Sat 13 Jan 2018

Tomás Luis de Victoria
Officium Defunctorum - Requiem Mass 1605
A choral day led by John Dunford
Saturday 13th January, 2018

This workshop is designed for singers who want to participate in learning and performing an extraordinary choral work. Even sober writers and critical reviewers have admitted to its special expressive power among all the examples of renaissance polyphony. Published in 1605, a mere five years before Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, it seems, especially with the benefit of hindsight, to be one of the great high-points of a revered liturgical form. The first four-part Lesson is followed by the Latin requiem mass and most of its sections are scored for six separate voice-parts (SSATTB), interspersed with plainsong chants. There are no weak lines in this music; each voice-part is strongly autonomous and yet everything coheres. SATB voices will all be welcome.

John Dunford is both singer (mainly tenor), teacher and conductor. He leads the Ripon and Wetherby Choral Societies by rehearsing them and by conducting and taking solo parts in their concerts. He has a deep background in religious and choral music, and shows how to sing a line by singing it, S,A,T or B. He is a very positive and encouraging presence on come-and-sing days.

Download application form.

Sat 10 Feb 2018

Bach workshop at A=415 Hz

led by Prof. Eric Cross of Newcastle University

St Paul's Church, Whitley Bay

We shall be rehearsing and performing Bach cantatas including Schmuke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 180 and the motet Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf, BWV 226. If we can find two oboists with 415 instruments, then we can add BWV 8, a cantata with rich opportunities for full-chorus work, Liebster Gott, wenn werd ich sterben? This may be scored for full voices and instruments, but it is also dancing Bach, light and uplifting despite the title’s question about death.

In January 2016 a Neemf survey revealed that there were about thirty members wishing to play string and woodwind instruments at 415 at a workshop, so this is a good opportunity for those good folk to enjoy a challenging encounter with Bach on top form, they and friends who would like to join us. Singers (SATB in as full a sound as we can muster) and instrumentalists will be welcomed to this event, and in particular players of a keyboard, a bassoon, oboes, strings, recorders/flutes and even a trumpet or two.

This is a particularly good opportunity for solo singers, and perhaps especially for music degree students of singing, who shall sing what can be well arranged in advance.

Our leader will be Eric Cross, Dean of Cultural Affairs and Professor of Music and Culture at Newcastle University. He has conducted the Newcastle upon Tyne Bach Choir since 1984 and directed Cappella Novocastriensis for over 30 years. Much of his research has been on Vivaldi operas, and he has edited a number of works for performances and recordings around the world, as well as conducting the British premieres of two Vivaldi operas as part of the Newcastle Early Music Festival. Recently he was the guest on BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week on Vivaldi.

Download application form.

Sat 17 Mar 2018

Fifteenth-Century Music & Dance

with Gaita

Friends Meeting House, Skinnergate, Darlington DL2 7NB.

For instrumentalists and dancers, this will be a day of dance and dance music from the 15th century, when dancers will be encouraged to understand the music, and musicians to understand the dances. The workshop will be led by musician Chris Elmes and dance instructor Cait Webb of the medieval ensemble Gaita, and will draw on Italian and English sources. The earliest manuscripts that provide both music and steps for named dances date from the fifteenth century; while these offer a wealth of material they also leave many questions open, including the challenges (for dancers and musicians alike) of their frequent alterations of tempo, and how best to arrange the tunes they contain for a satisfying musical and dance performance.

Chris and Cait will encourage (but not require!) all musicians to attempt some of the dances, which will range from those suitable for complete beginners to some examples of the more sophisticated bassadanza and balli. Dancers (if they do not also play an instrument) will be encouraged to absorb the information about tempo and performance to appreciate the musical challenges. Our hope is that the participants will appreciate that dance and music is a truly joint endeavour to create a whole performance.

The music has potential for performance on a wide range of instruments, included bowed (viols, fiddles), plucked (lute, harp, etc.) and wind (recorders, shawms etc.) but as the focus will be on understanding the music, bringing an instrument you are comfortable playing is more important than one that is strictly of the period. For dance, all that is needed is some flat and comfortable shoes, and all abilities are welcome. Download application form.

Sat 14 Apr 2018

NEEMF Northern performing day out

at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

This is a day when groups of musicians and singers play for the public in the wonderful setting of the Bowes Museum in galleries near to the famous Silver Swan. Details from Alice Brunton.

Sun 29 Apr 2018

NEEMF annual 'day out' at Temple Newsam, Leeds

A day for all of us to enjoy a variety of performances by NEEMF members and friends throughout the day in this magnificent house. Details from Alan Radford,