Early Music (Adults)
23rd - 29th July 2017
Directed by Philip Thorby
Tutor: David Hatcher
Location: Wotton House, Horton Road, Gloucester. GL1 3PT
Residential - camping - B&B
(Download Application Form)
(Download Printable Course Information)
Following our hugely successful 'Christmas in July' last year, this year we explore Renaissance music from the other great festival in the Christian calendar: Holy Week. From Lamentations and settings of Stabat Mater to triumphant Easter motets, this is a repertoire of unrivalled depth and variety. A core work will be Brumel's great twelve-part 'Missa Et Ecce Terrae Motus' (the Earthquake Mass), which Orlandus Lassus himself directed and sang at the Munich court. The different combinations of voices and instruments which the 'Beauchamp' week uniquely provides will also be kept fully occupied with large-scale seasonal motets by German and Venetian composers including - of course! - Gabrieli.
The Beauchamp Early Music Course has been running for over 30 years, the last half of which have been
under the direction of Philip Thorby.
We are pleased that David Hatcher will again tutor alongside Philip.
We have a wonderful new venue this year - Wotton House - a very private oasis in the city of Gloucester. Wotton House is the home of the recently launched Gloucestershire International School (www.ive.global). It is a wonderful, historic Grade 2 listed stately home, built in the early 1700s, retaining many original features. It has the huge benefit of a residential block with many single (and a few twin) bedrooms.
Each full day there are 4 tutor-led sessions (2 in the morning, one late afternoon, one after dinner); for these the tutors will put up a list daily naming the instrumentalists for each piece to be played. There is ample opportunity in the early afternoon and late evening ‘free time’ for musicians to arrange groups amongst themselves to play any instruments they may not be listed to play. These optional, informal sessions tend to gravitate to a slightly later repertoire.
A level of competence is required from participants. Voices don't have to be beautiful, but singers need to have some sight-reading fluency and to be in control of their voices; players need to comfortably hold their part and be able to hit the right notes on suitable instruments at the right time! Appropriate instruments for most of the repertoire are cornetts, sackbuts, curtails, recorders, baroque strings, viols, continuo instruments. Pitch is A440. As always we try to remain as close as possible to the composer’s orchestration, so not all instruments may be involved at all times. If you have more than one instrument, or are happy to join the choir for a session or two, you will be kept very busy: if you come as a dedicated sopranino shawm player, less so! (If in doubt, please feel free to enquire.)
Though many who attend are regulars - and some have been coming on the course since its inception! - new participants are always most welcome. Our excellent and friendly catering staff provides all meals - breakfast, coffee, a substantial lunch buffet, afternoon tea and 3-course dinner.
Many course participants camp/caravan in the grounds and there are good shower and toilet facilities. In this new venue we are pleased to be able to offer a good number of single bedrooms and a few twin bedrooms on a first-come-first-served basis at £170 for single occupancy, £100 shared. Please email for more information and availability.
|9.15 - 11.00 a.m.||Session 1|
|11.00 a.m.||Coffee break|
|11.15 a.m. - 12.45 p.m.||Session 2|
|4.30 - 6.00 p.m.||Session 3|
|7.30 - 9.30 p.m.||Session 4|
To download the course leaflet please
for a Booking Form, please click
For further information or queries please contact Anne Ingram by email at
or phone 01989 218432 / 01452 668592.
Philip Thorby is well known as a performer, teacher and conductor of Renaissance and Baroque music. As a performer he has played recorder, viol and early wind instruments with many of London’s early music ensembles, as well as in premieres of works by composers such as John Tavener, Imogen Holst, David Bedford and Paul McCartney. He founded and directed the Renaissance ensemble Musica Antiqua of London, which made seven highly acclaimed CDs of sixteenth century music, broadcasts for the BBC and performed concerts in Britain and abroad. He now plays regularly with Philomel, an ensemble formed by some of his former students, and his new ensemble The Intrepid Academy, as well as continuing as a freelance soloist. As a teacher, he had a long career directing early music at Trinity College of Music (now TrinityLaban Conservatoire of Music and Dance) in London, of which he is now Emeritus Fellow. He was recently invited to direct Cambridge choral scholars and professional instrumentalists in a project on Cavalieri’s opera "Il Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo", culminating in staged performances in Trinity College Chapel. His energetic, passionate and scholarly direction is also much sought-after on playing days and weekends, as well as on courses such as the Easter Early Music Week in Ascot, Cambridge Early Music Summer Schools (where he directs the Renaissance course and co-directs the Baroque one), the Irish Recorder and Viol Course, and in Venice, where he directs two courses a year, with final concerts in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, where both Gabrieli and Monteverdi directed their own music!
