Cambridge Early Music Summer Schools 2014

BAROQUE MUSIC: The Purcell Legacy, 3-10 August 2014

The Parley of Instruments

Peter Holman, Judy Tarling, Mark Caudle, Gail Hennessy, Philip Thorby

Music of the English Baroque

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Course description


This course gives participants the chance to study a wide range of vocal and instrumental music. This year's course will focus on English music by Henry Purcell and those who followed him, including Croft, Daniel Purcell, Eccles, Clarke and Handel. We plan to include Purcell's My heart is inditing and Handel's Utrecht Te Deum and/or Jubilate, among other works. Details will be sent to applicants.

Each day will offer technique workshops, choral and orchestral sessions for large-scale works, and one-to-a-part chamber music sessions exploring unusual repertoire in various combinations, selected and coached by the tutors. (It may not be possible to include weaker players or singers in these chamber music sessions. If you think you might fall into this category, you could prepare a piece of chamber music in advance and bring the parts, so that we can try to fit you into the coaching schedule.) Singers might like to prepare an appropriate solo work to study in a masterclass context.

Tuition will stress historically-informed techniques and style. A large selection of music for many combinations of instruments and voices will be provided; you are also invited to bring your own sets of parts and scores. Please indicate on the form if there are particular pieces or composers you would like to study.


Coaching is given by members of The Parley of Instruments, a pioneering ensemble which specialises in the rediscovery of forgotten Baroque music. The group performs throughout the world, makes numerous BBC broadcasts, and records prolifically for Hyperion.

Peter Holman (course director, keyboard and continuo) is a distinguished academic and performer; author of several acclaimed books and innumerable articles and editions. He is a particular champion of English music and early instrumental music. He directs The Parley of Instruments from the keyboard, and is an expert in continuo realization.

Judy Tarling (violin, viola), leader of The Parley of Instruments and formerly principal viola of the Hanover Band and The Brandenburg Consort, is also the author of the indispensable Baroque String Playing for Ingenious Learners and The Weapons of Rhetoric.

Mark Caudle (cello, viol, bass violin) lives and teaches in Poland, and frequently plays with all the leading European early music ensembles.

Gail Hennessy (oboe, wood-wind), one of the foremost exponents of the baroque oboe in Britain, is an international soloist and chamber musician.

Philip Thorby (voices) is director of Musica Antiqua of London, and well known as one of the UK's leading performers and teachers in the field of renaissance and baroque music.

Is it for me?

Applications are invited from proficient singers (we accept about four each of soprano, alto/countertenor, bass and tenor); and from confident players of violin, viola, cello (gut-strung baroque instruments, with baroque bows; baroque violins are available to hire); bass viol, bass violin, violone, recorder, flute, oboe, bassoon; and lute family, harp and harpsichord/organ (playing continuo from figured bass). Trumpets will also be needed for the final concert.

Pitch: A=415.

Players should have a good mastery of instrumental technique, but not necessarily any experience of baroque playing. Wind players should be prepared to sight-read solo parts. Singers should have good sight-reading skills, and may have chances to sing in small ensembles and occasional solos as well as in a chamber choir.

Instrumentalists (particularly wind players) may also have opportunities to sing chorus parts: please tick your voice part on the application if you would like to do some singing.

Pre-existing groups are welcome to apply together, and may offer prepared music for coaching in some of the chamber music sessions.

Non-singing/playing observers are welcome if we have space.


The course begins with a recital by The Parley of Instruments and Gail Hennessy at 16:00 on Sunday 3rd August. On 6th August the Parley give a full-length evening concert with soprano Philippa Hyde. On the final evening all course members participate in a concert, performing a selection of the larger-scale pieces studied during the week. All concerts are open to the public, and participants attend them free of charge.

Dates and times

Participants should arrive in time for the concert at 16:00 on Sunday 3rd August. On most days there is a free period from 13:00 to 16:00, for rest, practice, or ad hoc music-making, but the remainder of each day is filled with music from morning to night! The course ends with breakfast on Sunday 10th August (or after the Saturday night party for nonresidents).

Music scores

Most music will be provided on arrival, but singers and continuo players may be asked to buy or print off some scores. Details will be sent to applicants.


Please apply as early as possible, as places are limited. Applications will be acknowledged but may not be accepted until April, by when we hope to have a workable balance of voices and instruments. You will then be informed if your application has succeeded, and your deposit will be returned if not.

Course fees are detailed on the application form.

Contact: ||  tel: +44 (0) 1223 847330 ||  fax: +44 (0) 1223 701914  
Louise Jameson, Acting Administrator
Cambridge Early Music is a registered charity, No. 1127932, and a private limited company registered in England and Wales,
No. 6463812     Registered office: 5 Tunwell's Lane, Great Shelford, Cambridge CB22 5LJ, UK