:: Ambrose Field

Amores Pasados, 3 Med Tens…

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

I’ve at last done some updates. The site now has new versions of the Programmes, Lute song and Conductus pages, and a new page for Amores Pasados.

 3 Medieval Tenors – Conductus

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2015 is going to be very busy. We already have dates in Belgium, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia and Spain as well as the UK. Many of these will have AHRC-funded workshops which are open to all (we can even cope if you don’t read music) so keep an eye on this News page for details as we go through the year.  If you were saddened by the retirement of the Hilliard Ensemble, come and hear the Three Medieval Tenors, two of whom spent a great proportion of their careers in the group, and sign up for the workshops which might revolutionise your ideas of how medieval music should go.  Our next performance – Conductus: the Forgotten Song of the Middle Ages is in Bratislava on March 16th, and the third Conductus CD will be released in June.

 Amores Pasados


ECM 169 - B&W Amores Pasados project  WEB

I’m also very excited about Amores Pasados. The recording back in November was an extraordinarily intense experience for all of us. Our earlier recording (release now postponed till the autumn) wasn’t easy, so we were very surprised at how well things turned out in Oslo. We wanted to show that a song is a song, and that rock musicians such as Sting, John Paul Jones and Tony Banks could write lute songs that would stand comparison with their predecessors Dowland and Campion. We also found ourselves looking at those English composers of the early 20th century who would have written lute songs had there been any lutes or lute players around, and included songs by Warlock and E J Moeran arranged for two lutes. ECM are excited too, and will bring the album out in April (something of a record, I think). There is a clip from the first track on the Amores Pasados page (and the site ident music is also from the album).


The performing year kicks off for me with the Gavin Bryars Ensemble at the Adelaide Festival. We’ll be packing a lot into a very short residency, including Gavin’s great Shakespeare cycle Nothing Like the Sun, as well as his (Blake) Morrison Songbook, Irish Madrigals and Laude (all with Peyee Chen).   The last time I was in Australia was with Ambrose Field and Being Dufay, and I hope to be performing Ambrose’ Transmission Cycle (with string quartet) later in the year.





Hilliard dates, Field in Bucharest, Conductus 3

Monday, March 24th, 2014

This is an update of my previous post to test the new subscription facility. I’m afraid existing subscribers will have to re-subscribe to continue getting updates…


Hilliard Ensemble in Leeds & Seville

These two gigs were my last ever with the group  unless Rogers or Steven sing themselves out before the frantic final year is finished. It was a return to old stamping grounds –  the Leeds venue (former porn cinema attached to the Opera House…) had memories of gigs with Gavin Bryars and Ambrose Field (we did Being Dufay there), and Seville is where Ariel Abramovich lives and we’ve dome several gigs there. The programme started with the Godric hymns (long thought to be the oldest surviving songs in a form of English but now there’s a bit more competition). I’ve recorded these both with the HE and the Dufay Collective.   It was great to re-visit the C15 English pieces – Plummer, Pyamour, Frye, Sheryngham and Cornysh – all composers that rank as high as Purcell in my book. The second half was Notre Dame repertoire – a change of style compared with the Conductus Project versions of similar repertoire – and for the concert in the extraordinary Seville Cathedral quite a change of acoustic. The cathedral square, incidentally, is the background to the photos of Ariel Abramovich and me on the lute songs page on this site. Seville cathedral is absurdly large for four blokes to sing in, but it was a great occasion – the first time the HE had sung there since we did a Morales mass project about 20 years ago. Seville cathedralIt was great to see Ariel and lute maker Ivo Magherini too – and they made sure we had the best tapas around.  Discussed the final HE Wigmore with Gordon Jones, wondering how they would cope with the last gig ever. I’m not even sure I’ll go to it myself – I’d rather remember Seville as my goodbye to all that. The group never did much in England and the Wigmore can’t really compare with Seville Cathedral.

Jazz in Church Festival Bucharest

Ambrose Field and I had a great time in Rumania – very creative festival (defining jazz very loosely indeed), lovely people and very efficiently organised. Ambrose’ Transmission Cycle is very different from Being Dufay – summoning up glimpses of Arvo Pärt and Charles Ives and yet growing in a distinctive Field of its own. The young string quartet was excellent (Ambrose  conducted just to make sure we all got to the end at the same time). Great to catch up with Pierre Favre, who played percussion on Pärt’s When Sarah was Ninety Years Old which Rogers Covey-Crump and I recorded early on in our Hilliard careers.




Recording Conductus 3 at the NCEM

This was the final CD, and should appear in the autumn. It included a couple of contrafactae – one in French and one in Provencal – and another huge piece that begins as a trio and ends as a duet. Rogers Covey-Crump, Chris O’Gorman and I are looking forward to doing plenty of gigs next year (once Rogers has recovered from the HE farewell tour). We’re applying for additional funding from the AHRC to enable us to do concerts and workshops for free beyond the academic environment. Thanks to all those promoters who have supported this – we hope for good news soon.