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Paper, Ink, and Pen

The five part-books of calligrapher

Robert Dow: a musical self-portrait


William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, and Robert White: these are some of Mr. Dow's favourite composers and with them we will pass an hour. Imagine: the famous calligrapher Robert Dow has company for the evening, and they decide to make music together. We peer over the shoulders of the viol players and the singer as they conjure a musical landscape out of a mixture of sacred motets and secular madrigals, instrumental fantasias and consort songs. The five small part-books, with music and text beautifully inscribed on a staff of five red lines, are not only a reflection of the musical taste of the time but also turn out to be a kind of personal diary of Robert Dow: a delight for the eyes and ears.

Monika Mauch – Soprano

Elizabeth Rumsey – Treble viol; director

Brigitte Gasser – Tenor viol

Randall Cook – Tenor viol

Tabea Schwartz – Bass viol

Caroline Ritchie – Bass viol

We thank Doron Schleifer, Ivo Haun, Jacob Lawrence, and Elam Rotem for joining in the last piece,
and Hartmut Raguse for supporting it :)

 Link to the programme notes for Paper, Ink, and Pen in English

Portrait of the life of Sir Henry Unton 1558–1596 

Videoblog by Grace Newcombe for Paper, Ink, and Pen.

Frölich Wesen

Live recording of the concert from

28. June 2020 in the Barfüsserkirche

Historical Museum Basel

The Songbook of Riehen’s Reformer, Ambrosius Kettenacker

Grace Newcombe – Voice,


Jacob Lawrence – Voice

Katharina Haun – Cornetto

Baptiste Romain – Fiddle, Clein Geige

Tabea Schwartz – Groß Geige

Elizabeth Rumsey – Groß Geige

Marc Lewon – Lute, Groß Geige, Voice; Director


When Ambrosius Kettenacker gave away his collection of songs in 1510, he was only 17 years old and had already completed his studies in Basel. His even younger friend Bonifacius Amerbach was the happy recipient, and would in due course build a large music collection on the cornerstone of this gift. Kettenacker's songbook is the oldest piece in the Amerbach collection today. It once consisted of four part-books, of which only the bass part survived. Therefore some of the pieces in this programme include specially reconstructed voices, because although a large number of the songs can be found in other contemporary sources, some are unique. The well-known «Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen» is among them, with a bass part that cannot be found anywhere else.

Sunday November 29th 2020
"Nowell, nowell"
Advent carols of the 15th and 16th centuries

"Christmas Caroling" is still the English name for singing during the Christmas season. It was no different in the early modern era. But while today “caroling” is understood to mean singing primarily as a Christmas accompaniment, these songs were performed in England in the 15th and 16th centuries on all kinds of festive occasions: for religious holidays, political events, church processions and other celebrations. The English "Carols" were mostly not reserved for trained musicians. So we invite the audience to join in a performance practice that brought people together 600 years ago.

Grace Newcombe – Voice,  Clavisimbalum; Director

Amy Farnell – Voice, Bells

Marc Lewon – Plectrum lute, Cetra, Viola d'arco, Voice
Rui Stähelin – Plectrum lute, Voice

Organisation – Liz Rumsey

Livestreaming: Oren Kirschenbaum

Sunday 27. Dec 2020
(Livestream from the Barfüsserkirche) 
«Cantate! – Officium natalis Christi» 
Music from the time of Orlando di Lasso: online for listening, watching, and singing along.

A vocal sextet and a Renaissance organ present Christmas music from the 16th century. The heart of the programme is Munich court conductor Orlando di Lasso's “Officium Natalis Christi”, complemented with Advent motets by his contemporaries Palestrina, Victoria, and Finck. Lasso's Officium Natalis Christi was originally notated in a single large choir book, from which all singers read together. On December 27th there will be a unique opportunity to experience the music in this kind of performance again. Since it is currently not possible to stand close enough to sing from a single choir book, the music will be projected onto a large screen so that it can be read from a sufficient distance. The audience will not only hear all the voices in the choir book, but also be able to follow them in the beautiful historical notation.

The originally planned sing-along choir project has also been adapted; the concert program includes the canon “Cantate Domino”, which everyone has the opportunity to join in spontaneously from home. The music for this canon can already be heard here, sung by Ivo Haun. As a special treat, those who miss singing in harmony with others can sing along with Lasso's Officium natalis Christi. We have produced a preparatory video for each vocal part, so that you can immerse yourself in singing from the original choir book notation. Everyone is free to “just” enjoy listening, or to sing along during the concert - or to join in later, watching the recording of the livestream.

Doron Schleifer – Cantus, Altus, Sextus | Charlotte Nachtsheim – Cantus | Matthieu Romanens – Tenor, Quintus
Rui Stähelin – Tenor, Quintus, Bassus | Carlos Federico Sepúlveda – Bassus | Aki Noda – Organo di legno

Ivo Haun – Altus, Tenor; Director

Liz Rumsey – Organisation

Oren Kirschenbaum – Livestreaming

17:15 | 19:15


Orlando di Lasso Officium natalis Christi (1574)


"Orlando di Lasso is without a doubt the most famous composer of the 16th century. Due to the sudden flourishing of printed music, his varied oeuvre quickly spread across Western Europe. Between 1555, the year of his "Opus 1", and 1594, the year he died, an edition with works by Lassus came onto the market on average every month, be it in individual prints, in collections, with new works, or with reprints. The music printers in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and France competed with each other to market new or already published works by Lassus." With these words Ignace Bossuyt describes the reputation that Orlando di Lasso had built up in the second half of the 16th century.

Orlando di Lasso Officium natalis Christi

Communio - Viderunt omnes fines terrae salutare Dei nostri

A counterpoint technique described by Adriano Banchieri (1568–1634) is applied to the incipit Viderunt. The cantus firmus is sung in long note values in the bass and harmonized by the organ. In addition, several singers improvise completely freely over it, with ascending and descending motifs and syncopations.

https: //

Sing along (simple):
Cantate Domino - Adam Gumpelzhaimer (1559–1625):

Podcast SRF_Beitrag

Excerpt from Kultur-Kompakt SRF2 about ReRenaissance from 23. December 2020

Start at 4:32

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