Last updated: 3 June 2021
For more information on concerts, special services and workshops I am giving in the next few months, please see below:
Sat05Jan201910am-5pmSolihull Methodist Church, Bossomfield Road, Solihull, B91 1LD
O beata Lux – a day of light in winter
Fri29Mar20197:30 pmEastern Crypt, Canterbury Cathedral. CT1 2EH
Information and booking details will appear here.
Mon08Apr20197:00 pmGresham Centre, Gresham St, London EC2V 7BX
Details and booking information will appear here.
Sat11May2019Parliament Room, Gloucester Cathedral, GL1 2LX
Exploring ‘Golden Age’ Portuguese polyphony from the city of Évora.
Masterpieces by Manuel Cardoso, Felipe de Magalhães and Duarte Lobo
Booking information will appear here.
Sat18May2019To Be Confirmed
Venue and theme to be confirmed.
Information will appear here.
Sat01Jun2019TBCSt Alban's Cathedral
Evensong followed by a brief recital.
A live talk for the North West Early Music Forum
William Byrd's last two publications, the Gradualia of 1605 and 1607, are a summation of his skill: mercurial, concise and utterly beautiful settings of the texts required to celebrate Catholic Mass on all the important days of the year.
In a year like no other, NWEMF marks the start of Advent with this live online talk by David Allinson. For this seasonal talk (open to all) David will look at Byrd’s motets for Advent: Rorate caeli, Tollite portas, Ave Maria and Ecce Virgo concipiet.
Scores will be sent round electronically in advance, and participants are encouraged to mark up the music as David explores their texts, structure and expressive power. Although it won’t be possible to sing together, you will be able to sing along, muted, when the music is played; there will also be an opportunity to ask questions.
Members of NWEMF can attend for free and will have five days' priority booking. For everyone else, booking costs £5. Book using the form here.
Wed16Dec20207:30 pmOnline via Zoom
A live talk for the North East Early Music Forum
As Christmas approaches, in a year like no other, NEEMF spends a December evening exploring two of the greatest Renaissance motets in honour of the Virgin Mary.
Mouton’s Nesciens Mater is a celebrated canonic wonder, in which four parts are strictly followed by four more, to create an expressive and apparently effortless eight-part tapestry conjuring up the image of Mary nursing the infant Jesus. The luminous polyphony of Verdelot is less well known, but Beata es, Virgo Maria is scintillating: structured around two cantus fermi the seven-part texture is rich and lyrical. Both pieces are pinnacles of the Franco-Flemish polyphonic art.
Scores will be sent round electronically in advance, and participants are encouraged to mark up the music as David explores the context, structure, meaning and performing challenges of each piece. Although it won’t be possible to sing together, you will be able to sing along, muted, when the music is played; there will also be an opportunity to ask questions at the end.
Thu21Jan20217:30 pmOnline via ZoomAs everyone knows, miserable music is the most enjoyable. So why not dispel the darkness of a midwinter evening with some deliciously penitential polyphony from early modern Iberia?Philippe Rogier (d.1596) worked for Philip II of Spain and was one of the last great Franco-Flemish polyphonists. His brilliantly rhetorical Laboravi in gemitu meo is sufficiently powerful that Thomas Morley thought to pass it off as his own work, with only minor tweaks.Filipe de Magalhães (d.1652) trained at Évora alongside Cardoso and Duarte Lobo, yet Grove Dictionary reckons him to be ‘perhaps the greatest Portuguese composer of his time’. Certainly, Commissa mea pavesco is an unforgettable thunderbolt of emotion.Both motets are dramatic outpourings, laden with emotive dissonances and exquisite suspensions which are a joy to sing.I will briefly introduce each piece and draw out points of technical interest, moments of special beauty and vocal challenge, but the bulk of the session will be spent singing (muted) together.Advance booking is essential, here.Attendance is free, donations encouraged.
