Medieval & Renaissance Workshop
June 27 – July 3, 2010
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Twenty Minute Dance and Movement Warm-up for All — Anna Mansbridge
Anna will give us a great start to our day with BrainDance!
This series of exercises will take us through eight fundamental
movement patterns that will energize our bodies and minds, gearing
us up for a stimulating day of music making. Some easy dances from
Arbeau will be taught, such as branles and the pavan, as well as some
almans from The Old Measures. Accompanied by live musicians, these
sessions will provide opportunities for participants to experience
music through movement. Absolutely no experience required. If you can
walk you can take part.
Period A: Technique/Ensemble/Master Classes
A 1. Intermediate Recorder Technique — Annette Bauer
In the recorder consort setting of the morning class, we will review and
refine the basics of recorder technique (breath, tone, posture,
finger dexterity) and work on ensemble and interpretation skills
(articulation, dynamics) through SATB dance repertoire: pieces
will be drawn from (among other works) Susato's "Danserye" (1551),
a publication of four-part dances based on popular chansons. Tylman
Susato was a music publisher, composer, and instrumentalist active
in the southern Netherlands in the mid-16th century.
A 2. Advanced Recorder Technique — Adam Gilbert
Techniques of Playing and Improvising in Music from 1400-1700
This class will teach recorder technique by introducing the range
of techniques, devices, and motivic and harmonic patterns that
Renaissance musicians used every day. Although it is not a class
in improvisation, the devices formed the basis of Renaissance
performance, improvisation and compositional techniques. Just as
artists learned the building blocks of visual composition (ears,
eyes, noses, hands and feet) so we will learn the underlying tricks
of the Renaissance technical trade.
A 3. Intermediate Viol Technique — Julie Jeffrey
The class will present basic warm-up and technique-building
exercises designed to address common
technical challenges. In addition, daily trouble-shooting
sessions will focus on specific technical questions and problems
that students are encouraged to bring to class.
A 4. Advanced Viol Technique — Margriet Tindemans
After an initial period of technical warm-up, this class will
celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birthday of Diego Ortiz,
who wrote the most important treatise on improvisation for viols
and other instruments of the 16th century. We will use his invaluable
advice to learn how to make up our own dances based on his chord patterns.
A 5. Vocal Technique — Eric Mentzel
Master Class for Singers and Ensembles
After an initial period of work on vocal technique, this class
will be an opportunity for workshop participants to receive coaching
on pieces they have previously prepared. This master class can
accommodate polished performances or works in progress, soloists
A 6. Vocal Technique — Karen Clark
Medieval and Renaissance Literature
This class will focus on optimal vocal technique in the medieval
and Renaissance literature. Vocal freedom, colors, vibrato and
nonvibrato exercises will be explored in a range of medieval and
Renaissance sacred and secular music. Music to be sung in this
class may include compositions by Hildegard von Bingen,
Guillaume de Machaut, Josquin des Prez, and maybe even Monteverdi!
In addition to your daily vocal warm-up, specific exercises for
developing technical skill will be presented.
A 7. Double-Reed Technique — Bob Wiemken
Living with, Playing, Making, and Adjusting
This class will take an in-depth look at all the issues surrounding
successful and enjoyable playing of Renaissance open double-reed
instruments, including embouchure formation, breath support and
control, airflow, resonance, articulation, intonation-all the
technical skills required of the player. In addition, we'll discuss
the issues around the construction, adjustment and the day-to-day
care of the reeds themselves. We'll evaluate current setups and
attempt to correct problems that might be impeding successful
performance. Daily technical exercises will awaken the body to
function properly and prepare us for the rest of the day's playing
opportunities. For intermediate to advanced players of shawms,
dulcians and other open double-reed instruments.
A 8. Sackbut Technique — Tom Zajac
In this class we will acquire a repertory of individual warm-up
as well as ensemble exercises to develop fluency between registers,
increase pitch accuracy, and cultivate a beautiful singing tone that
we can then apply to ensemble music specially arranged for our instrument.
