loud wind consorts, and the concert finished with the combined Anglo-Gallic forces altogether. Magnifique!
Walthamstow Hall School, Sevenoaks, Kent Thursday 21 January 6.30pm
Santa Maria del Miracoli, Venice, Sunday 14 February 4.00pm
Basilica SS Giovanni e San Paolo, Venice, Monday 15 February 4.00pm
In January we gave a whistle-stop tour of music from the British Isles dating from the 12th to the 16th centuries as the culmination of an afternoon of workshops we undertook with the pupils of Walthamstow Hall School in Sevenoaks. During the session we studied some consort pieces from the late 1500s, including some of the charming five-part dances by Anthony Holborne.
In February David and Ruth accompanied the Walthamstow Hall girls to Venice where they gave concerts in the churches of Santa Maria del Miracoli and San Giovanni and San Paolo. The sound of the wind consort repertoire reverberating around the darkened interior of San Giovanni and San Paolo was spine tingling indeed.