The Spinacino Consort

Artist Residency at Hawkwood: The Spinacino Consort

"This gave us four days of uninterrupted rehearsing and an amazing way to begin the new year! "

The Spinacino Consort were incredibly lucky to begin 2023 as artist in residents at Hawkwood. This gave us four days of uninterrupted rehearsing and an amazing way to begin the new year!

While the train strikes made travel challenging, once we had arrived (and had our first of the delicious many coffees, teas, and cakes!), the inspirational environment fostered at Hawkwood provided the perfect space to immerse ourselves in the music.

We spent this valuable time building and rehearsing a new programme from late fifteenth and early sixteenth century Italy. The music is found in what are called ‘textless chansonniers’, Italian manuscripts collections that contain secular music originally of Franco-Flemish origin, but the texts were lost or corrupted in its transmission to Italy. Found along with these chansons are frottola, a style of song originating out of an Italian tradition of sung improvised poetry and was a precursor to the more commonly known form of the madrigal.

The absence of texts has produced many debates on how this music was performed, were they played instrumentally or vocally, and with or without texts? Our combination of instruments and singers reflected the electiveness of this repertoire, consisting of three separate instruments, lute (Eric Thomas), viol (Claire Horacek), and recorders (Ondrej Hanus), and two singers (Elizabeth Wilson and Heloise Bernard). This allowed us to experiment with different combination of instruments and singers and vocalisation (singing a vowel instead of text), opening an extra dimension to the music.

Michael Hamilton from real world videos visited us on Thursday afternoon to film three short promotional videos, where we performed Adieu mes amours and La Bernardina by Josquin des Prez, and Dal Lecto Levava by Michale Pesanti. Michael professionalism was greatly appreciated, with his creativity, technical ability and skill creating three videos which will greatly help us in promoting this programme.

On the Thursday evening (after an amazing dinner!) we performed a short concert for our fellow artists in residence, who with their company and generosity of spirit greatly enhanced the residency! Thank you to all the staff at Hawkwood, who without their hard work this would not be possible, and for making us so welcome.

Original Blog Entry by The Spinacino Consort.

With thanks to the Francis Reckitt Art Trust, DCMS & Arts Council England for their funding that make these residencies possible. Read about our Artist Residency Programme here.

The Spinacino Consort

The Spinacino Consort is a Scottish-based early music ensemble committed to revitalizing the music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries through captivating and fervent performances. Their programs are steeped in cutting-edge musicological exploration, unearthing forgotten compositions and presenting them within fresh contexts. Comprising graduates of specialised early music postgraduate programs across esteemed universities and conservatories in the UK, the ensemble’s members stand as emerging performers within Scotland. They have graced prestigious stages with leading ensembles such as the Ancient Academy of Music, Dunedin Consort, Concerto Caledonia, RSNO, and the Linarol Consort of Viols, marking their place as a dynamic force in the realm of early music interpretation.


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