A 9. The Roots of Basso Continuo for Plucked Strings — Grant Herreid
The practice of accompanying singers and instrumentalists with lutes,
harps and keyboards, so called continuo playing, didn't appear suddenly
full-blown in the year 1600. It developed gradually in Spain and Italy
during the 16th century as vertical harmony began to distinguish itself
from traditional contrapuntal writing. In this class we will undertake
a practical study of basso continuo at the time of its advent in the
late-16th and early-17th centuries, starting with the basics and
moving to the realization of advanced rhetorical expression.
A 10. Renaissance Violin Technique and Repertory — David Douglass
We will work on early violin technical skills, such as playing on
the arm and improvising dance music. We will also play 16th-century
music from the Parisian court of Charles IX, including dance music
that can make use of our improvisational skills. Viola players are
A 11. Renaissance Dance — Anna Mansbridge
This invigorating and inspiring class will begin with an in-depth
warm-up drawing on various somatic practices (such as Yoga and
Bartenieff Fundamentals) for full integration of the mind and the body.
Renaissance steps will be taught, with an emphasis on the posture,
style, and expression of the body according to the aesthetics of
late 16th-century Europe. Some of the beautiful dances from the
treatises of Fabritio Caroso and Cesare Negri will be taught.
Period B: All-Workshop Collegium for Singers and Instrumentalists
Although they were overshadowed by his operas, madrigals and sacred works,
Monteverdi wrote a number of incidental balli or balletti, light
theatrical presentations that merged music, poetry, and dance.
Tirsi and Clori, written in 1616 for the court of Mantua, is one of
the few of Monteverdi's balli to have survived. It's light on plot
(Tirsi asks Clori if she would like to dance. Clori says yes!),
but rich in tuneful melodies, infectious rhythms, and sweetly
pastoral texts. We will prepare, and perform on Saturday morning,
a selection of numbers from this delightful piece. The music for the
class will be presented with the complete score and parts bound in
one keepsake booklet.
Periods C and D: Mixed Ensembles and Special Topics Classes
C 1. Masques and Musical Entertainment at the English court ca 1500-1550 — Annette Bauer
Music from the Henry VIII Manuscript
Henry VIII (1491-1547), King of England, was known not only for his
successive wives (and their cruel fates) and his resulting clashes
with and separation from the Catholic church but also as a music lover,
ardent instrument collector, and patron. He brought many fine musicians
from all over Europe to his court chapel, importing and cultivating the
latest forms of entertainment from the continent. One chronicler
describes the following event in 1513: 'On the daie of the Epiphanie
at night, the kyng with a. xi. other were disguised, after the maner
of Italie, called a maske, a thyng not seen afore in Englande . . . '
Henry even made a name for himself as musician, composer, and poet.
The bulk of his compositions are collected in the Henry VIII Songbook,
a source of English and continental polyphonic music from the early
16th century, reflecting the music popular at Henry's court. Open to all.
C 2. The Frottola: The Renaissance Song and Dance — David Douglass
Essentially party music for the Italian nobility, the immensely
popular frottola was a strong influence on other European vocal
repertories, as well as later Italian styles. We will explore the
works of the most famous composers of frottole: Marchetto Cara,
Bartolomeo Tromboncino, and Josquin Des Prez. Open to all.
C 3. The Lauda in Medieval Florence — Eric Mentzel
No civic or religious feast in medieval Florence was complete without
a procession, and no procession was complete without the participation
of the laudesi, members of religious confraternities dedicated to
praising God and the saints through vernacular songs called laude.
Like modern church choirs, lauda companies rehearsed weekly and
included both men and women, and like much church music today, the
lauda was highly responsive to the latest musical trends, even
going so far as to provide well-known secular pieces with sacred
Italian texts. The lauda was ubiquitous in northern Italy for over
300 years, so we will have the opportunity to work in a variety of
styles, from hymn-like monophonic laude ca. 1200, to sophisticated
three- and four-voice pieces by the likes of Josquin. Open to all.
