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Quempas and Noël

Quempas and Noël: How Musicians Celebrated Christmas in Seventeenth-Century France and Germany


Peter Holman traces the development of the repertories of popular Christmas songs in Germany, where they were known collectively as quempas (a shortening of the title of the fifteenth-century carol ‘Quem pastores laudavere’), and in France, where they were known as noëls. Illustrated with clips of music, he discusses their use inside and outside churches, and the creative ways in which seventeenth-century composers used them in their compositions, often combining them with the latest Italian idioms.

Doors will open for pre-talk drinks at 5.15 pm with the talk taking place between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm.

Everyone is welcome to attend this free event, but please ensure you book.

Please contact friends@cambridgeearlymusic.org or telephone 01223411762 to reserve a place.

About Peter Holman

Peter studied at King’s College, London with Thurston Dart, and founded the pioneering early music group Ars Nova while a student. He is now director of The Parley of Instruments and the choir Psalmody, and musical director of Opera Restor’d. He is a leading figure in the musical life of the Essex-Suffolk borders, directing Essex Baroque Orchestra and the Suffolk Villages Festival. He was joint Artistic Director of the 1995 Boston Early Music Festival, and Consultant in Period Performance at the RNCM from 2002 to 2005. Peter has taught at many conservatories, universities, and summer schools in Britain, Europe and the USA, is a regular broadcaster, and is much in demand as a lecturer at learned conferences. He is chair of the editorial board of Early Music Performer, and a member of the editorial boards of Early Music, Musica Britannica and the Purcell Society.