Before the Christmas season gets underway, we thought we’d round up our autumn news and give you a few reminders about what’s coming up in 2019.
September’s big news was the long-awaited release of Women and Music in Sixteenth-Century Ferrara. The book tells the story of Ferrarese music in a new way, by putting women at the centre of the narrative rather than the periphery. This is, of course, more or less what Musica Secreta has been doing for nearly thirty years in its practical investigations of the concerto delle donne’s repertory. The book tells the stories of courtly women and convent musicians throughout the century, with plenty of musical examples that come directly from our programmes.
October was a really busy month for us, particularly the third week, in which we made a lightning trip to Florence to take part in the celebrations of the unveiling of a newly-restored lunette by Plautilla Nelli, as guests of the Advancing Women Artists Foundation. Together with our friend, Sarah Dunant, we gave a short presentation of readings and music from Florentine convents – starting with a plainchant flash-mob!
Less than three days later, we took part in the BREMF/NEMA conference in Brighton on Vocal Sound and Style, with Deborah leading a roundtable discussion, Laurie giving a keynote on “What Does It Mean When a Woman Sings?”, and finally Celestial Sirens concluding the day with a short concert.
In November, Laurie was busy in the States teaching and conferencing, while Deborah was busy being both Artistic Director of the Brighton Early Music Festival, and the musical director of an opera double bill,Beauty, Love, and Death and the BREMF Consort’s Reformation Remainers. Late on in the month, we were delighted to learn that Laurie’s Composer of the Week series for BBC Radio 3, The Women of Renaissance Ferrara (originally broadcast for International Women’s Day 2017) was to be repeated from 26-30 November.
Meanwhile, and not before time, we finally became a charity! Keep your eyes peeled, because we will be launching a Friends Scheme at some point in early 2019.
But not until after our first London concert for over a decade, at the amazing Venus Unwrapped festival at King’s Place. Not Mortals, But Angelssurveys convent music spanning six centuries, from Hildegard of Bingen to Raffaella Aleotti. We will be singing some newly-edited fifteenth- and sixteenth-century polyphony from convent manuscripts as part of this thrilling programme.
Finally, Deborah and Laurie will be leading a number of workshops in 2019, starting on 4 May for the NorthWest Early Music Forum, looking at Palestrina’s Missa Confitebor tibi. We will have details of other events, including our 2019 course for Triora Musica, very soon!
Wishing you all a bright and happy holiday season – here with some carols from the Biffoli-Sostegni Codexrecorded at Brighton Early Music Festival, November 2017.