a course for choral singers led by Rory McCleery
10 to 15 July 2022

The Edinburgh Early Music Summer School is an international gathering of amateur choral singers. We will rehearse and perform a programme of Scottish Renaissance music in Old St Paul’s Church in Edinburgh Old Town with a leading specialist conductor. The general aim is to explore a significant yet overlooked area of repertoire and create an intense musical experience in a relaxed and convivial setting.

Early music in Scotland is bedevilled by scant surviving sources and, from the mid 16th century, a national church with a marked antipathy to the performing arts. Yet the early 1500s saw a great flowering in the music of both church and court. Anything but provincial, Scotland was well connected with stylistic developments in England, Flanders and Italy and in the composer Robert Carver produced a national champion of European stature.

Robert Carver ~ Missa Dum sacrum mysterium, Gloria
Josquin des Prez ~ Benedicta es caelorum Regina
Anonymous ~ Descendi in hortum meum
David Peebles ~ Si quis diligit me
Jachet of Mantua ~ Descendi in hortum meum
Anonymous ~ Missa Felix namque, Kyrie & Gloria
Robert Carver ~ O bone Jesu a19

Rory McCleery writes: ‘Sacred music from Renaissance Scotland is often unjustly overlooked, at least in part because of the paucity of surviving sources from the period. Those manuscripts that have stood the test of time and escaped the efforts of overzealous Calvinist reformers offer us a picture of a rich and vibrant musical landscape, and it is this that we will be exploring in this week in Edinburgh, from the compelling magnificence of the Carver choirbook to the latest European fashions and reformed writing of the Dunkeld music books and St Andrew’s Psalter.
‘Pride of place in the programme goes to Robert Carver, whose extraordinary nineteen-voice O bone Jesu is matched by his equally striking ten-part Missa Dum sacrum mysterium, likely written in celebration of the coronation of the infant James V at Stirling in 1513. Alongside these we will sing music by other Scottish composers of the period and Continental musicians whose music found its way north of Hadrian’s wall, including Josquin des Prez’s exquisite Benedicta es caelorum Regina and Jachet of Mantua’s sumptuous Song of Songs setting Descendi in hortum meum.’

Rory McCleery began his musical career as a chorister at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh and later studied music at Oxford, as both an organ and an academic scholar. He is the founder and director of The Marian Consort, which has become renowned for its compelling interpretations of a wide range of repertoire, particularly the music of the Renaissance and early Baroque, but also of works by contemporary British composers. As a countertenor, Rory greatly enjoys performing as a soloist and consort singer in concert and recording with ensembles including The Dunedin Consort, Contrapunctus, The Monteverdi Choir, The Sixteen, The Gabrieli Consort, Le Concert d’Astrée, The Academy of Ancient Music, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and The Cardinall’s Musick. Recent solo performances have included Bach St John and St Matthew Passions; Handel Messiah, Dixit Dominus and Ode for the birthday of Queen Anne; Pärt Passio; Purcell Come ye sons of art, Ode to St Cecilia and Welcome to all the pleasures; Monteverdi Vespers of 1610; Rameau Grands motets; and Britten Abraham and Isaac in venues across the UK and Europe. He collaborates regularly with the Rose Consort of Viols and is a passionate believer in the importance of music education and singing for young people.

Further details of the programme, accommodation, fees and enrolment.