Directed by Michael Barrett
Faculty: Michael Barrett and Geoffrey Williams, with Emily Eagen, Daniel Johnson, and Temmo Korisheli
Amherst Early Music Festival, July 9-16, 2023
This summer, the Ensemble Singing Intensive program will explore repertoire from both England and continental Europe, examining how the special musical language of John Dunstable and his fellow English composers paved the way for the universal language of European polyphony in the later Renaissance. In the 1440's, Martin le Franc coined the phrase "English countenance" to describe the qualities that many Continental listeners observed in English polyphony: a penchant for sweet harmonies and smooth voice leading. The English approach was critical to the development of the international style of polyphony, spearheaded by Franco-Flemish composers, and a departure from the virtuosic intellectualism of the French Ars Nova of the 14th century.
ESI gives pre-professional and advanced amateur singers the opportunity to work closely with like-minded colleagues and professional coaches to refine their skill set for vocal chamber music performance. Students will participate in daily rehearsals, coachings, discussions, and masterclasses, working towards a performance at week's end. Along the way we will give special attention to the issue of singing in translation (both period and modern), and make connections between the twin "songs" of language and melody.