Baroque Music in 415 Hz: Purcell's King Arthur
Bechyně, Czech Republic, Sunday 20 - Wednesday 30 July 2014
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
Robert Newton: An outstanding opportunity to perform specialized music and achieve excellent results
The course has two main aspects:
- a joint programme in which all, singers, instrumentalists and dancers, participate: Purcell's Baroque opera King Arthur
- a programme of small chamber ensembles
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 ensembles pieces in vocal, instrumental and combined vocal-instrumental ensembles. Every participant will join 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.
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, such a work for choir, soloists and orchestra. But what an asset is the chamber music! Singers and instrumentalists, one to a part, with coaching by all teachers ... Something you rarely get the opportunity to! And that the teachers sometimes contradict each other, .. well, .. that gives space.
Purcell's King Arthur
This year’s central work for the joint programme is Purcell's semi-opera King Arthur. King Arthur will be performed ‘semi-staged’ in the Vokův sál, Bechyně castle's splendid historic hall. Every afternoon all singers and instrumentalists will work on it, first in section rehearsals, later more and more together. King Arthur is about the early history of the British Empire, namely the kings Arthur and Oswald vying for the Grail. In the famous stammer aria cold Oswald melts for the beautiful Emmeline, the guardian of the Grail. When she makes clear that her heart already belongs to King Arthur, Oswald decides to abduct her. The love battle of the two kings degenerates into a heart-stopping duel. Arthur meets Sirens bathing naked in a stream and trying to seduce him. In the fourth act Arthur finds himself in an enchanted forest with frozen people. It eventually comes to a reconciliation in the fifth act, and the opera ends with a festive masque. Romantic scenes are interspersed with fiery crowd scenes, in which there is an important role for dance.
Excellent information about the synopsis and the history of this famous work is available on Wikipedia
It is possible to take part in only one of these aspects and to be free in the remaining time.
The sheet music of commonly available repertoire is usually provided by the participants themselves. More uncommon repertoire and scores of King Arthur 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), 2 recorders, 2 baroque oboes, 1 baroque bassoon, 2 baroque trumpets, harpsichord, organ, theorbo. 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. The tuning pitch is 415 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
Baroque dance is part of the course. Experience in dance (eg ballet), and affinity with baroque dance are required. There is room for six to twelve dancers, working with specialist Dorothée Wortelboer. Dorothée will create choreographies in period style for the dance sections in King Arthur. The dancers will work on practicing baroque style and learning the dances for King Arthur exclusively.
- Sunday 20 July at 18.00 h: arrival in Bechyně, course opening with dinner
- First rehearsal on Sunday evening
- Friday: 'free day'
- Saturday evening: tutors' concert in the refectory
- Monday evening: participants' chamber music concert
- Tuesday 29 July: two performances of King Arthur at the castle
- Wednesday morning: 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 EUR 200 (which is of course refundable in case you could not be placed).
Erika Laszlo: I loved the spirit of La Pellegrina 2013!