York Early Music Festival celebrates the Eternal City

George Hinchliffe, Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain: part of the Early Music Festival. Photograph: Nigel Barklie
3 Jul 2013 @ 9.36 pm
| Entertainment
George Hinchliffe, Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain: part of the Early Music Festival. Photograph: Nigel Barklie
George Hinchliffe, Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain: part of the Early Music Festival. Photograph: Nigel Barklie

Rome – The Eternal City is the theme of the 2013 York Early Music Festival, which runs from July 5 to 13.

From the time of the medieval Popes, through the Renaissance polyphony of Palestrina, to the exuberant baroque of Handel, all Roman music is here.

Central to the theme is the 300th anniversary of the iconic Italian composer and violinist Arcangelo Corelli who devoted his entire career to Rome and became a pivotal figure in the development of classical music.

Guest artists in the 2013 Festival include three ensembles led by some of Italy’s present day superstars – Riccardo Minasi (Musica Antiqua Roma); Fabio Bonizzoni (La Risonanza) and Patrizia Bovi (Ensemble Medusa).

Another anniversary to be celebrated in 2013 is the 450th anniversary of the birth of the English composer John Dowland. York offers a celebrity series of events involving countertenor Iestyn Davies; lutenists Thomas Dunford, Jakob Lindberg and Elizabeth Kenny; the Rose Consort of Viols and American virtuoso lutenist Paul O’Dette.

Delma Tomlin, administrative director, says: “We are delighted that a host of today’s finest international performers on lutes, viols and voices will join us in York to perform some of the most glorious works in the repertory from Palestrina to Handel.

“This year’s Festival culminates with the 2013 International Young Artists Competition. We are thrilled to welcome such a wealth of international talent to York as young musicians from 16 different countries join us for what promises to be an extremely exciting three days.”

York Early Music Festival comprises 29 events, including concerts, illustrated lectures and workshops from the earliest chant, found in medieval libraries across Europe, to Handel’s sublime music for Vespers from his triumphant stay in Rome in 1707.

“Our events are presented in some of the City’s most beautiful historic venues, and we hope this year’s Festival will provide a treasure trove of musical offerings to our audiences and visitors to York,” Delma added.


Mix Six – Six highlights of the festival

Yorkshire Bach Choir and Yorkshire Bach Soloists directed by Peter Seymour perform the Festival opening concert with extracts from music Handel provided for a Carmelite Vespers service for the feast of the Madonna del Carmine in July 1707 including the famous Dixit Dominus, along with another of the latest fashions of the time – a Corelli concerto grosso – and spectacular motets both large and small, with sopranos Mhairi Lawson and Bethany Seymour.

  • Friday 5 July, 7.30pm, York Minster

Iestyn Davies countertenor and Thomas Dunford lute: The Art of Melancholy
A recital which places Dowlands songs amongst those of his contemporaries including Robert Johnston, Thomas Campion and John Danyel, and which throws open a window on the famous quotation from Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), that melancholy is ‘known to few, unknown to fewer’.

  • Saturday 6 July, 3.30pm – c.4.30pm St Olave’s Church, Marygate

Mark Tucker tenor Paula Chateauneuf chitarrone: Songs of Religious and Erotic Passion from Rome
A concert exploring the mingling of the spiritual and the sensual in Roman music of the
17th century, featuring works by Frescobaldi, Mazzocchi, Carissimi, Luigi Rossi’s pop-style tune for a brooding lover, and the recently discovered Ancidetemi pur for chitarrone by Kapsberger.

  • Wednesday 10 July, 1pm – c.2.00pm St Olave’s Church, Marygate

Paul O’Dette lute: Dowland’s Grand Tour
Celebrated USA lutenist, Paul O’Dette’s programme traces Dowland’s travels through Europe, presenting the music he might have heard on his trip including works by John Johnson, Jacques Polonais, Gregory Huwet, Melchior Neusidler, Simone Molinaro and alongside works by Dowland himself.

  • Sunday 7 July 10pm – c.11pm NCEM, St Margaret’s Church

York Early Music International Young Artists Competition
This prestigious biennial competition, which this year welcomes talented ensembles from the UK, across Europe, and musicians from as far afield as Israel and Japan, includes a non-competitive showcase performance at the National Centre for Early Music across two fascinating days of concerts and informal workshops in the company of the distinguished singer, coach and language specialist Richard Jackson.

  • Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 July, at 10.15am & 2.15pm NCEM, St Margaret’s Church

The Choir of York Minster with Robert Sharpe director: Rome in York Minster
A glorious musical journey from Rome to York, featuring the works of Palestrina and Victoria and bringing to life one of the treasures of York Minster’s historic collection, placing the mass
movements from Palestrina’s famous Missa Papae Marcelli alongside Victoria motets and plainsong from the York Missal, manuscripts of which are held in the Minster Library. The programme has been designed to celebrate the opening of new ground-breaking interactive displays in the Undercroft, Revealing York Minster: A heroic, human and historic journey, transporting visitors on a 2000–year journey from York Minster’s Roman foundations to the modern day.

  • Saturday 13 July, 7.30pm York Minster