Lythe Chamber Music Course was held for the first time on 20-24 July 2014.
Featuring the keyboard instruments of local builder, Johannes Secker (fortepiano, harpsichord and clavichord) and early clarinets by a variety of makers including Guy Cowley, the course allowed a hand-picked selection of talented students,mainly from conservatoire and university backgrounds, to focus on developing their specialist performance practice knowledge on period instruments of the highest quality.
Led by Jane Booth (clarinets, chalumeaux) and John Irving (keyboards) the course offered an in-depth study of historical playing styles appropriate to the 18th century, along with time to try out these alternative approaches on high-quality reproduction instruments from the period. Three keyboard instruments by Johannes Secker (a Flemish harpsichord from 2007, a German fortepiano from 2011 and a German clavichord still awaiting its finishing touches when the course began, offering fascinating insights into this ‘fine tuning’ stage) were available throughout, alongside another harpsichord recently restored by him. Students were therefore able to try out different facets of baroque and classical keyboard music in intimate spaces close by Johannes’ workshop.
Jane, John and Johannes were ably supported by course administrator James Brookmyre
(who also performed a range of 17th and 18th-century works for recorder in the week’s second concert). Participants enjoyed a varied combination of individual lessons, group chamber music sessions, detailed instruction on keyboard and woodwind instrument building from Johannes and Guy Cowley, a film showing, and four public concerts in settings local to Lythe. This made for an intensive week’s music making and challenged the the students to rethink their approaches to music sound production and interpretation.
Music performed during the week spanned two centuries and included works by Castello, Graupner, Bach, Handel Vanhal, Lefevre, and Schubert featuring recorder, chalumeaux, clarinets, bassoon, fortepiano, harpsichord and clavichord.
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