Spem in Alium: singing workshop

Spem in Alium: singing workshop

Saturday 25th November 2023

11:00 am

Godolphin and Latymer School, Iffley Road, London W6 0PG

Detail of 14th-century fresco (North Italian, Anon) via Rawpixel
Thomas Tallis’ 40-part motet – composed in around 1570 for eight choirs, each of five voices – is considered by many to be the greatest piece of early English music and Tallis’ “crowning achievement” (HB Collins, 1929). Our full-day singing workshop offers a unique opportunity for keen amateur and young singers to explore and untangle this wonderfully complex and exciting work. The day will be overseen by Richard Bannan, our musical director, and each of the eight choirs will be led by one of the following professional singers:

Nick Ashby (The King’s Singers, Petros Singers’ Patron)
Toby Ward (Ensemble Pro Victoria, Petros Singers’ singing teacher)
Kate Ashby (Stile Antico)
Rachel Ambrose Evans (Polyphony, Tenebrae)
Lissie Paul (The Tallis Scholars, The Queen’s Six)
Tom Robson (The Sixteen, Chichester Chorale)
Will Dawes (Stile Antico, Somerville College Oxford)
Alexander Turner (Stanmore Choral Society, All Saint’s Putney)

The workshop sessions will develop the piece from the ground up, starting as eight choirs of five voice parts – High Sopranos, Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Basses – then joining forces with other choirs as the day progresses, building up to singing in all forty parts. (In case of any confusion, there will be several singers of the same voice part in each of the eight choirs.) Towards the end of the day we will move to nearby St Peter’s Church where we will come together to rehearse and then perform this sublime work to an audience. This ticketed recital will run from 6:00–7:00pm and, in addition to Spem in Alium, will include performances by the professional workshop leaders – singing together as The Garter Consort – as well as by Petros Singers.

To join the workshop
First book a place below indicating your preferred voice part:
High Soprano – equivalent to Soprano 1
Soprano – equivalent to Soprano 2 / Alto 1
Alto – equivalent to Alto 2
You can refer to the full score here to help you identify the part you would like to sing. It would also be very helpful if you could indicate if there is another voice part you could sing in case your preference is full, or we need to move singers between parts to ensure balance across the eight choirs.

You will then be allocated to one of the eight choirs – along with fellow singers in the same voice part – and sent the appropriate part as a PDF which you will need to download in advance and bring to the workshop as a printout or on a tablet.

We recommend that you familiarise yourself with your part as this will help you get the most out of the workshop. All participants will be sent a link to a Virtual Voice to help with learning their individual part in context. In addition, Spem in Alium has been widely recorded and is available on CD, to download, or on Spotify. Please bear in mind that recordings might not be in the same key as your music!

The workshop will take place at Godolphin and Latymer School which is less than 5-minutes’ walk from Hammersmith tube station/s (Piccadilly, District, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines). The recital venue is St Peter’s Church, Black Lion Lane, W6 9BE. Both venues are fully accessible.

Registration at Godolphin and Latymer is from 10:30am for an 11:00am start. Following a warm-up, we will divide into eight choirs to rehearse and, after a short break for lunch, will resume sectional rehearsals in four choirs. Mid-afternoon we will make our way to St Peter’s Church (a 15-minute walk) where all eight choirs will come together for a full rehearsal. There will be a break around 5:00pm with the recital starting at 6:00pm. The day will finish at 7:00pm.

Please encourage your friends and family to come along to hear the culmination of your day’s work. In addition to Spem in Alium, there will be performances by the professional workshop leaders – many of the leading consort singers working in the UK – as well as by Petros Singers. Tickets at ÂŁ10/ÂŁ5 can be bought here.

Participants are strongly advised to bring their own lunch as there won’t be enough time to head out into the local area during the break. Soft drinks and biscuits will be served during the short break before the recital, but you may wish to bring your own thermos of tea or coffee. Please also bring enough water for the day.

Please click on the relevant link below to download an enlarged score for your choir. These scores are in landscape format and should be printed out on A4. Full instructions can be downloaded via the link beneath the scores.
Choirs 1 and 2
Choirs 3 and 4
Choirs 5 and 6
Choirs 7 and 8

Landscape score printing instructions

Workshop tickets
ÂŁ50 | ÂŁ25 under 30s (minimum age 16)
Please note that all places on the workshop must be booked in advance.
You can book tickets for the evening recital here.

Ticket update 24th November 2023
Unfortunately we are now sold out for this event. If you would like to attend the recital following the workshop, please follow this link to buy tickets.
Bookings no longer allowed on this date.