a course for consort singers led by Robert Hollingworth, 11 to 16 September 2022

The Lucca Consort Week is a course for ambitious amateur and student singers. We will divide our time between singing Italian Renaissance sacred music as a choir, and in consorts with one or two voices to a line, under the direction of a leading specialist director. It is held in a former convent with accommodation in the heart of the city.

Girolamo Frescobaldi ~ Missa sopra l’aria della Monica
Nicolao Dorati ~ Virtute magna
Girolamo Dorati ~ O salutaris hostia
sacred music by Cipriano de Rore, Giovanni Croce, Andrea Gabrieli and Claudio Monteverdi

The repertoire will be drawn from the sacred music of composers working in Italy in the 16th century. For part of the time we will sing in small groups – participants should indicate on their application whether they would prefer to sing alone or with another voice on their line. For the rest of the time we will sing together in a choir when our main work will be the Frescobaldi mass. Frescobaldi was employed as organist in some of Rome’s most important churches and is remembered mainly as a keyboard composer. This tuneful eight-part mass is based loosely on the secular song ‘Madre, monaca non mi vo’far’. It is found in a manuscript in the archive of St John Lateran and it has to be admitted that the attribution to Frescobaldi is not above suspicion. The two pieces by the Doratis, grandfather and grandson, are a tribute to a prominent Lucchese family of composers and sackbut players.

The historic Tuscan city of Lucca is famous for the well-preserved ramparts that encircle the ancient centre, the duomo of San Martino and countless other monuments. The street plan preserves that of the ancient Roman city and the oval Piazza San Michele is imprinted on the site of the Roman forum. The Lucca Consort Week will take place in Convictus, a former nunnery in the north-east of the old city, not far from the forum. When the last of the dwindling sisterhood moved out in 2015, the building acquired a sympathetic new owner in Lauro Dini, who is finding it a variety of cultural and academic uses while preserving the fabric and the contemplative atmosphere. It has a chapel with a working organ from 1682, numerous other practice spaces, a peaceful walled garden and twenty-five single rooms where members of the course may stay in monastic simplicity.

Robert Hollingworth has spent much of his life looking for ways to share his love of Renaissance and modern music, often by creating ground-breaking projects which present music to audiences in innovative ways. He founded I Fagiolini in 1986: with them he has presented their signature projects including Simunye, The Full Monteverdi, Tallis in Wonderland, and How Like An Angel (with Australian contemporary circus group C!RCA), and Betrayal: a polyphonic crime drama (for singers and dancers based on the music of Gesualdo), which premiered at the Barbican in May 2015. Robert has directed the English Concert, the Academy of Ancient Music, Norddeutscher Rundfunk Chor, Nederlands Kamerkoor, Narodowe Forum Muzyki, Wroclaw (Acis & Galatea), Symphonieorchester Wuppertal (Judas Maccabeus) and Monteverdi L’Orfeo in Venice. In 2016 he conducted the Danish National Vocal Ensemble in a new conceptual project, Angels and Demons, and made his debut with the Berlin RIAS Kammerkoor in 2018.
His recording of the Striggio Mass in 40 Parts remained at the top of the specialist classical chart for nearly four months and won the 2011 Gramophone Early Music Award and a Diapason d’or de l’année. 1612 Italian Vespers was chosen as Gramophone CD of the Month and was performed live in the 2012 BBC Proms. Robert also arranged the music for the album ‘Shakespeare: The Sonnets’ and appeared extensively on BBC TV and radio discussing the disc. Robert has worked on a number of films and writes and presents for BBC Radio 3 (CD Review, The Early Music Show, The Choir and Discovering Music). In 2012 he ran a conducting masterclass and lecture for the American Choral Directors’ Association conference and was the Special Guest Director & speaker at the Association of British Choral Director’s 30th annual convention in 2015. He directs the MA course in solo voice ensemble singing at the University of York, where despite all this global hyperactivity he is a Reader in Music.

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

Map of Lucca by Merian Matthaus, 1688. Convictus, the venue of the Lucca Consort Week, is in the  north-eastern quadrant, within the arms of the Y-shaped arrangement of streets.