Medieval Music for England’s Medieval Festival

All Saints Church Herstmonceux, 27 August 2016 7.30pm

Hcx Medieval jpegWe 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:(

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!

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Vexations in Mayfield!

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 mesmeriErik-Satiesing 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!

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Anglo-French collaboration in Framfield


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!

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500 Years of British Music in Sevenoaks… and Venice!

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

Walthamstow Hall Poster

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.Venice

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Welcome Yule at Herstmonceux!

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!Hcx Xmas2

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Faronel at the Hailsham Festival of Arts and Culture

FullSizeRender(1)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

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Music for Pilgrimages on the Pilgrims Way

Saturday 29 August 7.30pm, St George’s Church, Wrotham, Kent

Wrotham1Our 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 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!

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Musicians and Murals!

Faronel and mural2Our 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.

Faronel processionWe finished the concert with English music of the early 15th century contemporary with the beautiful chancel.

Our thanks go to the Rev. Selwyn Tillett and his parishioners who made us so welcome during our visit.

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Music and Murals in Norfolk


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.
West Somerton v3

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Concert in Herstmonceux

Pastyme with Good Companye

EarlyHerstmonceux concert April 2015 Music in All Saints, Herstmonceux: Saturday 25 April 7.30

Faronel will be giving a concert at All Saints’ Church on 25 April. Faronel consists of a trio of musicians who aim to demystify this fascinating area of repertoire with entertaining and informative explanations about the music and its instruments, many of which are rarely heard today. All Saints’ will ring to the sound of crumhorns, bagpipes, rebecs, harp and much else in a programme which will begin with medieval music from France, England and Italy, and move on to focus on works from the court of Henry VIII, including some pieces by Good King Hal himself.

Among the medieval works to be performed will be many which are as old as the church itself, such as the Hymn to St Nicholas by St Godric (the earliest surviving song in English), the 12th Century Hymn of St Magnus from the Orkneys, and the world’s oldest piece of keyboard music from a 14th century manuscript discovered just a few miles away in Robertsbridge. The second half will include love songs by Henry VIII, ceremonial music from the Tudor court and sacred works by some of the foreign musicians who were attracted to England by the generous artistic patronage of the monarch.

Tickets £8 on the door, free for under 18s.


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