Fourteen intrepid singers from the USA, Canada, UK, and mainland Europe made their way up the mountain on the first Sunday of July to join Deborah and Laurie in the medieval mountain town of Triora, high in the Argentine mountains above the Italian Riviera. Despite delays caused by thunderstorms and a stray suitcase, we managed to congregate together for a week of singing and laughter, punctuated by pizza, Prosecco, and the odd hike around the surrounding countryside.
We particularly welcomed our four bursary holders, postgraduate students with an interest in women’s polyphony – the bursaries made possible by a generous grant from the University of Southampton.
This year, we covered a wide chronological range of music, from 12th-century two-voice polyphony found in Bologna MS Q.11 to the five-voice voci pari early Baroque elegance of Alessandro Grandi. Highlights along the way included music from manuscripts originating in Montepellier in France, the convent of Las Huelgas in Burgos, a fifteenth-century convent in Verona, and the Biffoli-Sostegni Codex, which belonged to a pair of mid-sixteenth-century Florentine nuns. And, of course, plenty of the astonishing motets by Leonora d’Este!
Friday night we sang a setting of Compline by Palestrina to a packed church, and then on Saturday, the concert (complete with bilingual programme announcements) was attended by locals and tourists from all over the globe. Well done to all the participants – we really challenged you with difficult music and you absolutely nailed it! We are looking forward to the next time already….