a course for choral singers led by Erik Van Nevel, 7 to 13 June 2015

A course for experienced choral singers of all ages and nationalities in a mediaeval abbey on a mountain top overlooking the Adriatic, now converted into a comfortable hotel with an excellent swimming pool and a reputation for the gastronomic specialities of the Marche. We rehearse a programme of early music in the Romanesque church that still stands at its centre. The course will be held in English. The general aim is to create an intense musical experience in good company and a relaxed and convivial setting.

Two Flemish Masters: Clemens non Papa and Crecquillon

Erik Van Nevel writes: “I am very pleased to be invited back to Monteconero and to have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for the music of two wonderful but unjustly neglected composers, Jacobus Clemens non Papa and Thomas Crecquillon. Both were part of what in Flanders we call the Fourth Generation [of Flemish polyphonists], the one that passed the baton from Josquin to Lassus. Some of this outstanding cohort, like our two and Gombert, stayed on home ground: others, including Arcadelt, de Rore and Willaert, went to Italy, sparking developments in musical style that led to the achievements of Monteverdi and the Gabrielis. Clemens and Crecquillon were equally prolific, leaving Masses, Magnificats and motets and chansons, both numbered in their hundreds. Their pure classical polyphony with brilliant melodic lines, shot through with the humanistic impulse to express the text and its emotional aspect, cries out to be sung. I hope you can join us for what promises to be an exciting journey of discovery.”

Both composers wrote sacred and secular music for four, five, six and even eight parts, dividing the top line and also the tenor. We would like to include Clemens’s Pater peccavi, his six-part Jubilate Deo and the two six-part chansons Si par souffrir and La belle Margarite; and from Crecquillon Congregati sunt, his eight-part Pater peccavi and the chanson Pis ne me peult venir. As is now standard Lacock practice, however, we will wait until we have a more exact idea of the vocal balance of the group before finalizing the repertoire.

The Fleming Erik Van Nevel is one of Europe’s leading conductors in the field of early music. He is the founder and director of Currende, a vocal and instrumental group that has made regular appearances at major European festivals and a series of much-admired recordings, ranging from Lassus and to Buxtehude and Bach. For many years Erik was choirmaster of Brussels Cathedral, where he founded the Capella Sancti Michaelis. He has been honoured with the title of ‘Cultural Ambassador of Flanders’ by the Flemish Community.

The course is designed for the serious amateur musician. You should be a competent sight-reader, have a straight, blending voice with full dynamic range, be used to normal choral discipline and be able to respond quickly to direction – the aim being to combine professional pace of work with amateur enthusiasm. Participants are of all ages and nationalities and come alone, with a friend or partner, or in a group. Erik Van Nevel is experienced at working with amateur musicians and the atmosphere is relaxed and informal. The music will be printed in a booklet and sent to you in good time before the course.

We all stay at the Hotel Monteconero, which gives exceptional value for the degree of comfort on offer. The rate for half board per person per day excluding drinks in a double room is
72 (for the whole course 432, about £360). There is a daily supplement of 19 for single occupancy. A room will be booked for you on registration; you pay the charges direct to the hotel. Ancona is the nearest airport; Ryanair fly there from Stansted. The hotel will send a minibus to meet the flight on Sunday 7 June and we will arrange the sharing of taxis for other arrivals. The nearest train station is Ancona.

The plan is to meet at Hotel Monteconero in the evening of Sunday 7 June. Then from Monday to Friday there will be rehearsal sessions each morning and another at the end of the afternoon. We have dinner together in the hotel. We will give a final concert in the church at the hotel in the evening of Friday 12 June. The course ends after breakfast on Saturday 13 June.

The fee for the course is paid in two parts: a deposit of £225 or the equivalent in euros on registration (this will be returned in full if you have to withdraw before 1 April; after that you may hold it over to another course) and €250 on arrival at Monteconero. The fee includes payment for the music booklet, which will be sent to you in advance but not travel; meals and accommodation are paid separately direct to the hotel. To enrol, just email us and include the information listed below, or if we already know it just let us know that you would like to come. We will then send you details of how you may pay the deposit.

      o your name
      o address (to send you the music booklet)
      o telephone number(s)
      o preferred email address
      o voice (soprano – mean/mezzo – alto – tenor – baritone – bass)

    Email us for further enquiries about MUSIC AT MONTECONERO.

Patrizia and Augusto Melappioni, the third generation of owner-managers of the Hotel Monteconero, with receptionist Sabrina Marini (centre) in the courtyard of the hotel with the church in the background.