Workshop directed by Tim Bayley

Cheltenham, 2nd April 2022

I put the date of 2nd April in my diary as soon as I saw details of the workshop, to be led by Tim Bayley of the Yorks Waits. It was a beacon of light giving me a reason for the months of daily practice, to keep myself in trim for the day when I would be able to join in making Renaissance music again, with fellow cornetts, sackbuts, shawms, curtals and recorders. I hadn’t played my cornett with others since September, and it has been a long six months. We greeted each other joyously in the airy St Nicholas church and it was clear many had suffered as I had from the lack of playing opportunities.

Tim had brought a large selection of delightful music by various composers, including Praetorius, Hans Hassler and Andrea Gabrieli. Several were quite unusual, with surprising rhythms (Hassler), while Gabrieli’s polyphony was pleasurably familiar. There were 24 of us gathered. For most pieces we were pretty well one to a part – always a good challenge to rise to – and often in four choirs. I think Tim was pleased with how we rose to the challenges, and ran the day very well. He recognised when some of us needed a rest for our lips, giving us breaks for tea and coffee; he varied the pieces and required us to work at them until we were able to play them through fairly well.

It was an uplifting day, and 3rd December is marked in my diary already: Tim will run  a workshop in Dorchester Abbey focussing on Christmas music (with an evening concert by the Yorks Waits).  I hope to see many of you there, and hopefully before that, at other EMF events.

Rachel Berger