a course for choral singers led by Aidan Oliver
28 December 2018 to 2 January 2019

A week of music-making for choral singers in the Wiltshire town of Corsham, on the southern flanks 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.

When to the Temple: music for Christmas, Epiphany and Candlemas

Johannes Eccard ~ Missa super Mon coeur se recommande à vous
Johannes Eccard ~ In dulci jubilo; Über’s Gebirg Maria geht;
Maria wallt zum Heiligtum (When to the temple)
Peter Philips ~ O beatum et sacrosanctum diem; Stella quam viderunt magi; Hodie beata Virgo
Orlando Lassus ~ Verbum caro factum est; Quem vidistis, pastores
James Macmillan ~ Canticle of Zachariah; Dominus dabit benignitatem

Aidan Oliver writes: “I was delighted to be asked to direct The Corsham Winter School and given the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for two Renaissance contemporaries who have yet to be fully rediscovered. Johannes Eccard is best known to English choirs for his iconic Candlemas favourite, ‘When to the temple Mary went’, but there is so much more to this master of polyphony. His German word-settings dance with an exuberance worthy of Praetorius, while his Missa super Mon coeur se recommande à vous is an exquisite model of radiant part-writing in the Italian style. Likewise his direct contemporary Peter Philips, a huge passion of mine and hailed in his time as ‘the English Orpheus’, is still woefully under-appreciated in the land of his birth: his ability to capture every nuance of text is second to none, and in the architectural perfection of his motets he easily rivals any of the continental masters he emulated.

“Our programme focuses – appropriately – on music for the special period from Christmas through to Epiphany and Candlemas, characterised by intensely radiant, warm and joyful polyphony. Over fifteen years I have been fortunate enough to be able to explore this repertoire during services in Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Westminster, always marvelling at the palpable sense of ‘afterglow’ in the liturgical atmosphere. As well as Eccard and Philips, we will sing music by Lassus (who taught Eccard) and, for contrast, two finely-wrought motets by James Macmillan, which have much in common with Philips’s aims and methods.”

Aidan is one of the UK’s leading choral directors, working across the whole spectrum of symphonic, liturgical operatic and contemporary music. In May 2018 he was appointed chorus master of the Edinburgh International Festival. He is the founding director of  Philharmonia Voices, the professional choir that has worked with the Philharmonia Orchestra on many of its most high-profile projects since its creation in 2004. Philharmonia Voices made its BBC Proms debut in 2015, and has appeared on numerous broadcasts and recordings with the orchestra. As guest chorus master Aidan Oliver has worked with choirs including the BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Singers, Huddersfield Choral Society, the Chorus of English National Opera, and the RIAS Kammerchor of Berlin. Since 2003 he has been Director of Music at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey.

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