Thu04Mar20217:30 pmOn Zoom for TVEMFSurrexit pastor bonus — motets of hope and resurrectionby L’Héritier, Victoria and othersAn online talk for Thames Valley Early Music ForumThursday 4 March 2021 at 7.30pm on ZoomAdvance booking essential, via this link: click here.Minimum admission price £5, plus optional donation.After a dark and difficult winter, we are thirsting for brighter times. So, although this talk falls during the penitential season of Lent, our theme is resurrection. With a focus is on polyphonic settings of the text for Easter Day, Surrexit pastor bonus ('The good shepherd is risen’), we will explore sublime pieces by Jean L’Héritier, Victoria and other high Renaissance masters.While Victoria’s Surrexit shimmers with joy, L’Héritier’s setting casts a spell of awestruck wonder and mystery. In this talk, David leads us through a lively mixture of historical context, musical analysis and practical interpretation, helping us to explore this beautiful music from multiple angles, and in ways not usually possible at a regular choral workshop.
Sat06Mar20212:30 pmOnline talk for SWEMFAdvance booking essential, via this link: click hereAlthough this event is free to attend, please consider making a donation.***********************************I'm delighted to be giving a live talk for the South West Early Music Forum.A handful of much-loved motets and anthems are such staples of the sacred choral repertoire that it’s easy to treat them as ‘part of the furniture’. Our dog-eared copies of the Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems gather dust on the shelf as we seek out novel and challenging repertoire.In this session, I will champion 'miraculous miniatures' including Tallis’s If ye love me and Byrd’s Ave verum corpus, in the hope of reminding you why they are such gloriously successful pieces of music.For many choral singers, such repertoire forms their first experience of early music, and it’s easy to forget how good they are.- How and why did these canonical pieces survive the vicissitudes of history?
- What purpose did they serve in their own time, and how have they come to epitomise a particular era of English music?This is a fascinating story of sectarianism, national identity, changing tastes and competing performance traditions.As well as looking afresh at the notes, this talk explores the musical and religious contexts around these familiar gems — Tallis composing for the new Anglican liturgy, Byrd serving a recusant Catholic context —each drawing on continental models to create pieces we now regard as the epitome of the English choral tradition.
Tue16Mar20217:30 pmOnline talk for BMEMF
An online workshop for the Border Marches Early Music Forum.
Psalm 42, with its poetic evocation of longing, has drawn soulful settings from the pen of many composers down the centuries, including Howells, Mendelssohn and Palestrina.
In this workshop we get to know two glorious polyphonic masterpieces, written about a century apart on the fringes of Western Europe, which set words from that psalm.
John Taverner (c.1490-1545) was one of the greatest early Tudor musicians. His sinuously woven Quemadmodum survives only as an untexted instrumental piece, but the words of psalm 42 fit so perfectly that we should be in little doubt that the piece was originally conceived for voices.
Our second work comes from Portugal during the period of Spanish rule. Sitivit anima mea by Manuel Cardoso (1566-1650) was published in 1625 and is perhaps the greatest single utterance by this wonderful composer. Drawing its text from psalms 42 and 55, the counterpoint is noble, abstract yet highly emotive, with its portrayal of the soul rising like a dove on the wing to find its rest.
Both pieces are a joy to sing: characterful, highly expressive melodic lines, with delicious suspensions, especially in the Cardoso. David will briefly draw out points of technical interest, moments of special beauty and vocal challenge, but the bulk of the session will be spent singing (muted) together. It should make for a lovely evening as we look towards spring.
Advance booking is essential, via www.bmemf.org.uk.
Attendence is free, but partcipants are invited to make donations to cover BMEMF's costs.
Mon10May2021Fri14May20218:00 pmOnline Talks
Booking and queries: via this link.
A series of five illustrated online lectures celebrating the music and legacy of the musicians of Ávila – focusing particularly on the music of Victoria and his contemporaries – Morales, Vivanco and Ribera.
At the core of every talk is Victoria: tracing his career and influences across the episodes, David selects representative works and asks questions about structure, style and the ways in which we perform and hear this music. From the juvenile brilliance of Super flumina Babylonis to the final, searing music of the 1603 Requiem, David urges you to listen afresh to Victoria, while championing the music of unjustly eclipsed contemporaries. All with his customary mixture of expertise, passion and humour.
These talks will be ‘illuminated’ with images of Ávila, music, virtual walks through the city and recipes to recreate the gastronomic taste of Ávila for those of us who have been lucky enough to visit – and those who have that pleasure yet to come. There will also be opportunities to sing some of the glorious music we are exploring together.
