More workshop details

There are details and application forms for our day workshops in April and May on the workshops page

Deborah Roberts writes about Missa Confitebor Tibi. :-

 Enjoy a day exploring Palestrina’s  brilliant double-choir Missa Confitebor tibi. Although this mass was copied into one of the papal choir’s manuscripts in around 1577, it was originally dedicated to a Florentine convent. Like so many of Palestrina’s masses, the relatively small overall compass made it a perfect candidate for performance by all female or all male choirs – with transposition down a 4th or 5th bringing it into the range of adult male voices. It’s important to remember that the papal choirs did not include boys’ voices.
What has been largely forgotten until recent times is the huge importance of convent music in 16th century Italy. With so many women destined to become nuns, and priority in the form of reduced dowries given to musically talented girls, it is small wonder that convent choirs contained some of the best musicians in Italy. They not only sang, but in several convents also played a variety of instruments. Thus they could tackle a huge range of music, and not only that composed for equal voices.
We have become so accustomed to hearing sacred polyphony sung a cappella, that we have lost sight of the fact that the format in which music was copied or published indicated only one way of performing it.
This workshop will revive a sound that would have been very familiar to anyone living in or visiting a renaissance Italian city. The nuns would not be visible, but their music poured out through grills and screens from their own private cloistered chapel into the public church beyond. And anyone could listen to them. Not so for any of the great ducal chapel choirs, or the choir of the Sistine Chapel. That was for the few!

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