a course for choral singers from 4 to 9 September 2022
(postponed from September 2021)
led by Patrick Craig

Choral singers of all ages and nationalities are invited to join this week of  study and rehearsal leading to a public performance in Trogir, a beautiful old Venetian port on the Dalmatian coast in Croatia. The course will be held in English. The general aim is to explore an interesting field of repertoire and to create an intense musical experience in good company and a relaxed and convivial setting.

Orlando Gibbons
~ O clap your hands together
Thomas Greaves ~ England receive the rightful King
Michael East ~ O metaphysical tobacco
Thomas Tomkins ~ O God the proud are risen against me
William Byrd ~ Domine tu jurasti
Thomas Tomkins ~ Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom
Thomas Weelkes ~ O Lord God almighty
John Amner ~ I will sing unto the Lord
William Byrd ~ Ad Dominum cum tribularer

The turbulent first decade of 17th century England, centred on the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, left a distinct musical legacy. Parliament decreed an annual thanksgiving on the fifth of November, with hymns and other music railing against ‘Popish Treachery’. Thomas Tomkins’s eight-part O God, the proud are risen against me was a barely concealed denunciation of the leaders of the plot to overthrow the king and government. Thomas Weelkes’s sobering  O Lord God almighty articulates explicit concerns for the royal family and their security. Earlier, Thomas Greaves’s five-part England receive the rightful King was a welcome song in honour of James I and his glamorous young family. On the other side of the sectarian divide, William Byrd’s Ad Dominum cum tribularer, a masterly setting of Psalm 120, carries a stark message not just for the post-gunpowder plot country but for the world today: ‘I speak peace to them and they clamour for war’. We will explore this intriguing repertoire in the context of its gripping background story.

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. The music will be printed in a booklet and sent to you in good time before the course.

Patrick Craig is a countertenor and conductor. Since 2012 his regular Lacock courses, combining exploration of 16th and 17th century sacred music with its historical and cultural contexts, have been widely praised. He is a Vicar Choral at St Paul’s Cathedral, a member of The Cardinall’s Musick and sang a thousand concerts around the world with the Tallis Scholars over a period of twenty years. He began conducting as organ scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and then spent two years studying singing at the Royal College of Music. He went on to found and direct Aurora Nova, the first all-female professional choir to lead Sunday worship at St Paul’s Cathedral. He led them on their first tour of USA, and also conducted the City of London Sinfonia in a series of orchestral Masses at St Paul’s. Other conducting opportunities followed including guest conducting The Cardinall’s Musick at the Brinkburn, Brighton, Lichfield and Aldeburgh Festivals. He is also the Director of Temenos chamber choir in Sevenoaks, with whom he has conducted Bach’s Magnificat and B minor Mass and Handel’s Dixit Dominus. In 2019  Patrick conducted his first Messiah in the Lichfield Festival, Biber’s 53-part Missa Salisburgensis in Thaxted, and made his conducting debut in Hong Kong.

Trogir is one of the gems of the Dalmatian coast: a real Adriatic pot-pourri, with its Greek street pattern, Albanian and Slav stonework and Venetian campaniles. As the best-preserved Romanesque-Gothic complex of all central Europe, it is now a Unesco World Heritage Site. We’ll be based in the historic centre, which is on a small island. Our rehearsal sessions will be in the church of St Peter, in the centre of the picture below. Split, half an hour away by bus or boat, shouldn’t be missed: a bustling port that has grown up around Diocletian’s Palace. This most evocative classical monument, was begun in AD 295 and has been occupied almost continuously ever since, gradually turning into the present warren of alleys, churches, catacombs, tenements and piles of rubble.

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