C 4. Five Hundred Years Ago — Margriet Tindemans
A number of composers are thought to have started life in 1510, or
close to it: Clemens non Papa, Diego Ortiz, Vincenzo Ruffo, Andrea
Gabrieli, and Giovanni da Nola. We will look at their various
compositions. For voices and viols.
C 5. Theater Project — Anna Mansbridge and Grant Herreid
Masque of the Four Elements
Drawing from the musical treasures of the Renaissance and early 17th
century, this masque will express in music, dance, and song the stories,
myths, and other texts inspired by the four elements: earth, air,
fire, and water. With Italian carnival songs, frottole, and balli,
French airs de cour, English lute songs, pavins, measures, and
galliards, we will bring to life the deities of these four elements
and show their effect on the poor mortals under their sway.
Open to all: instrumentalists, solo singers, choral singers, and dancers.
Principals and dancers will take the class for both afternoon periods,
instrumentalists and ensemble singers for late afternoon only.
Those who are interested in one of the singing roles please contact
Grant Herreid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
C 6. Hands-on Leather Mask Making — Jennifer Davis
Explore the process of making leather masks from the beginning to a
beautiful, finished product. Students will create a mask pattern,
learn how to form leather, finish, paint and decorate their own masks
while learning a little bit about the history of mask making and the
use of masks in medieval and Renaissance theater in the process. Mask
making is simple and fun, and no particular artistic talent or previous
leather working experience is required. There will be a $15 charge for
materials, and students will receive their finished masks as well as a
booklet on mask making at the end of the class. Class size is limited
to twelve students, although auditors are welcome.
C 7. Machaut: Lai de la Fonteinne — Karen Clark
Singers in this class will come with music learned and, hopefully, with
an experimental attitude open to the creative process. Our time together
will be devoted to delving into the poetry to find as much as possible
the intent and context of Machaut's words and meanings. Our work together
will center on embodying the poem and music such that the choreography
as created by Anna Mansbridge will support each singer's sense of the
words and music. How we embody and bring this music alive will be up
to each individual and shaped by the group as a whole. If you are
interested in participating in this class project, please send an
mp3 of your singing and a resume or brief bio to Karen Clark at
For advanced singers and serious voice students.
C 8. Motive Catching in the 15th-Century Chanson — Adam Gilbert
In this class we will explore the music of the great Burgundian and
French chanson composers from 1450-1500. As we perform these songs,
we will examine the role of musical motive as a generating force in
compositions, tracing the increasingly florid history of melodic and
rhythmic shape during the second half of the 15th century. Of special
interest is the way in which composers use motives to imitate and
comment on the works of their colleagues. We will even see how these
motives may tell us something about the identity of the composer in
anonymous songs. We will learn songs in this tradition of borrowing
and homage by Dufay, Binchois, Caron, Busnoys, Isaac, and one of my
personal favorites, Anonymous. For advanced singers and players of
recorders and viols. Auditors welcome.
D 1. The Tafelmusik of Lassus — David Douglass
As a part of his duties as maestro di capella for Duke Albrecht V of
Bavaria in Munich, Orlando di Lasso regularly provided music for
banquets served at special occasions, such as state visits or
hunting parties. We will play the madrigals, villanelle, canzonas,
motets, and dances performed by Lassus and enjoyed by the rich and
famous of mid-16th century Germany. Open to all.
D 2. Do-it-yourself Medieval Dances — Margriet Tindemans
Tired of playing the same estampies over and over? Make up your own,
based on medieval songs. Learn all about estampies, how they are
composed, for whom they were performed. Open to all.
D 3. Dance and Carnival Music in Renaissance Italy — Adam Gilbert
Renaissance Florence lived life from festival to festival, from solemn
to raucous, from sacred to profane, processing through the streets
singing songs of carnival lust and sacred redemption and dancing all
the way the dance of life to the Dance of Death. This course will
introduce the dance and song of Florentine carnival-the stately
bassa danza, the choreographed balli, and the laudi spirituali that
rang through the streets on Carnivale, Kalenda maggio, and the Feast
of Saint John, the patron saint of Florence. Open to all.
