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The Peerson Project


The Peerson Project: Summary

University Concert and Colloquium to celebrate an obscure and greatly under-rated songbook – Martin Peerson’s Mottects or Grave Chamber Musique (1630). Poems by Sir Fulke Greville set by Martin Peerson with inventiveness and style, for voices, viols and chamber organ. The aim of the Peerson Project is to widen interest and participation in some excellent music and the culture that produced it.


Contacts

Concert tickets concerts@leeds.ac.uk
Concert Manager Jessica Ward
Colloquium and Music Richard Rastall
I Fagiolini Robert Hollingworth via Percius Event Management
Fretwork Richard Boothby
Outreach events Jane Oakshott

 

Key events

19th Feb Colloquium “Martin Peerson’s ‘Mottects or Grave Chamber Musique (1630)’: Creativity and Patronage in Early Stuart England”.
A Colloquium of invited experts on 17th-century music and culture.
Venue: Leeds University Centre for English Music (LUCEM)

20th Feb Leeds University International Concert Series, Early Music Festival
Concert: Cries and Teares, includes world premiere of songs from “Grave Chamber Music”, (1630), poems by Fulke Greville (courtier-poet), settings by Peerson.
With contrasting Street Cry songs
Performers: I Fagiolini (voices) , Fretwork (viols) and James Johnstone (organ)
Venue: Leeds University Clothworkers’ Concert Hall

21-24 Feb First ever CD recording of the complete songbook with the same exceptional performers.
Distribution worldwide by Regent Records
Subject to finance

 

Outreach events, all with music by Peerson

19th Feb “Music Moves”: Reportage (live-action) Drawing Workshop led by James Albon, (Folio Society illustrator). Live performance of Peerson-inspired music by composer Liam Brigg, Leeds College of Music
Venue: Chapel FM Community Radio

April-Dec “Music Moves” Exhibition: live-action drawings produced by James Albon, Artist-in-residence for the concert and recording.
Venues: Leeds University Clothworkers’ Concert Hall
Chapel FM in Seacroft March, Clothworkers’ Concert Hall and the National Centre for Early Music in York, December.

9 October Family “17th century Living” Day, with audience participation in domestic crafts and games, singing and dance.
Venue: Oakwell Hall, Batley

Oct- Nov Regional performance workshops for amateur singers and instrumentalists.
Led by musical directors of I Fagiolini and Fretwork
Venues: Early Music Forums in Manchester, Solihull, Southampton, York.

 

A celebration of Martin Peerson’s Grave Chamber Musique A celebration of Martin Peerson’s Grave Chamber Musique

A selection of songs from the Grave Chamber Musique of Martin Peerson (c1572-1651) will be performed on 20 February 2016 by I Fagiolini (singers), Fretwork (viols) and the organist James Johnstone, as part of the University’s Early Music Festival. A selection of songs from the Grave Chamber Musique of Martin Peerson (c1572-1651) will be performed on 20 February 2016 by I Fagiolini (singers), Fretwork (viols) and the organist James Johnstone, as part of the University’s Early Music Festival.

Following the performance, the complete Grave Chamber Musique will be recorded, as the next stage in making Peerson’s work better known. Following the performance, the complete Grave Chamber Musique will be recorded, as the next stage in making Peerson’s work better known.

Four volumes of Richard Rastall’s complete edition are already published by Antico Edition: The Latin Motets, the Private Musicke (1620), the Consort Music, and the Mottects, or Grave Chamber Musique (1630); still to come are the Sacred Songs and the Keyboard Music. Four volumes of Richard Rastall’s complete edition are already published by Antico Edition: The Latin Motets, the Private Musicke (1620), the Consort Music, and the Mottects, or Grave Chamber Musique (1630); still to come are the Sacred Songs and the Keyboard Music.

Peerson was Almoner and Master of the Children at St Paul’s cathedral, London, for the last 25 years of his life: but he had been a sharer in the Blackfriars theatre, for which he probably wrote some music. Much of his work up to 1620 or so was in a domestic context, however, composed for performance in well-to-do households where he presumably also taught. Peerson was Almoner and Master of the Children at St Paul’s cathedral, London, for the last 25 years of his life: but he had been a sharer in the Blackfriars theatre, for which he probably wrote some music. Much of his work up to 1620 or so was in a domestic context, however, composed for performance in well-to-do households where he presumably also taught.

