Baroque Week.  Patron: Trevor Pinnock CBE   Artistic Director: Theresa Caudle

Welcome from the Artistic Director

Welcome to our new website with details of the 2023 course!

I am happy to report that we achieved maximum numbers in 2022 with the very welcome return of participants from all over Europe, and even Israel, the USA and South Africa. Sadly, two people had to miss the course due to succumbing to Covid but happily nobody contracted it while we were there. I am grateful to everyone who took Covid tests before coming and did their utmost to ensure that we had as safe an environment as possible and were able to be much more relaxed once we were ensconced at Queen Anne’s. The atmosphere was wonderful and I know that everyone was very happy to be back playing and singing together with old friends and also forging connections with the newcomers. With a surge of excellent new string players, not only was the standard of playing the highest that I have witnessed at Baroque Week but we had the best ever ratio of strings and wind, making it easy to form a variety of mixed ensembles. (Thanks too to Telemann!)  

I was also very happy that, thanks to generous donations following the 2021 course, we were in a position to award eight full or part bursaries. This is the most we have ever been able to offer and it is an invaluable part of the Baroque Week Charity’s work to give the opportunity to students and young professionals (and others who would not otherwise be able to attend due to financial constraints) to learn more about the repertoire and to develop their performance skills. They gain immeasurably from the experience and also give a lot to the course with their combination of youth and talent.

I am blessed with a wonderful team of tutors and am very happy to say that they will all be returning for the 2023 course. Lynda Sayce, who replaced David Miller as our theorbo tutor, proved to be a most excellent addition to the team with her blend of scholarship and musical expertise, including her skills of playing flute and viol in addition to members of the lute family. I am really pleased to have such a wide range of ages in the team now and I am sure that everyone who was there in 2022 will agree that not only are the younger tutors fabulous musicians but are extremely accomplished and sensitive teachers too. I’m particularly grateful to Alice Poppleton, who helped me and Jill so much in her new role as assistant administrator.  I am also very happy to report that Clare Beesley has accepted my invitation to join the Artistic Committee (alongside Steven Devine, Francis Michels and Roger Deats), which helps and supports me with decision-making and planning of themes, repertoire and all matters musical.

Our theme for 2023 is The Grand Tour: France, which will provide a wealth of repertoire for all instruments, and voices, from the early 17th century through to the latter half of the 18th century. There will be sessions for a large orchestra with mixed wind and strings in suites by Lully and Rameau, strings alone in music for “Les Vingt-quatre Violins du Roi”, an oboe band with Zoë, projects for recorders and flutes including exploration of flute concertos by Blavet and Buffardin with Clare, and Lynda will investigate the music of Robert de Visée with lutes and theorbos. For singers there will be music for various ensembles of voices with instruments including motets by du Mont, Charpentier, Campra and de Lalande, and it will be a wonderful opportunity to explore solo cantatas with instruments by composers such as Monteclair, Clérambault and Rameau. Organised sessions will focus on the theme but you are of course as usual free to make your own choice of music in the sessions you fix up for yourselves.

Thank you to all those of you who have sent us your feedback regarding the 2022 course. It is very helpful to receive your comments and suggestions; we are very pleased that these were overwhelmingly positive and complimentary but we take any criticisms seriously and do our best to incorporate your suggestions for changes or improvements wherever possible. The course is ever evolving and we do our best to tailor it to your desires, although with more than eighty participants there will always be a few things some people like more than others! Many of you were enthusiastic about the practical workshops on technical and stylistic matters although some thought that thirty minutes was not long enough and also that it was a pity to have to choose between them with several running concurrently. Several of you also expressed worry that the work-load was too great for the tutors and I too am conscious that it was too punishing a schedule for them, and overly frenetic for participants as well.  So this year we will try to make the morning a little more relaxed by abandoning the workshops and talks at 8.45 and will start the day at 9.15 with Session 1.  In their place we will have a “Technical Tuesday” Session 1 where we will divide into different groups of instruments to work on specific technical or stylistic issues with the appropriate tutors (the singers will work with Steven and Kate).  I suspect that one session of an hour-and-a-half will feel more productive than three thirty minute sessions. Clare Beesley will continue with her informative and entertaining series of talks on Burney’s Travels but this will be after lunch on Saturday.  We also very much hope that Mary Collins will be able to return to give a workshop on French baroque dance.

Please do continue to spread the word about Baroque Week – personal recommendation is always the best advertisement – and book early, especially if you are keen to get an en-suite room as these sell out very quickly. We are able to offer several full or part bursaries to those who would otherwise be unable to attend so if this applies to you please look on the Bursaries page. A big “thank you” to Jill for designing the new website – I hope you will agree that it is a huge improvement.

Enjoy browsing and I hope to see you in August!