a course for choral singers led by Will Dawes
28 December 2019 to 2 January 2020

A week of music-making for choral singers in the Wiltshire town of Corsham, on the southern reaches of the Cotswolds. We rehearse every day in the morning and late afternoon with a specialist conductor for a concert at the end of the course. The Winter School is a tradition dating back to 1990; in the early days it was held in Lacock itself: more recently at other places, such as the tiny village of Zennor on the Cornish coast near Land’s End, the bookshop town of Hay-on-Wye and Ludlow. The aim is always to combine serious and dedicated singing with as much good cheer as possible.

An Iberian Nativity

Alonso Lobo ~ Missa Beata Dei Genitrix
Francisco Guerrero ~ Beata Dei Genitrix; Todo quanto pudo dar
Tomás Luis de Victora ~ Ne timeas Maria
villancicos by Francisco Guerrero, Mateo Flecha and Martin Bussey
Jim Clements
~ Gabriel’s message: a Basque Christmas folk carol

Will Dawes writes : Who knows what the weather will be in Wiltshire this Christmas? To take us to warmer climes, here’s a feast of delicious Spanish renaissance music, a taste of the south which is guaranteed to warm our hearts better than the finest mulled wine.
Lobo’s sumptuous Missa Beata Dei Genitrix, along the Guerrero motet on which it was modelled, form the backbone of the programme. Rarely performed, both the mass and motet are gently persuasive and are little-known masterpieces. We’ll also sing a charming Annunciation motet by Victoria, Ne timeas Maria, a setting of part of Gabriel’s message to Mary.
Far from the cathedral and well into the countryside, we’ll explore several villancicos. These are Iberian popular songs, rustic both in the theme and style, with captivating cross rhythms. Completing the musical tapas are two contemporary works. Martin Bussey’s Del nacimiento is a work which brilliantly combines villancico rhythmic vitality with divine accessible harmonies in a setting of words of St John of the Cross. Finally, Jim Clements’s fabulous arrangement of the traditional Basque Carol The angel Gabriel, which is rapidly turning into a real crowd-pleaser in the world of Christmas choral music. All in all, a treat for the senses – I do hope you can join us!

Will Dawes is director of chapel music of Somerville College, Oxford, director of music at the church of St Mary Magdalen, Oxford, and director of Frideswide Voices, Oxford’s first liturgical choir for 7-14 year-old girls, which became part of the choral foundation at Christ Church Cathedral in September. He is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music where he studied choral conducting and singing. With the widely acclaimed vocal ensemble Stile Antico he has performed all over the globe, from London’s Wigmore Hall and BBC Proms to recent debuts in South America and South Korea. Will has been a lay clerk of Christ Church, Oxford, and has sung with Collegium Vocale Gent, The Eric Whitacre Singers and Polyphony. His work as a choral conductor takes him to places as far afield as China and New Zealand. He was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in March 2018.

Further details of the timetable, travel, accommodation, fees and enrolment.