One of these households was that of Sir Fulke Greville (1554-1628), first Lord Brooke, a fine poet whose Caelica poems stand alongside the work of his close friend Sir Philip Sidney (1554-86). Peerson’s songbook entitled Mottects, or Grave Chamber Musique, published in 1630, is the result of an unusual collaboration between Peerson and Greville, who appears to have made a selection of the Caelica sonnets for Peerson to set. The book had not been finalised when Greville was murdered by his man-servant, and Peerson saw it through the press. One of these households was that of Sir Fulke Greville (1554-1628), first Lord Brooke, a fine poet whose Caelica poems stand alongside the work of his close friend Sir Philip Sidney (1554-86). Peerson’s songbook entitled Mottects, or Grave Chamber Musique, published in 1630, is the result of an unusual collaboration between Peerson and Greville, who appears to have made a selection of the Caelica sonnets for Peerson to set. The book had not been finalised when Greville was murdered by his man-servant, and Peerson saw it through the press.

Grave Chamber Musique is important as the first such collaboration between a composer and a poet, and also as the first English publication to use a figured organ continuo part. The work presents a coherent cycle of 24 philosophical songs for voices, viols and organ which explore the nature of human love. Grave Chamber Musique is important as the first such collaboration between a composer and a poet, and also as the first English publication to use a figured organ continuo part. The work presents a coherent cycle of 24 philosophical songs for voices, viols and organ which explore the nature of human love.

Richard’s edition was published in 2012, the first edition since the original. Only two of its songs have previously been recorded, so a CD of the complete work is long overdue. Richard’s edition was published in 2012, the first edition since the original. Only two of its songs have previously been recorded, so a CD of the complete work is long overdue.

The performance and recording in February 2016 will be preceded by an interdisciplinary colloquium, “Grave Chamber Musique (1630): Origins and Creation”, convening invited scholars and performers to explore the musical, literary and cultural contexts of the work. This will also inform pre-concert talks and programme-notes, and eventually a new edition of Greville’s works and a projected book on Peerson. The performance and recording in February 2016 will be preceded by an interdisciplinary colloquium, “Grave Chamber Musique (1630): Origins and Creation”, convening invited scholars and performers to explore the musical, literary and cultural contexts of the work. This will also inform pre-concert talks and programme-notes, and eventually a new edition of Greville’s works and a projected book on Peerson.

Follow The Peerson Project page on Facebook, for regular updates on these and associated events! Follow The Peerson Project page on Facebook, for regular updates on these and associated events!


The Musicians

I Fagiolini is a solo voice ensemble specialising in Renaissance and 17th century music; they tour worldwide and are winners of several awards, including first place in the Early Music category of the Gramophone Awards and a Diapason d’Or de l’Année in 2011.
The ensemble includes the glorious Clare Wilkinson, acclaimed as having “the perfect voice for this repertoire” (Musicweb International, Feb 2015)
<www.ifagiolini.com> <www.clare-wilkinson.com>

Fretwork is widely recognised as “the world’s leading viol consort” (Andrew Clarke, The Independent): they specialise in the music of Elizabethan and Jacobean England, but are in demand also for contemporary music such as the accompaniment for The da Vinci Code and the Robbie Williams album Supreme. <www.fretwork.co.uk>

James Johnstone, organist, has made over 20 recordings with Deutsche Grammophon and plays with all of the major ensembles, notably as a principal of the Gabrieli Consort, and with such artists as Yehudi Menuhin, Bernard Haitink and James Galway. <www.sonnerie.org.uk>

Liam Brigg is a classical composer in his final year of study at Leeds College of Music, chosen to represent the College at the 2016 Leeds Lieder festival with a new song, words composed by Yorkshire-based poet Gail Mosley. He first worked with visual artists in 2014, on a dance project for Leeds Art Gallery. <l.brigg@lcm.ac.uk>

 

Artist-in-Residence

James Albon studied Illustration in Edinburgh College of Art. He won the Gwen May award by the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers in 2012, and held a postgraduate Scholarship at the Royal Drawing School until July 2015. Illustration clients include the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, the Folio Society and the BBC. For examples of James’ work see http://jamesalbon.com/folio/

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