Renaissance Workshop Summer School 2021

Lirone by Marco Ternovec - Photo: André Wagenzik

7-14 August 2021

Diminutions - Festival Music from Florence and Ferrara - The Italian Roots of Michael Praetorius

The Renaissance Workshop Summer School 2021 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.

2021 is the 400 anniversary of Michael Praetorious' death. We want to commemorate this most important composer and publisher who supplies us with a wealth of information on the musical life of the late 16th / early 17th century.

We shall focus on the transitional period from 1540 - 1620 when diminution practices were developed and polyphony changed - the Basso seguente became a Basso continuo.

The big names are Ganassi, Ortiz, Virgiliano, Bassano, Dalla Casa, Rognoni and Bonizzi. And the Madrigal composers de Rore, Marenzio and Gesualdo.

Michael Dollendorf - Recorder, Cornetto, Sackbut

Lukas Henning - Lute

Juliane Laake - Viols

Amanda Markwick - Renaissance flute

Sven Schwannberger - Voice

There will be individual lessons and consort classes in the morning, open to the other students as listeners. Singers will work on Madrigals and study the Italian diminution practice. Wind players, viols and lutes will also focus on the diminution tradition. In the afternoon we will arrange mixed consorts. Please don't expect to spend all day with your group of instruments!

For wind and string players mastering diminutions is essential. Every participant should prepare at least two pieces: a solo Ricercar by Bassano or Virgiliano and a piece with Basso continuo based on the melodies of 'Anchor che col partire', 'Doulce memoire', 'Susanne ung jour' or 'Vestiva i colli'.

Singers will be working on Madrigals and Chansons by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Cipriano de Rore, Giaches de Wert, Jacques Arcadelt, Carlo Gesualdo and Luzzasco Luzzaschi. They will also get voice lessons and instructions on how to embellish their parts.

The lute players will focus on the solo repertoire by Vincenzo und Michelangelo Galilei, Simone Molinaro and Girolamo Kapsperger and play intabulations of the vocal works mentioned above.

All together we'll play ' Musiche fatte nella nozze'.  This is the wedding music of 1539, when Cosimo de Medici, just twenty years old, married Eleonor of Toledo. Antonio Gardane printed the music in Venice the same year. The main composer is Francesco Corteccia (1504-1571), also the  MC for this occasion.
There are two kind of  pieces: ceremonial music performed in various Tuscan cities when the couple showed itself  to its subjects, and intermedii, entr'acte music, performed in between the acts of a play staged for the entertainment of the guests. The music was sung and played with organs, viols, flutes, lutes, recorders, crumhorns, cornetts, sackbuts, harpsichords, rebec, harps.

We'll be working at 440 Hz and with a quarter-comma meantone temperament.

A very good read:

Anthony Newcomb
The Madrigal in Ferrara 1579-1597
Princeton University Press 1980

Most of the relevant material is available at a discount price until November 2020. Maybe you want to order now and start preparing early:


Registration ends on 15 June 2021 but we work on a first come first serve basis. The number of participants is limited to six per class. Please sign up early. It helps us a lot with the planing ...

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 30 June 2021 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 Saturday 7 August at the Prinzenpalais, and some ensemble playing with everybody. There will be a guided tour through town at some point. Visits to the famous Herzog-August library and the Palace Museum should be arranged during lunch breaks. 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. Classes are 10:00 am - 1:30 pm and 3:00 - 6:30 pm. The Summer School ends with a final concert at 11:00 am on Saturday 15 August.

Price: the Renaissance Workshop Summer School is € 630,- for the eight days. 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 two 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....

Renaissance Workshop Summer School 2021 | Michael Dollendorf - Early Music


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