a course for choral singers led by JanJoost van Elburg, 11 to 17 June 2017

A course for experienced choral singers of all ages and nationalities in a mediaeval abbey on a mountain top overlooking the Adriatic, now converted into a comfortable hotel with an excellent swimming pool and a reputation for the gastronomic specialities of the Marche. We rehearse a programme of early music in the Romanesque church that still stands at its centre. The course will be held in English. The general aim is to create an intense musical experience in good company and a relaxed and convivial setting.

Music Divine

JanJoost’s programme is half sacred, half secular. The sacred part is one work, Monteverdi’s Mass for four voices in the Dorian mode. It was published postumously in 1650, but there is no knowing when it was composed. It is written in the stile antico, with imitative counterpoint and long singable lines, but also incorporates features of the seconda prattica, such as interplay of major and minor tonalities with the modal harmonies, expressive dissonance and abrupt shifts of rhythm and meter. Tomkins’s Music divine and Lassus’s Musica dei donum are both hymns to the transcendental nature of music itself, and Dulces exuviae is a setting of Dido’s lament from Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid. The late flowering of the madrigal genre from the elder Scarlatti is unexpected. Perhaps more surprising than their existence is their style: they hark back a hundred years to the language of Monteverdi and Scarlatti’s fellow Neapolitan, Gesualdo.

Tomkins: Music divine
Gibbons: What is our life?
Alessandro Scarlatti: Arsi un tempo; Mori, mi dici; Sdegno la fiamma estinse
Lassus: Musica dei donum, Dulces exuviae
Monteverdi: 1650 Mass for 4 voices

  JanJoost van Elburg is one of Europe’s most sought-after conductors in the field of choral music. His association with Lacock dates from 1998, since when he has directed courses in England, Wales, Scotland, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia and Cyprus. He has been a frequent visitor to England, where he has been director of the Renaissance Singers and the Reading Bach Choir. He lives in Amsterdam where he directs the prestigious Westerkerk choir and orchestra and his own choir, the Lelikoor.

This is a course for experienced and confident choral singers of all ages. You should be a good reader and be comfortable singing a line by yourself, have a blending voice with full dynamic range, be used to normal choral discipline and be able to respond quickly to direction – the aim being to combine professional pace of work with amateur enthusiasm. The atmosphere is relaxed and informal. All the music will be printed in a booklet and sent to you in good time before the course.

Patrizia and Augusto Melappioni, the third generation of owner-managers of the Hotel Monteconero, with receptionist Sabrina Marini (centre) in the courtyard of the hotel with the church in the background.

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