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Singing in the Rhine

Schloss Engers

…or rather, very close to it. August ended with a fabulous coaching week at Schloss Engers (not far from Koblenz). Werner Schüßler and I were asked to work with four ensembles as part of the Vokal Stern events organised by the Kultursommer Rheinland-Pfalz. The plan (devised by Jens Kaiser) was to invite four of the most exciting young ensembles from Germany and Italy for an intensive week of concerts and workshops. Brilliantly organised by Willi Becker, assisted by the incredibly efficient Jens and Angelika Müller, it was one of the most impressive summer schools I’ve ever worked at. The music making was first class – if you haven’t heard of Sjaella, Nobiles, Schwesterhochfünf and Eos, you will one day. There was also wonderful hospitality at all the glorious churches we sang in – a very big thankyou to all involved. We’re planning to repeat it in July 2014, possibly inviting an English group or two. So if you think you might like to attend drop me a line via the message box on the Contact page.

Which reminds me:  it’s not too early to think about applying for the Tampere contest for vocal ensembles  –  June 5-9 next year. It’ll be another highlight in the acappella calendar.

Jana Jocif Dowland Project

The previous week the Dowland Project had a great gig in Radovljica (photo above courtesy of Jana Jocif) – despite the fact that I managed to miss the plane (wrong passport…) and had an attack of vertigo when I eventually got there. Huge thanks to Domen Marincic for his hospitality (it’s a wonderfully creative festival) and also to Janez Mavec for a great time at Lake Bled and for taking care of doctor appointments (and to the doctors station in Radovljica, whose staff were fantastic).  I gather I’ve been very lucky – some people are completely incapacitated for months on end, but I’m pretty well back to normal.

We’re working on a US West Coast DP tour in August next year, which could dovetail with a Canadian tour I’ve been asked to do with the Responsio Project (a new work by Peter Togni based on the Machaut Mass).

Voices & Vihuelas

Ariel Abramovich and I are working on a number of expanded projects that will involve Anna Maria Friman and Jacob Heringman. There are two basic programmes: a sacred one featuring a mass and motets by Morales, and a secular English and Spanish programme. The latter is called Amores Pasados, taking its title from the set of three pieces composed by Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones for Red Byrd in 1987, rearranged for 2 vihuelas and Hardanger fiddle.  We’re delighted that Genesis keyboard player Tony Banks will also be setting some 16th century poetry for us, and both 20th/21st century composers wil be presented in the context of  16th century villancicos and lutesongs.



The first album is  now out (full details on the Hyperion site here or you can get it on Amazon here). The next recording is in January, and we will be introducing new music in our concerts in York (in July) and Southampton (September), ahead of the third recording session in the autumn.


S&F Caron

Sound & Fury

Several people have been in touch asking where they can get hold of physical copies of the Caron set (as opposed to downloads). These albums are on Bernhard Trebuch’s new label (not ORF) and distribution is still being organised. There’s a website under construction (http://www.frabernardo.com/) but in the meantime you can order copies (30 euros for the 3 CD set which includes digital copies of the music) at  office@frabernardo.com.

I’m now taking some time off, after a pretty frantic summer.

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