It was such a privilege to have five uninterrupted days, well, apart from eating the superb food of course, at Hawkwood College to just play the collection of renaissance viols in a variety of combinations and tunings.
We took the chance to really get to grips with the skills required to read from early 16th century notation, accustoming ourselves to reading unusual clefs and to a number of transpositions that were commonly used by viol players of the time. Twelve hours a day of facsimile reading was rather brain frazzling at times but it was wonderful to have unpressurised time for exploration and be rewarded with a G&T at the end of the day.
We had fun working with James Gilchrist on German songs from the manuscript that David has recently edited and published. Being able to have a day of uninterrupted work together was a fantastic experience, and will certainly be invaluable in our new project: to record the songs along with a selection of instrumental music from the manuscript.
In preparation for the upcoming Leominster Early Music weekend concert on 17th March we had an exciting day with Evelyn Tubb rehearsing wonderful madrigals, by Wert, Willaert and Gesualdo for the Vivat Hercules! programme with Border Voices in Leominster Priory. Please do have a look at the brochure as there are lots of tempting events over the weekend including David and Vivabiancaluna Biffi giving a ravishing a voice and viol recital Ecco La Primavera! on Saturday 16th in the Lion Ballroom.
It wasn’t all work though! We did manage to get out and have a few walks around the grounds and enjoy the final day when we awoke to the most magical Narnia-esque landscape. Sadly the week came to an end, and despite the snow and a flat tyre we managed to drag ourselves away. Thank you to Alicia Carey and the fantastic team at Hawkwood for making us so welcome.