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Saturday July 27, 2013 Consorts à la Cisraritanienne for as many as will

Also known as the New-Jersey “non-clave”

Open afternoon of consort playing. Invitations were sent by e-mail (or by phone, in the case of one or two remaining Luddites) to all New Jersey viol players that we know about, and to selected friends and colleagues further afield in the region. We had Sheryl, Roland and Doug from the consort, five other viol players of various levels and lengths of experience, and some friends and viol-curious orchestral string players.

We played three-part Gibbons, five-part Lawes, six-part Coprario (almost all of it!), eight-part Praetorius. Light refreshments (partially pot-luck) were served, and a good time was had by all. At least one player who was present has been playing viols for 45 years; our greenest violist started last summer and acquired an instrument of his own only this year — and was holding his own brilliantly against the more seasoned players.  In other words, we had the characteristic intergenerational, pro-am mix in which the viola da gamba community frequently rejoices.

We’ve done this sort of thing three or four times before, calling it “New Jersey Viol Day” or similar, but this is the first time that it has been officially sponsored by the consort as an organization (if you call this organized…). We’ll do it again!

Our friend Alasdair Thompson organized a similar play-in in Somerville (Massachusetts, USA) on the preceding Thursday evening, and coined the term “Non-clave” to describe it — i.e., a consort meet-up taking place while the annual “Conclave” of the Viola da Gamba Society of America is in progress elsewhere. We immediately appropriated the felicitous term and are hoping it will go viral in the Gambenwelt.

Saturday February 16, 2013 Viola da Gamba Society – New England.

Workshop at Brandeis University: “The Publishers”, directed by Roland.

Let’s take a look at music for several viols that was put into print when it was new.

Printed music—whether set in movable type, engraved, or (toward the end of the period) lithographed—was the exception rather than the rule for more than three centuries following Petrucci’s first music prints at the height of the Renaissance period. Until the nineteenth century, music of all kinds, both vocal and instrumental, circulated primarily as handwritten copies. Even when music was printed, press runs were small, and handwritten copies made from the prints might easily outnumber the printed copies.

The viol ensemble repertoire that actually made it into print is varied: ranging from sixteenth-century dance and chanson collections (e.g., Attaingnant, Susato) and the sizable English “apt for voices or viols” songbag to ensemble suites from the Continent (e.g., Schein) to music for multiple basses from the period after the small viols’ vogue had lamentably passed—and it even includes a few prints of music from our core repertoire of English consort music (e.g., Dowland, Gibbons, Locke).

Does all this music have something in common? Is it the tip of the iceberg? The cream of the crop? A random sampling? The most appealing to a wide audience of players? Let’s dig in and see what conclusions we can draw, what questions we can raise!

Lecture-demo, presented by Roland Hutchinson: “Reconstructing the Italian-language edition of Thomas Morley’s Canzonets to Two Voyces.”

Scholars have long know that Morley’s two-part canzonets borrowed both their texts and some of their musical material from printed Italian madrigal collections. It is also known that Morley originally published these canzonets in two versions, one with Italian texts and the other with English texts, though all known surviving copies are of the English-texted version only.

We’ll have a look at how the complete publishing history of these now-standard teaching and repertoire pieces became known to researchers from the mid-ninteenth century to the mid-twentieth. We’ll speculate as to why no one has until now undertaken a reconstruction of the Morley’s Italian-language versions—despite the fact that all the materials needed to do so have been readily available and were described in one quite prominent place no later than 1962. Finally, we’ll look at my own reconstruction for what light it can shed on these marvelously wrought duets, and I’ll introduce my new, Creative-Commons licensed bilingual edition of Morley’s complete vocal and instrumental two-voice canzonets in a format that fully takes the needs of viol players into account.

July 29-August 11, 2012 American String Teachers Association/New Jersey Chamber Music Institute

Residential program for young players of violin, viola, cello, and double bass on the campus of Kean University. Roland is teaching a viola da gamba elective class, introducing young string players to viol playing, viol consort literature, and early music.

July 21-29, 2012 Viola da Gamba Society of American 50th-Anniversary Conclave

Roland is teaching at this gathering of over 300 viol enthusiasts, from beginners to world-renouned artists, on the campus of the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware.He’ll be giving a class on “Songs Every Viol Player Should Know, ” moderating a faculty discussion on teaching viol to players of modern string instruments, and playing tenor viol and pardessus de viole in two faculty mini-concerts.

Sunday March 4, 2012 at 5 pm. Choral Evensong in Montclair, New Jersey

The Cisraritanian Consort of Viols will performs music by English and continental composers of the 16th and 17th centuries in collaboration with the choir and organ of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (Montclair, New Jersey) under Charles Hunter, director of music, at the church’s Choral Evensong service on  All are welcome; there is no admission charge, and childcare will be provided.

The consort will play instrumental fantasias, in nomines, and canzonas by William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Giovanni Gabrieli, and Samuel Scheidt. The choir, with consort and organ accompanying, will sing settings of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis by Gibbons as well as Gregorio Allegri’s famous “Miserere.” This “Miserere” is the psalm setting that was jealously guarded for more than a century (under threat of excommunication) as the private treasure of the Sistine Chapel Choir, until a fourteen-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was able to write down its score from memory after having heard the choirsing it just once. Please help yourself to a flyer, suitable for posting!