Baroque music in 415 Hz: Vivaldi's Venetian Vespers
Priory Nieuw Sion, Diepenveen, Netherlands, Sunday 11 - Saturday 17 August 2024
The former monastery of Nieuw Sion in the Salland forests near Deventer in the Netherlands is the venue for this year's seven-day baroque course. This course has two aspects: on one hand, a program of small ensembles of singers and players of 'early' instruments, both vocal and instrumental separately or in combination. On the other hand, there is a joint program with Vivaldi and contemporaries. All singers and instrumentalists participate in this program.
Jeroen van Bergeijk: "The ideal holiday spending: many days of hard work in a monastery, immersed in music, with an inspiring group of music lovers"
Chamber music ensemble performing
photo: Cassandra Luckhardt
The most important part of the course is working in small ensembles. Everyone is part of two different pre-arranged ensembles, both of which are treated equally. The ensembles work most of the time under the intensive supervision of the teachers. The ensembles present themselves to the other participants at the end of the course; in mutual consultation a number of ensembles can participate in the final public concert. This year the focus is on Italian Baroque. but this is optional for chamber music. Feel free to play or sing English, German or French music in the small ensemble program.
Frederiek Muller: "La Pellegrina's formula is SO inspiring!"
All formations from quartet upward are possible. The ensembles will be assigned very soon, so you can prepare at home. That is why quick registration is essential. Within the possibilities of the course, wishes for pieces and instrumentation are taken into account. The course is open to individual participants and permanent ensembles. There is also time for occasional combinations in the evenings.
Lea Schuiling: "Nice of course, doing a piece like this for choir, soloists and orchestra. But the chamber music is really an asset! Singers and instrumentalists, one to a part, with coaching by all teachers ... Something you rarely get the opportunity to do! And when the teachers sometimes contradict each other, .. well, .. that gives space"
Vivaldi's Venetian Vespers, programme for all singers and instrumentalists
Every afternoon, all singers and instrumentalists work together on the programme 'Vivaldi's Venetian Vespers ' for all, which is performed in the final concert of the course. Of course, there are first sectional rehearsals for the choir and orchestra, and correpetition for the soloists. Later in the week, all groups are joined together to create a colourful and diverse ensemble, in which everyone has their own challenges. Read more about the works and their musical and historical context here.
Andrew Fyson: "Attending La Pellegrina and working with wonderful and enthusiastic musicians has been a life-changing experience for me."
La Pellegrina provides the sheet music in the form of a link to a PDF that participants can print and bring.
Extras: Baroque dance and Tai Chi
Feuillet-notation for a chaconne
Baroque music cannot be separated from Baroque dance as it was practised at court. Thanks to sources with dance notation from the period, such as the writings of the dance masters Feuillet and Lorin, we can get a good idea of how dance was practised. The same basic technique was used both in social events and in theatrical dance at court ballets and in public theatres. Characteristically, on what musicians call the 'heavy counts', dancers go on their toes, i.e. upwards, making the dance infinitely light and graceful. A musician who has experienced this immediately plays differently, lighter and with more grace. Our teacher for the low strings, Ricardo Rodríguez Miranda, besides being a gambist, is also a dancer and teaches baroque dance at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. He will teach a workshop in the course and provide a warm-up with elements of Baroque dance each morning.
Teacher Mitchell Sandler is not only a singer and all-round musician, but also a certified Tai Chi instructor. Every morning before breakfast, he does a Tai-Chi session with anyone who wants to join in.
Franca Post: "Very nice atmosphere, beautiful venue and wonderfully relaxing."
Soprano in action
There is room for up to 20 experienced singers. To qualify you must meet the following requirements:
- You are a good sight reader and able to study parts independently
- You are experienced with ensembles for early music in small ensembles (quartet, quintet)
- You have a trained voice suitable for ensemble and solo singing
- You are interested in historical performance practice, tuning systems and ornamentation
The maximum instrumental group size is 20. For instruments we can place baroque strings, viola da gamba, traverso/recorder, baroque oboe, baroque bassoon, harpsichord/organ, theorbo; period instruments only, tuning pitch 415 Hz.
To qualify you must meet the following requirements:
- You are used to playing period instruments. Modern string players are welcome, but are required to fit their instrument with gut strings and play with a baroque bow. It is possible to borrow baroque bows via La Pellegrina.
- You are experienced in playing in small ensembles.
Harry Kragt: "I melted for the music, not because of the extreme temperatures. I have got the taste for more"
Staffan Rudner: "I think it was great that the tutors also took part in the music as players. Marco Vitale in particular, who dared to play the baroque oboe despite not being professional on that instrument"
- Sunday morning August 11: arrival at Nieuw Sion, 10:30 course opening and first rehearsal
- Friday August 16: final internal presentation of the chamber music ensembles
- Saturday afternoon August 17: public concert with the programme 'Vivaldi's Venetian Vespers' in the monastery churche (hopefully), followed by drinks and departure
Annelies Jans: "Each morning two rehearsals, each afternoon two rehearsals, and what we do on our free evenings? Right, make music as much as possible...!"
- 8:00 breakfast
- 9:30 1st session working on music in small ensembles
- 10:45 coffee break
- 11:15 2nd session working on music in small ensembles
- 13:00 lunch
- 14:15 3rd session working on music in small ensembles or sectional rehearsals for the Vespers
- 15:30 tea break
- 16:00 joint rehearsal Vespers
- 17:30 drinks and dinner
- Evening: free to spend; ample opportunity for extra chamber music
Staffan Rudner: "The tutors were able to adapt to the potential of all of us. After the course a new energy has come to our practicing and playing at home."
Monastery Nieuw Sion has existed since 1890 and was a Trappist monastery until 2015. The last monks then closed the door behind them and found a new place on Schiermonnikoog. Since then, a wide range of spiritual, as well as cultural and musical activities have taken place. More information can be found here (in Dutch):
Roeland Gerritsen: "To make music on a high level (with qualified teachers AND students) at a unique location in Europe in a fantastic atmosphere, I can heartily recommend this to anyone"
The tutors giving a toast to a successful concert
In order to register, please fill out this form and pay a deposit of EUR 300 (which of course will be refunded in case you cannot be placed).
Frederiek Muller: "So wonderful that it is already music from the first moment!"