Workshop Details

Workshop Details

Saturday, 13 November 2010, 10.00am to 5.00 pm Dale St. Methodist Church, Dale St., Leamington Spa CV32 5HL A workshop for singers and instruments. A=440 Tutor: Jeffrey Skidmore


Brief Review

We had a marvellous workshop on music by Henri Dumont and contemporaries, tutored by Jeffrey Skidmore, on 11 November. Jeffrey is a very popular tutor at these events, and true to form he shared his considerable knowledge of the music with tremendous and infectious enthusiasm. MEMF workshops always give you a lot to think about and in this one we found ourselves attempting to sing Latin with a French pronounciation whilst remembering to add those essential style details that make the difference between French Baroque music dancing elegantly round the room or thudding lumpily to the floor. We could have done with a few more string players but the small band made a valiant attempt at the various Symphonies between the verses so we could get the general effect. A review will be appearing in the next Newsletter sent out to members. Meanwhile if you'd like a little more information on Dumont and a tempting hint of what you missed, here is a link to a Linn Records offering of masses by Henri Dumont and his contemporary, Henri Fremart. There is a good eye-witness description of a High Mass for the King and you can preview the recording.


Jeffrey hardly needs an introduction, as a tutor of many successful past MEMF workshops and as a nationally and internationally renowned director .of the West Midlands’ very own early music ensemble Ex Cathedra. Jeffrey has specialized particularly in French baroque music, giving many successful performances and making many recordings of this as well as other music from his extensive repertoire. We are particularly glad to welcome Jeffrey on this occasion, because the workshop to be tutored by him last January on South American baroque music sadly had to be cancelled at the last minute because of the weather.
Henry Du Mont, or Dumont, (1610-1684) was a French composer of Walloon origin who has some claim to being the founder of baroque sacred music in France and of the glorious tradition whose later representatives include Lully, Charpentier and De Lalande, amongst others. Born near Liège, his family moved to Maastricht soon after his birth. Here he received his musical education, eventually becoming organist of Maastricht cathedral at the age of twenty.
He moved to France after 1638 where his career progressed and he occupied a series of increasingly prestigious musical posts, royal and ecclesiastical, in 1663 becoming a "Sous-maitre" of the Chapelle Royale in Versailles, where he remained for the next twenty years. He was evidently highly regarded by his patrons and his music continued to be performed well into the 18th century. His special contribution to French sacred music in this period lies in his development of the motet, and he has left us many beautiful examples of both grand and petit motet style, so influential for later French composers. We will explore some of these, as well as music by some of Du Mont’s French and English contemporaries, possibly including Charpentier, Humfrey and Blow.
As well as stringed instruments of the violin family, viols were also an important component of the instrumental resources employed by Du Mont and we welcome viol players.
There will be opportunities for singers in all voice parts, strings, and continuo. Scores will be provided by Jeffrey.
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