Baroque music in 415 Hz: Montéclair's biblical opera Jephté
Bechyně, Czech Republic, Thursday 18 - Sunday 28 July 2019
The historic monastery in Bechyně is the venue for an annual course of Early Music. This course has two aspects: a joint programme in which all singers and instrumentalists participate: the biblical baroque opera Jephté by Montéclair, and a programme of small chamber ensembles for singers and period instrument players
Jeroen van Bergeijk: "The ideal spending of a holiday : ten days of hard work in a monastery, immersed in music, with a fine group of music lovers"
The mornings are dedicated to small ensembles. Everyone is part of two different pre-arranged ensembles, both of which are equally covered with coaching. The ensembles work at least half of the time under intensive supervision of the teachers. The ensembles present themselves in an internal concert at the end of the course. This year the focus is on French music, but this is optional for chamber music. Feel free if you prefer to play or sing English, German or Italian music in the small ensemble program.
Frederiek Muller: "A delicious combination of beautiful surroundings, nice people, formidable musical coaching and outstanding players and singers!"
All formations from quartet upward are possible, with perhaps a few trios. The ensemble formations are already announced in April or May, so that you can prepare yourself at home. Within the possibilities of the course, wishes for works and formations are taken into account. The course is open to individual participants and existing 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"
The biblical baroque opera Jephté
Central work for all is the delightful biblical baroque opera Jephté, performed with simple theatrical means in the monastery church. The work is quite long, so we will make a selection, replacing most of the recitatives with compact narration and keeping the 'juicy' aria's, orchestral sections and choruses. It contains many interesting (solo) parts, not only for strings, but certainly also for traverso, oboe and bassoon. All participants and tutors will perform in it. We will try to cast all of the singer participants (who want to sing a solo) in a role. All singers and instrumentalists join forces to form the choir and orchestra. Read more about Montéclair's opera Jephté here.
An important part of preparing the opera is working with French ornaments. We base ourselves on Montéclair's own treatise, and on the methods by Rameau and D'Anglebert.
Andrew Fyson: “Attending La Pellegrina and working with wonderful and enthusiastic musicians has been a life-changing experience for me”
The sheet music of commonly available repertoire is usually provided by the participants themselves. More uncommon repertoire and scores of Jephté are provided by La Pellegrina, usually in the form of a PDF, which the participants can print out themselves and bring to the course.
You may choose to take part in the small ensembles only or perform only in the Jephté performance and to 'have time off' during the remaining time.
There is room for up to 20 experienced singers. To qualify you must meet the following requirements:
the course is open to string and wind players
- 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.
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"
- Thursday 18 July: arrival in Bechyně, course opening with dinner at 18:00 h, first rehearsal in the evening
- Tuesday 23 July: 'free day'
- Wednesday evening: tutors' concert in the refectory
- Thursday evening: participants' chamber music concert
- Saturday evening 27 July: performance of Jephté at the monastery church
- Sunday morning 28 July: departure after breakfast
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
- 9:30-12:30 rehearsals in small ensembles
- 13:00 lunch
- 14:30 group rehearsals: choir, orchestra, soloists
- 15:45 tea break
- 16:15 tutti rehearsal
- 18:00 drinks & dinner
- Evening off, enough time for playing more chamber music. Sometimes special sessions such as lectures about the music and a vocal workshop for all
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."
A delicious meal at Penzion Elektra
Read more about Bechyně, the place where the course will be held:
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 250 (which is of course refundable in case you cannot be placed).
Frederiek Muller: "So wonderful that it is already music from the first moment!"