Rorate coeli! …and AGM

Since singing is so good a thing I wish all men would learn to sing.

William Byrd, 1588

William Byrd’s music for Advent in the Gradualia I (1605)

An illustrated talk by Dr. David Allinson
10am GMT, Saturday 28th November via Zoom
Followed at 11.45am by the NWEMF AGM

In a year like no other, NWEMF marks the start of Advent with this live online talk by David Allinson. For this seasonal talk David will look at Byrd’s motets for Advent: Rorate caeli, Tollite portas, Ave Maria and Ecce Virgo concipiet. Scores will be sent round electronically in advance, and participants are encouraged to mark up the music as David explores their texts, structure and expressive power. Although it won’t be possible to sing together, you will be able to sing along, muted, when the music is played. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions.


Members of NWEMF can attend for free. For all others there is a contribution of £5. Booking is by emailing David Allen. Please indicate if you are a member of NWEMF and if possible pay by bank transfer using these details:

  • Sort code 09-01-56
  • Account number 79658106

For all the details, please see the event flier.

[Zoom Talk] For the honour of City and Court

We are invited to join our sister organisation MEMF for this talk by Bill Lyons on Zoom, entitled For the Honour of City & Court – the role of wind and brass players in Renaissance Europe on Saturday 22nd August 1100-1200.

This talk will discuss the various and varied roles of wind and brass players in civic and court bands in the 16th and 17th centuries. The splendid sight and sound of shawms, sackbuts, cornetts, trumpets and other wind instruments was considered an essential element in demonstrating wealth and status and Bill will examine the instruments and repertoire of the official bands in European cities and courts, playing examples and demonstrating his own specialised instruments: recorders, flutes, shawms, dulcians, crumhorns and the rackett.

Bill is the Director of the City Musick and the Dufay Collective and is a regular performer with other early music groups. He can be heard on numerous film soundtracks and has composed and arranged music for film and TV, including the original music for the film The Favourite. He has a long association with the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre as a composer, performer, Musical Director and Historical Music Adviser. Book on the MEMF website.

Bachfest Leipzig: LiveStream

We have received information about some online content that may be of interest to members. BachFest Leipzig contains details of several of the concerts that would have been taking place to packed audiences.  The organisers have managed to find a way to make those performances available on a variety of platforms.

You can find the complete program here: Enjoy the trailer here:



  • 13 June, 2.30 pm
    Opening concert – Thomanerchor led by Thomaskantor Gotthold Schwarz
  • 13, 14, 20, 21 June, 4.00 pm
    Warm-Up with Bach Chorales – Calmus Ensemble, amarcord, Ensemble Nobiles, Sjaella
  • 14 June, 8.30 pm
    Johannes-Passion à trois 2.0 – extended version: with embedded videos by more than 200 singers from all over the world. Concept and production of the video: MDR KLASSIK
  • 20 June, 9.00 pm
    At Bach’s Home – with Klaus Mertens and Ton Koopman
  • 21 June, 8.00 pm
    The sing-along-version of the Mass in B minor – with Aelbgut and Camerata Lipsiensis

February Newsletter

The newsletter for February 2020 has been added to the members page.

This is just in time to act as a prompt to register for the workshop with Graham O’Reilly on 15th February.  [All members should already have had a prompt, whether by e-mail or by ‘phone. If not, please update your details with the Membership Secretary.]

Machaut revisited; NEEMF Renaissance Winds

Those of you who were disappointed that Lizzie Gutteridge’s workshop, “Machaut and the Magic of the Medieval,” had to be cancelled may be interested to know that she will be running the same workshop for our sister organisation NEEMF, the NorthEast Early Music Forum. A booking form for this workshop will accompany the next newsletter.

NEEMF have also let us know about a workshop for loud and soft Renaissance wind instruments to be led by Tim Bayley.  ‘Music for an Archduke’ will take place on Saturday 25th Jan 2020, so there really is no time to lose if you want to book a place.  Download the booking form for this workshop.  The workshop will be held at:

Clements Hall,
Nunthorpe Road,
York YO23 1BW

The Regensburg manuscript was compiled in the 1580s for Archduke Karl 11 of Inner Austria at Graz, by court musician Nicholas Rekh. The royal trumpeters had access to a wide range of wind and brass instruments owned by the court, including sackbuts, cornets, shawms, crumhorns, dulcians, and Rekh produced part books of religious music by many leading composers of the time, (Lassus, Striggio, Andrea Gabrieli, Wert, as well as several lesser known musicians) giving precise instrumentation.

The workshop will explore some of the larger scale works in eight and ten parts, creating a variety of contrasting bands of loud and soft wind and brass. Suitable for sackbuts, cornets, curtals, windcaps and recorders. Pitch A 440

Tim BayleyTim Bayley has played early wind instruments, hurdy gurdy and harp for many years and was a founder member of the York Waits with whom he has performed since 1977. Tim regularly leads instrumental workshops for the early music forums around the country, and coaches on the week long residential Chalemie course in Oxford. He works as a wind tutor in the York area, conducting a variety of ensembles on a weekly basis as well as holiday youth orchestras with up to fifty players.