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The Siege of York Project


2015 has got off to a busy start, as we prepare for a recording of music from the English Civil War at the end of February. Over the course of the next few months, I'll be providing some musings on this programme - musical and historical perspectives, how I came to explore and research the period, and the reasons it has been such an important part of the choir's repertoire for the last 20 years!

Back in 1996, I was midway through my Masters course in Musicology at the University of York under the tutelage of Peter Seymour. While I knew my final submission, and subsequent PhD research, would be focussing on French Baroque repertoire, I was using the earlier part of the course to explore the dissemination of Italian music in seventeenth-century England through the medium of manuscripts. I had spent much of the Christmas term looking at library collections, including the British Library and Barber Institute of Arts, but the most enticing was the college library at Christ Church, Oxford, and I explored an autograph manuscript by John Blow (MS 14), which offered a fascinating insight into Italian influences at the beginning of the Restoration, featuring a series of Latin duets by Blow, Monteverdi, Rovetta and Carissimi, as well as English anthems by Blow, Christopher Gibbons, Matthew Locke and Henry Cooke.

It was while at Christ Church that I also explored another manuscript, MS 768-70, entitled 'Mr Will: Lawes his Psalmes for 1. 2. & 3. voces to the Common tunes' , a unique collection of psalm settings scored for solo voices and congregation. More to follow......

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