A Taste of Ávila will begin and end with live interactive chat opportunities where you can ask David questions in real time. All lectures will be broadcast on the Runbysingers YouTube Channel so you can catch up on any missed episodes if the live times don’t suit your schedule – or time zone.
Wed26May20217:30 pmOnline TalkA live online talk for the Southern Early Music Forum. Advance booking essential via http://www.semf.org.uk/. Minimum charge is £5.The Salve Regina is perhaps the most important Marian hymn in the Catholic church, to be sung daily through the summer months. During the late medieval period, as devotion to the mother of Jesus became increasingly popular, the market for polyphonic settings of the Salve Regina grew strongly, leading to a large number of beautiful and increasingly inventive compositions.The solemn tone chant melody is a gift for musicians: it opens with one of the most striking gestures in the whole repertoire: a four note motto for the salutation ’Salve’, ripe for development. And the chant closes with rapturous arcs of melisma for the epithets: ‘O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria’.Join me on this evening in May — traditionally the ‘month of Mary’ — as I trace the ways in which 16th century composers were inspired to quote, embed and elaborate upon the Salve Regina chant in ever more inventive polyphonic settings.I will also examine when and where these settings might have been sung, and who was funding the composition and performance of settings of this hymn to Jesus’s mother.A range of Salve Regina settings will be introduced, spanning a century or more from Okeghem to Victoria.There will be an opportunity to ask questions at the end.
*A live talk for the Thames Valley Early Music Forum*
This year, as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of Josquin’s death, the contradictions bound up in this figure become ever more glaring. He is the most famous composer of the early Renaissance, yet major parts of Josquin's biography are shrouded in mystery and his work-list is hotly contested.
Yet for contemporaries and followers, as for us, his name was a guarantee of quality and his music utterly distinctive, fusing the medieval inheritance of gothic abstraction with the new emotional directness of humanism. His works were transmitted across Europe, setting the bar in every major genre: Mass, motet and chanson.
In this talk, David Allinson will focus on the ways in which contemporaries and successors used pieces by Josquin as the basis of beautiful Mass settings. He will look at the ways in which composers took Josquin’s material and reworked it into lovely, rhapsodic Masses.
He will feature, in particular, Févin’s Missa Ave Maria, Morales's Missa Mille Regretz and Rore's Missa Præter rerum seriem - all exceptionally beautiful responses to Josquin’s material, which we will also spend time enjoying.
David will try to explain why Josquin was such a dominating presence among C16th century musicians, and what it is about his music that is so exceptional. Links to the scores will be on your booking receipt and the Zoom link will be sent by email the day before the event.
Attendance is £5 (plus voluntary donation) and advance booking is essential, via https://www.tvemf.org/forthcoming-events
Fri02Jul20218:00 pmhttps://www.runbysingers.online/product/josquin/*An online talk for Run by Singers*Josquin is the most famous composer of the early Renaissance period; 2021 marks the 500th anniversary of his death. His music is endlessly fascinating in its revolutionary balance of intellectual cleverness and direct emotion.In this talk, commissioned by Run by Singers, conductor and musicologist David Allinson explores the ways in which Josquin’s music engages the mind and touches the heart, picking out a few outstanding examples to share. He also poses questions: how can we ‘know’ Josquin, given that so much of his life-story is lost?How on earth did this composer's reputation shine, given that so many of the pieces attributed to him are by other people (and many of those are distinctly mediocre)?And how, among a field of superbly talented contemporaries, did Josquin come to be the most celebrated musician of his age?David will offer a lively, impassioned exploration of a much loved and much disputed figure: this is a *celebration* laced with opinion and humour.Advance booking is essential, via https://www.runbysingers.online/product/josquin/
Sun01Aug2021Sat07Aug2021Rendcomb College, Cirencester GL7 7HAI am delighted to be co-tutoring this residential summer school for voices and historical instruments in rural Gloucestershire, alongside David Hatcher.The repertoire is C16th and C17th music associated with saints and sainthood, from small-scale settings of the Litany of the Saints to grand, polychoral masterpieces, especially from Italy and Germany.This is our postponed programme from 2020. It will be wonderful to deliver it at last.Book now to ensure a place! Course brochure, pricing and application form are available here.