Renaissance Workshop Summer School 2024

3-10 August 2024


Diminutions and playing 'alla Bastarda'

The Renaissance Workshop Summer School 2024 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.

In June 1539 Eleanor of Toledo and Cosimo de' Medici celebrated their wedding in Florence. The whole of Europe was watching and the music was printed the same year in Venice. The bride, 17 years of age, was the daughter of the Spanish Viceroy of Naples. The groom, age 20, was the heir to one of the most powerful families in Europe.

In 2024 we want to play this wedding music with all the voices and instruments that were involved: up to 24 singers and recorders, flutes, cornettos, sackbuts, crumhorns, rebecs, viols, lirones, lutes, keyboards, harps and bird voices.

An excellent introduction you find here:

Festivities for the marriage of
Cosimo I. Duke of Florence in 1539

Andrew C. Minor and Bonner Mitchell
University of Missouri Press

Our team of teachers is the same as every year for the Summer School:

Amanda Markwick - Renaissance flute

Ibrahim Aziz - Viol

Lee Santana - Lute - Chitarrone - Renaissance guitar

Michael Dollendorf - Recorder - Renaissance winds - Lirone

Sven Schwannberger - Voice - Vocal Ensemble

For individual lessons we shall focus on the middle years of the 16th century, starting with Luis Milán's 'El maestro' from 1536 up to Diego Ortiz 'Trattado de glosas' from 1553 and the diminution methods by Silvestro Ganssi 'Opera intitulata Fontegara' (Venice, 1535) for recorder and 'Regola Rubertina (Venice, 1542) and Lettione Seconda (Venice, 1543) for viol. Also all the lute music by composers like Francesco da Milano or Marco dall'Aquila can be played.

On all instruments diminutions and playing 'alla Bastarda' can be studied. This tradition comes from ornamenting vocal music, was picked up by instrumentalists and lead to highly virtuosic music for lutes, viols, recorders, flutes, cornetts, sackbuts and the new violin family instruments. A great starting point can be the 'ricercate e passaggi' series of LondonProMusica Editions. This is a nearly complete modern edition of all the diminutions by Aurelio Virgiliano, Girolamo dalla Casa, Giovanni Bassano, Richardo Rognioni und Vincenzo Bonizzi.

We want to limit the choices to two Mardigals: 'Ancor che col partire' by Cipriano de Rore and 'Doulce memoire' by Sandrin (Pierre Regnault). This will allow the lute and harpsichord players to limit their preparation time. We also want to recommend two books: George Houle, Doulce memoire, A Study in Performance Practice, 24 versions of the Chanson for voices, strings, winds, lutes and keyboards, Indiana University Press. János Bali, A Baroque Ornamentation Tutor, Edito Musica Budapest. Both are inexpensive college textbooks.

A book to read in order to prepare would be 'Il libro del cortegiano' by Baldassarre Castiglione, first published in Italy in 1528 and in Spain in 1534. It is an account on courtly life in Urbino by Castiglione, who before had been a diplomat and who was also a professional reader at the Vatican for Pope Leo X.

There will be individual lessons and consort classes in the morning.  Singers will study the Medici wedding music and can work on ornamentation. With the lute players they can work on the 1536 'Intavolatura de li Madgrigali di Verdelotto'. Wind players, viols and lutes will also focus on consort playing. In the afternoon we will arrange for mixed consorts. Please don't expect to spend all day with your group of instruments!

In the afternoon we will arrange for chamber music in mixed settings. Please don't expect to spend all day with your group of instruments!

We'll be working at [408 Hz] and mostly at 458 Hz since we have matched sets of recorders, flutes, cornettos, viols and a harpsichord at these pitches, exactely a whole step apart for easy transpositions. For the wind players we provide these consort instruments. We do have a nice consort of Henry Jaye viol copies (to late and wrong country for this year - we know) for players from abroad who don't want to fly with their instruments. If you have Renaissance viols - that would be great. The lute players should adapt to the high pitch of 458 Hz this year either by re-stinging their lutes if the scale is short enough or by tuning to 408 Hz and setting a capo to the second fret. Dieter Schossig can make these capos. Please measure the width of our lute neck at the second fret and place an order not later than 8 weeks before you need it.



Registration ends on 15 June 2024 but we work on a first come first serve basis. The number of participants is limited to six per instrument. Please sign up early. It helps us a lot with the planing ...

Once we received your registration form and payment, we send you the bulk of the music, so you can prepare for up to one year.

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 also cancel until 15 June 2024 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 3 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 10 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'. Guest are welcome to the final concert.

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 2024 | Michael Dollendorf - Early Music


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