David Hatcher was born in Warwick and upon attaining the LTCL diploma two years after taking up music, he went on to study viola da gamba with Charles Medlam and recorder with Philip Thorby at Trinity College of Music, London. He began his career based in England, touring to America, Israel, France, Germany and the Netherlands. He has broadcast for both the BBC and independent radio and television. In 1987 he moved to Japan where he was to remain for the next nine years, taking an active part in that country’s flourishing early music scene. He has recorded with Evelyn Tubb, The Consort of Musicke, I Fagiolini, Sprezzatura, and the Japanese ensembles Chelys, Ensemble Ecclesia and the Bach Collegium of Japan. David now lives in Leominster on the Welsh Marches and has appeared with Fretwork, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, The Globe Theatre, The Consort of Musicke, Muisca Antiqua of London, The Corelli Orchestra, The Harp Consort, Glyndebourne Opera and many other period orchestras and ensembles. He regularly teaches on summer schools such as the Cambridge Early Music Summer School, the Easter Early Music Course at Ascot and Sastamala Gregoriana in Finland, and is in demand as a tutor for many weekend and day courses. Recent projects include performing in Damon Albarn's opera "Dr Dee" and performing and recording with I Fagiolini in their hugely succesful interpretation of Striggio's 40-voice mass. He performed in the inaugural season of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in 2014 and in the highly acclaimed production of The Knight of the Burning Pestle in 2014 & 2015. He is a founder member of Philomel and The Intrepid Academy, which, under the direction of Philip Thorby, explores the rich heritage of early 16th century Venetian music.
Feedback from the 2015 course:
- A great week - one of the best I’m sure - wonderful music - and I feel we have learnt so much from our superb tutors. Dene Magna is working well as a venue - and of course I mustn’t forget our wonderful catering team.
- Very enjoyable week. Philip made a big effort to accommodate everyone’s weapons! Playing through a piece after working on it to the rest of the group a good idea as last year. Food really good. Nice to have a theme text-related rather than by country/composer.
- The music was glorious. Organisation was superb and reduced the fussing to the minimum. Food: as a vegetarian I appreciated the thought and novelty of the food provided and it was all delicious - nothing I disliked.
- Food wonderful. Catering staff tremendously efficient, helpful and friendly. Camping field was excellent. Music stunningly good. Very good editions, mostly very legible. Admin very efficient and friendly.
- Food fine. Course excellent. The balance of the group is good - very enjoyable listening to everyone else. Thanks to everyone.
- A great event in every way - music, food, company, organisation.
- Music/Tutors/Food all wonderful! Intensive practice followed by performance is good - better than a concert at the end.
- Great organisation - seamless. Great food - very enjoyable, served by happy, friendly people who were always willing to cater for various food foibles. Great bar - always well stocked with enjoyable refreshing drinks. Great music - a pleasure to play such good music with like-minded souls who were determined to make the most of it all. Great tutors - well organised rehearsals and tutors who were an inspiration to us all. Premises - very good - great rehearsal premises, plenty of space and nice to be in. Nice to hear the owls at night; well lit; great to have stands provided. Great company - a fantastic musical week - the format of performing pieces immediately after rehearsal is very good, much better than a final concert with nerves and lots of mistakes. Also best to allocate parts to individuals as was done - much better than a free-for-all. Also good to have all the music laid out for one’s perusal. Keep the current format - it works well.
- The week was definitely better than before: the standard of music was better - the instrumentalists were even better than usual (Philip and David have done much for this) - and the choir too. Philip’s session with the singers only in the morning was "gold" and we did get better!
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