Baroque Music: Intermedii per La Pellegrina (1589)
Bechyně, Czech Republic, Thursday 23 July - Sunday 2 August 2015
Places available for:
- some more singers in all vocal groups, especially tenors and basses
- some more baroque strings in all groups
- one more baroque oboe
- a baroque bassoon
- two more experienced baroque dancers
Week programme and daily schedule
The historic monastery in Bechyně is the venue for an annual course of Early Music. This course has two parts:
- a joint programme in which all, singers, instrumentalists and dancers, participate: the Intermedii per La Pellegrina (1589)
- a programme of small chamber ensembles for singers and period instrument players
Jeroen van Bergeijk: "The ideal spending of a holiday : ten days of hard work in a monastery, immersed in music, with a fine group of music lovers"
The mornings are devoted to small ensembles. Every morning all singers and instrumentalists work on ensemble pieces in vocal, instrumental and combined vocal-instrumental ensembles. Every participant will be assigned to two different preformed ensembles, alternating per day. Half of the time the ensembles receive intensive coaching by the tutors. The ensembles will present themselves in an internal concert.
Robert Newton: "An outstanding opportunity to perform specialized music and achieve excellent results"
All formations from quartet upward are possible, with perhaps a few incidental trios. Ensembles will be formed well in advance, so you can prepare your parts at home. The course is open to individual participants as well as existing ensembles. There will be time for occasional combinations and musical get-togethers.
Lea Schuiling: "Nice of course, doing a piece like this for choir, soloists and orchestra. But the chamber music is really an asset! Singers and instrumentalists, one to a part, with coaching by all teachers ... Something you rarely get the opportunity to do! And when the teachers sometimes contradict each other, .. well, .. that gives space"
The Intermedii for La Pellegrina (1589)
The central work for this year will be the Intermedii per La Pellegrina, which will be performed 'semi-staged' in the Vokův sál, the beautiful historic hall of Bechyně castle. Ferdinando I de 'Medici commissioned Girolamo Bargagli to write a comedy to add lustre to his wedding to Christina of Lorraine in 1589. They decided to liven up the comedy, which reportedly lasted 6 hours, by framing the five acts of the play with spectacular intermezzi. Thus a series of six Intermedii was created, which were sung, played and danced. The effects of ingenious stage machines and lighting with torches and thousands of candles, such as gods who descended from heaven on a cloud, caves that opened and boats that circulated on the scene, made an unprecedented impact in that time. The comedy was little more than a pretext to perform the Intermedii. They made such an impression on contemporaries that they set a trend that led to the birth of opera. The Intermedii per La Pellegrina from 1589 were in fact one of the first operatic productions without which Monteverdi's Orfeo would have been unthinkable.
- More information about the music and the composers
- More information about the story of the Intermedii
The movements for larger forces will be performed from the score; the singers do not have to memorize them. The smaller solo sections will improve in quality and expression when they are sung by heart; in these movements we will strive to perform by heart.
You may choose to take part in the chamber music only or perform only the Intermedii and to 'have time off' during the remaining time.
The sheet music of commonly available repertoire is usually provided by the participants themselves. More uncommon repertoire and scores of the Intermedii are provided by La Pellegrina, usually in the form of a PDF sent by E-mail, which the participants are supposed to print out themselves and bring to the course.
There is room for up to experienced 20 singers. To qualify you must meet the following requirements:
rehearsal in the castle hall
- You are a good sight reader or able to study parts independently
- You are experienced with ensembles for early music in small ensembles (quartet, quintet)
- You have a trained voice suitable for ensemble and solo singing
- You are interested in historical performance practice, tuning systems and ornamentation
Wilma Reezigt: "Whether I didn't get hoarse after singing six hours per day , no, my voice was just getting more and more sparkling and powerful! "
The maximum instrumental group size is 20. For instruments we can place baroque strings (including viola da gamba), recorder, dulcian/curtal, renaissance trombone/sackbut, harpsichord/organ, theorbo, arpa doppia. Requirements for participation:
- You are used to playing period instruments. Modern string players please play on gut strings and with a baroque bow. It is possible to borrow baroque bows via La Pellegrina.
- Because of this early repertoire the tuning pitch is 440 Hz.
- You are experienced in playing in small ensembles.
Trine Dahl-Jensen: "On the train home, a lady who had attended one of the concerts recognised the nine of us travelling together and asked us to sign her program. Hurra! A fanclub!"
dancers at work
Renaissance dance is a substantial part of the course. Experience with 16th-century dance and/or extensive experience with e.g. classical ballet and folk dance is required. There is room for six to twelve dancers, working under the guidance of specialist Dorothée Wortelboer. The dancers will work as a separate group on the style of the late 16th-century Renaissance dance and rehearse the dances for the Intermedii. Later in the course they will work with the instrumentalists and singers during rehearsals, in which the Intermedii are put together as music theater.
- Thursday 23 July: arrival in Bechyně, course opening with dinner at 18.00 h, first rehearsal in the evening
- Tuesday 28 July: 'free day'
- Wednesday evening: participants' chamber music concert
- Thursday evening: tutors' concert in the refectory
- Friday evening 31 July: first performance of the Intermedii at the castle
- Saturday evening 1 August: second performance of the Intermedii at the castle
- Sunday morning 2 August: departure after breakfast
Annelies Jans: "Each morning two rehearsals, each afternoon two rehearsals, and what we do on our free evenings? Right, make music as much as possible...!"
double reed quartet
- 8.00 breakfast
- 9.30-12.30 rehearsals in small ensembles; the dancers work on technique and style
- 13.00 lunch
- 14.00 group rehearsals: choir, orchestra, soloists, dancers
- 15.15 tea break
- 15.45 tutti rehearsal
- 17.00 drinks & dinner
- Evening off, enough time for playing more chamber music. Sometimes special sessions such as lectures about the music and a dance workshop for all
Petra Jager: "Lots of people continue to play until long after dinner. I love to wander through the halls of the monastery in the evenings and hear their music behind all those doors."
after party at the camp fire
Read more about Bechyně, the place where the course will be held:
Roeland Gerritsen: "To make music on a high level (with qualified teachers AND students) at a unique location in Europe in a fantastic atmosphere, I can heartily recommend this to anyone"
In order to register, please fill out this form and pay a deposit of EUR 200 (which is of course refundable in case you cannot be placed).
Frederiek Muller: "So wonderful that it is already music from the first moment!"