Our first date for the autumn is a lunchtime concert as 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 provides the inspiration for our programme. The concert will feature 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 will play 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 7.30pm
We are delighted to have been invited to give a concert in Herstmonceux that ties 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 will feature a wide variety of sacred and secular vocal and instrumental works, and, as always, we will be explaining the nature of the music, describing our instruments, and endeavouring to illuminate the contexts in which both would have been used in the past. It’s an ideal opportunity to combine a fascinating day of re-enactment, entertainment and spectacle with an evening focussing on the authentic sounds of the period.
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.
December 12th 7.30pm
Following our concert earlier this year in the atmospheric surroundings of All Saints’ church in Herstmonceux, we are delighted that the Rector and churchwardens have invited us back to give a Christmas concert on 12 December. The programme will include merry carols, rousing dances, and some more reflective works. Many of them will be tunes you might recognise, but hadn’t realised were originally that old. There will be suitably festive refreshments to enjoy in the interval, and if you’re still looking for interesting Christmas gift ideas you could also buy a copy of our CD, Douce Dame Jolie!
We are very pleased to have been invited to present the opening concert of the 2015 Hailsham Arts Festival on September 12th at 12.00pm in Hailsham Parish Church. The festival has been running for some years now and contains a wide range of events spanning a multiplicity of disciplines within the arts. A particular feature is its spotlight on the many cultural activities within the local community, and as Faronel is based in East Sussex not far from Hailsham we are ourselves part of that diverse local arts scene! We shall be presenting a programme of lighter music from the medieval and renaissance periods featuring the wide diversity of instruments that we play (about twenty at the last count!) and some vocal works too. More details of the festival may be found at www.hailshamartsfestival.co.uk.
Saturday 29 August 7.30pm, St George’s Church, Wrotham, Kent
Our next concert focuses on music for pilgrimages, and appropriately enough we will be presenting it in a church that stands on the ancient Pilgrims Way to Canterbury in Kent, along which Geoffrey Chaucer travelled in the late 1300s. The first half will feature 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 will play are mentioned in Chaucer’s works – organ, harpe, fidel, ribible (rebec), cornamuse and shalmeys (bagpipes and shawm), pype (recorder) and nakers (drum).
The second half will concentrate on music associated with pilgrimages to the tomb of St James at Santiago de Compostela in Spain; the repertoire will include works from the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat and the Codex Calextinus as well as music from trecento Italy. See http://www.wrothammusicfestival.com for more details.
If you can’t make it to Wrotham you’ll have another chance to hear the programme at the the pilgrim church of St Mary de Haura, Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex in the spring – more details soon!
Our Music and Murals concert in the picturesque setting of West Somerton church in Norfolk was geared towards celebrating the restoration of the church and its magnificent murals with music appropriate to the various periods of the building’s construction. From the 13th century, when the church was first constructed, we played some early dances and English songs; from the 14th century, when the murals were painted, we included music by Machaut, Landini, the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat and some French Ballades.
Our thanks go to the Rev. Selwyn Tillett and his parishioners who made us so welcome during our visit.
We are hugely looking forward to our next concert in Norfolk which is inspired by the magnificent newly-restored wall paintings at West Somerton church. The programme will include 14th century repertoire contemporary with the paintings, including works by Machaut, Landini and Vaillant and music from the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat as sung by pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostella.