Epitaph for a Green Lover Concerts May 2022

We had a busy few weeks in May performing our Epitaph for a Green Lover programme with Héloïse Bernard, in Wales, Scotland and England. The tour would not have been possible without the generous support of the Continuo Foundation and many of our friends on the way.

Sophie’s Barn Chacombe

Our Green Lover tour started off with rehearsals at Sophie’s Barn and we gave a concert to support Sophie’s Silver Lining Fund. This is a wonderful charity which gives help to students of performing arts – have a look here to find out more. Many thanks to Cherry and Stephen Large for their warm hospitality and generosity in welcoming us to their beautiful home and barn.

A first draft Partbook for ‘Crow’ a song cycle for Countertenor and Renaissance viol consort by Piers Connor Kennedy

As a prelude to our tour we spent 1st May workshopping a new composition by Piers Connor Kennedy; written for us and star countertenor Hugh Cutting. It’s a beautiful piece with words taken from Ted Hughes’ Crow. It’s a very exciting project and we’re looking forward to the first performance planned for autumn this year in Oxford.

St Michael’s Church Discoed – Epitaph for a Green Lover May 6th

It is always such a treat to play at St Michael’s just over the border into Wales, nr Presteigne, due to the beautiful venue and superb organisation of Annie Nethercott for Early Music in the Marches. We gave our first Linarol Consort concert there in 2018 – only 4 years ago – what a lot has happened in that time! We are grateful to Annie and John, our appreciative audience and the Welsh Night Out scheme for their support on May 6th.

Car packed with viols ready for trip to Scotland

From the Welsh borders we set off to Melrose in the Scottish borders, with cars full of viols for a week of viol consort coaching and playing, culminating in our concert at Kippilaw House on May 12th: home to the highly skilled Lil – a superb cook and seemingly effortless interior decorator.

Rehearsing in the ballroom at Kippilaw House
Claire on the new ‘liquorice allsort’ viol and Ali on rebec
Ali on rebec and David with a 3 hole pipe and drum

Our Green Lover programme follows the life of Marguerite of Austria through her music books: two songbooks and a book of basses dances which is written in gold and silver ink on black parchment. We had fun performing a few of the dances with the more rustic instruments associated with Marguerite’s court. You can read all about the programme in the previous blog – link here. And then you’ll understand the heading image too.

In concert photo Kippilaw House, Melrose Héloïse Bernard and Linarol Consort

A short clip of Héloïse singing the sublime Me fauldra il, an anonymous setting of a text by Marguerite of Austria.

There was time for an afternoon of sightseeing – Melrose Abbey

On 14th May we travelled through beautiful scenery for our concert at Kelvinside Hillhead Parish Church which is a magnificent 19th century church modelled on Sainte Chapelle in Paris.

Glasgow Viol Consort members with Linarol Consort photo by Martin Barnett

We met four superb young musicians from the Glasgow Viol Consort who had never played renaissance viols before and lead a very enjoyable consort session.

This was also the first time the young players had experienced coaching on Renaissance viols and in addition to working on technique, sound production and ensemble skills they also benefited from David’s expertise in the historical context of their chosen pieces. The session was a rare opportunity for the young players to receive coaching from a whole consort of viols and the impact of this workshop taking place (as well as getting to hear the Linarol Consort perform live) has sparked an interest and enthusiasm for further exploration of Renaissance viols! Martin Barnett

The Songbook of Zeghere van Male, MS 125-128 Glasgow viols had a look at this beautiful manuscript
Kelvinside Hillhead Church 14th May

We enjoyed playing in Héloïse’s hometown to an audience who were very happy to see a professional viol consort playing in Glasgow for the first time in living memory.

The Linarol Consort delivered a truly delightful concert in Glasgow – the first professional viol consort we have heard in the city for many years. The four instrumentalists, playing on a matched set of Renaissance viols, rendered a varied programme of sixteenth-century music with great clarity and style, easily filling the large church and transporting the audience to a different world. The singer Heloise Bernard added a uniquely expressive quality, while matching to perfection the attention to style and detail of the instrumentalists. This was an exceptional concert, and we hope they will come to Glasgow again, soon.
Thomas Munck (Professor Emeritus, History/Humanities, University of Glasgow)

Viols arrive in Somerset May 19th

The final stop on our May tour was in Somerset at the beautiful St Peter and Paul, North Curry. We had our largest audience and they loved it! With comments such as that was a really entertaining experience not just an ordinary concert.

This is clearly a programme much loved by the performers who do not shy away from the many varieties of melancholy or poignance!
It was also fascinating to see players switch instruments and to hear these and the music described with such good humour and warmth.
A really enchanting and uplifting evening.

We really need to make a recording with Héloïse – lots of people asked if we had one on sale.

North Curry, Somerset – photo Sarah Hobbs

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