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Music for Renaissance Wind Instruments

Workshop directed by Tim Bayley, Gloucester, 21st April 2018

A whole day of playing ‘Loud Wind’ instruments: Shawms, Curtals, Cornetti, Sackbuts, Crumhorns; for some this would sound like hell, for others like heaven. When these instruments were first around the ability to produce any sound at all seemed wonderful, and tuning and playing musically went by the board at times. However, over the years people like Tim Bayley have shown us that tuning and playing musically were not only possible but achievable, and that these strange and wonderful instruments could produce a lovely sound playing splendid music.

Recorder players were also invited to the day. Several of the recorder players had asked if it was all right to bring modern instruments to this renaissance music day. The answer was ‘yes, of course’. This is an opportunity to play this sort of repertoire and we are not going to quibble about details. In the beautiful Parliament Room at Gloucester Cathedral Tim guided us through many pieces by Gabrieli, Priuli and others (I’m afraid that I didn’t note down any of the other composers as I was too busy just enjoying the music). With eight recorder players and a dozen or so ‘loud wind’ players (including five sackbuts!) we played pieces for multiple choirs, with Tim showing great skill in arranging the groups to demonstrate the contrast between the softer sounds of the recorders and the fuller sounds of the loud winds. Having so many instruments made for a terrific day’s playing, with great variety, and I think that a wonderful sound was made by all. Thank you, Tim, for making the day possible.

- Fenella Spiers




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Last modified: 14 June 2018