Baroque Workshop Summer School 2020

French theorbo by Wolfgang Emmerich

16-23 August 2020

La Musique de la Chambre du Roi - Music in Versailles before 1715

The Baroque Workshop Summer School 2020 will take place in the historic town of Wolfenbüttel, home to Michael Praetorius and Johann Rosenmüller. Also Johann Theile, Reinhard Keiser, Johann Adolf Hasse, Carl Heinrich Graun, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and many other great composers were linked to this most important art loving court. Today it is known for the Herzog-August-Bibliothek, one of the greatest libraries in the world. The churches were Praetorius and  Rosenmüller worked and are buried still stand and the town is absolutely charming, nothing more then a short walk away.

We shall focus on chamber music from the period of Louis XIV and recreate the music played in the king's private chambers. Low French instruments will be called for. Since traverso players who are serious about French music usually have an early three piece flute at 400 Hz (French chamber pitch) or 392 Hz (French opera pitch), we'll provide harpsichords at these two standards. Viols and lutes can tune down with ease.

The following collections are are most important:

Marin Marais: 'Pièces en trio' (1692)

Michel de la Barre: 'Permier livre des trio' (1707)

Robert de Visée: 'Pièces de Theorbe et de Luth' (1716)


Michael Dollendorf - Baroque Flute, Voice Flute

Juliane Laake - Viola da Gamba , Dessus de viole

Knut Trautvetter - Theobo, Baroque Guitar

Pieter Dirksen - Harpsichord

This Summer School is dedicated to 17th century French music from the court of Versailles. It is open to music students and musicians who would like to immerse themselves into this world for a week.

French music should flow with the same ease as the language. This doesn't happen if the 'Agréments' or embellishments are not in place. They are not ornaments as in the Italian style but more 'wesentliche Manieren' as the Germans put it, and they can't be left out to make it simple. This is often confusing to players who come to French music after studying other styles.

Morning classes will be with your principal teacher. Here individual lessons can be arranged and the chamber music parts can be prepared. In the afternoon ensembles are formed every day to work on chamber music.


Michael Dollendorf -  Baroque Flute , Voice flute

It was in France that the newly developed three piece flute with a keyed foot was first introduced to chamber music. The most important makers were the Hotteterre family who started to build modern woodwinds around 1640,  Jean-Jacques Rippert (* around 1645 - †1724 in Paris), Pierre Naust (* around 1660 - † 1709 in Paris), Pierre Jaillard Bressan (in England: Peter Bressan) (*1663 in Bourg-en-Bresse - †1731 in Tournai). Their instruments reflect the chamber pitch (400 Hz) and the opera pitch (392 Hz and lower). Recorder players with voice flutes at these pitches may also sign up. You need to read French g clef.

We'll focus on the music of de la Barre, the 'Pièces en trio' by Marin Marais and the 'Pièces de Theorbe et de Luth' von Robert de Visée, published as open score in 1716. There are SPES facsimiles of this music available (via Edition Walhall) or you find it on IMSLP.

Juliane Laake - Viola da Gamba , Dessus de viole

Marin Marais (1656–1728) is one of the greatest musicians ever at Versailles. His five book for viol provide the backbone of the repertoire, but we will also look at his 'Pièces en trio' and the chamber music by de Visée and others.

Knut Trautvetter - Theorbo and Baroque Guitar

Robert de Visée was the most important player of these instruments and the guitar teacher to the king. Solo suites can be worked on in the individuall lessons. But the theorbo was also a most valued instrument for chamber music and contiuno playing. We'll work on the 'Pièces de Theorbe et de Luth' von Robert de Visée, published in staff notation in 1716 and on the 'Pièces en trio' by Marin Marais from 1692.

Pieter Dirksen - Harpsichord, Organ

Louis Couperin, Jean-Henry D'Anglebert and Élisabeth-Claude Jacquet de La Guerre are the composers of this early period in Versailles. All their works can be brought in for the individual lessons. There will be lessons on French style Basso continuo playing and the sources covering it.

We work at the French chamber pitch (400 Hz) and French opera pitch (392 Hz or below). Harpsichords will be provided, theorbos, guitars and viols can tune down.


Registration ends on 15 June 2020 but we work on a first come first serve basis. Please sign up early. It helps us a lot with planing the repertoire and safes us from surprises like having 11 sopranos, 1 viol, 4 sopranino recorders and a harpsichord.

Each class needs four participants to make it happen, the maximum number is six. This is to ensure intense work. We reserve the right to cancel the class if there aren't enough registrations. In this case the full amount will be refunded. Participants can cancel until 1 July 2020 and get a refund. If you have to cancel thereafter, you are free to send somebody else to take your spot and replace you but we can't pay you back.

The workshop starts with a reception at 4:00 pm on Sunday 16 August at the Prinzenpalais, followed by a guided tour through town and some music making in the evening. We'll point out the locations were the classes will take place. Besides the Prinzenpalais this is the Villa Seeliger used by the Landesmusikakademie Niedersachsen. It's a 5-10 minute walk between these locations. The Prinzenpalais has no weelchair access. If you have special needs, please tell us before you register and we see how we can accommodate you.

The Summer School classes are 10:00 am - 1 pm and 2:30 - 6 pm. The Summer School ends with a final concert from 3:00 - 5:00 pm on Sunday 23 August.

There is a security system in place at the Villa Seeliger. Just partisipants can enter with a special badge and the house is looked at 6 pm. During the day there are small practise rooms available there, if you want to go over your parts on your own. For the evenings we'll arrange for an open room at the Prinzenpalais, if somebody feels the need to keep playing...

Price: the Baroque Workshop Summer School is € 480,- for the week. Active participants only. There is no such thing as 'just sitting in as a listener'.

Sign up: your are registered after we received your registration form and your money transfer.

Getting there: Wolfenbüttel is a 10 minutes train ride south of Braunschweig. If you fly into Berlin it takes about 2:30 hours to get there, from Hannover it's just an hour.

Staying there: There is a Jugendgästehaus, a Bundesakademie, many hotels, holiday apartments and a campground. Please arrange for your own housing according to your needs and budget. Jugendgästehaus is very nice and close to the Villa Seeliger and the Rosenmüller church, the Hotel Bayrischer Hof is the most central, the Park Hotel the most fancy.... your choice....

Baroque Workshop Summer School 2020 | Michael Dollendorf - Early Music


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