D 4. Pavan and Galliard — Julie Jeffrey
In this class we will take a look at the progress of these two popular
forms from their roots as functional dances to the sophisticated,
abstract art music of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
We will sample pavan/galliard pairs from Italy, France, Germany,
and England. Open to all instruments.
D 5. Theater Project: — Anna Mansbridge and Grant Herreid
Masque of the Four Elements
Drawing from the musical treasures of the Renaissance and early 17th
century, this masque will express in music, dance, and song the stories,
myths, and other texts inspired by the four elements: earth, air, fire,
and water. With Italian carnival songs, frottole, and balli, French airs
de cour, English lute songs, pavins, measures, and galliards, we will
bring to life the deities of these four elements and show their effect
on the poor mortals under their sway. Open to all: instrumentalists,
solo singers, choral singers, and dancers. Principals and dancers will
take the class for both afternoon periods, instrumentalists and ensemble
singers for late afternoon only. Those who are interested in one of the
singing roles please contact Grant Herreid at
D 6. Music and Ceremony in the 14th Century — Eric Mentzel
From Jacopo da Bologna to Johannes Ciconia, a large slice of the extant
secular music from the 14th and early 15th centuries was composed for
occasions of state and in honor of noble patrons. The texts are
effusive in their praise, and the music is among the most sophisticated
and complex of the entire Middle Ages. Repertoire will include
polytextual motets, Italian forms such as the madrigal and the balata,
and French virelais written in the virtuosic ars subtilior style.
For upper level singers and instrumentalists, especially vielle,
harp, lute, and slide trumpet.
D 7. Ceremonial Motets from the Courts of Germany, Italy, and Spain — Bob Wiemken
Occasions of State in the Renaissance were generally celebrated with
considerable pomp and circumstance, including music written for the
occasion in honor of some dignitary or official involved in the moment.
Chief among those musical offerings were motets composed to secular,
laudatory texts. This class will look at numerous examples of these
grand motets from composers such as Willaert, Othmayr, Lassus, da Rore,
Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, Morales, and Victoria. For voices and
winds, especially shawms, sackbuts, and dulcians
D 8. Awareness Through Movement for Musicians — Karen Clark
This class will present Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® lessons
for singers and instrumentalists. The gentle repetitive movements of
these lessons are opportunities to fine-tune our felt sense of ourselves.
This class is a great way to explore your habits of movements and to
learn to find freedom from some habits that may be producing unnecessary
tension. The goal is to discover how we can become more comfortable and
confident in our work and play! Dress comfortably, bring your curiosity,
and your instrument! For those who wish it, there will be time to
work individually with Karen.
D 9. Notation Class: — Annette Bauer
The Chansonnier of Margaret of Austria;
Lavish Music Manuscripts from the Alamire Workshop
This class will focus on playing music from original notation sources,
in particular The Chansonnier of Margaret of Austria. Primarily geared
towards participants with some prior experience in early notation, this
class is open to all singers and instrumentalists. To help those with
less notation experience follow along and participate fully, one voice
per composition will be provided both in modern notation and as a
transcription using the original notation symbols, but with modern
clefs. For anyone with little or no prior notation experience, a
thirty-minute early notation "crash course" will be offered on
Margaret of Austria, daughter of Maximilian I and sister of Philip
the Fair, was the regent of the Netherlands from 1506 until her
death in 1530. She established Mechelen as the Burgundian court's
capital and through her patronage revived it as one of Europe's
foremost literary, artistic, and musical centers. In the early
16th century, just as the printing press began to revolutionize
the publication and distribution of music, highly specialized
workshops like that of Pierre Alamire in Mechelen created lavishly
illuminated music manuscripts. Usually, these were commissioned
by and for the nobility and presented as precious gifts for special
occasions. The manuscripts were held as luxury items rather than
as books intended for actual music making. However, they captured
the full gamut of polyphonic composition at the time and serve as
invaluable sources for repertoire study today.
Last updated 03/02/2010.
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