Research Seminar: 'Tallis in Wonderland'

Wednesday 7 November 2012, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Robert Hollingworth (Reader in Music, University of York)

For a long time, I’ve felt that even very experienced audiences find it difficult to appreciate Renaissance polyphony in concert on more than a surface level. A rich web of sound is presented from one end of usually a resonant building and the result is a wash of sound that tickles the ears of the listener without requiring them to dig deeper into the musical process.

Many are perfectly happy to hear their Renaissance polyphony in this way but my starting point for a new project was to conceive a way for the audience to be much more aware of the individual lines that make up the polyphony so that they could sense the whole structure, and also for them to be much more aware of the meaning of the text.

I then started talking with Dutch company Artery and designer/director Henk Schut (with whom I’d worked on L’Orfeo and Faust). He and sound designer Steve Mensink took this through further layers before the show was premiered in 2009, featuring music by Josquin, Gombert, Manchicourt, Byrd, Tallis, Rore, Palestrina, Gesualdo and Monteverdi.

This seminar will be a description of the show with a short video from the production.

Robert Hollingworth has just taken up a position of Reader in Music at the University of York. He is founder/director of I Fagiolini, a group which has given him an outlet to do many different types of music from its natural home in Renaissance and 20/21st century a capella to many unusual staged projects, contemporary opera, Berio Sinfonia and collaborations with a South African choir and Australian acrobats.  He is available in a range of colours and is washable.

Location: D/003