The Rose Consort of Viols is delighted to be able to announce that is to receive a grant from Continuo Foundation to support our project with the Choir of Chichester Cathedral in May. We will be in Chichester for three days, rehearsing and recording a CD of music by Thomas Weelkes ‘apt for voices and viols’, and giving a FREE lunchtime concert on Tuesday 17 May (see the concerts page of the website for further details).

The CD will be issued by Regent Records in 2023 to mark the 400th anniversary of Weelkes’ death. It is particularly appropriate to record Weelkes’ music in Chichester Cathedral, where he was organist and informatur choristorum from 1602 until his death in 1623. As well as anthems performed by the Choir, we will join them in verse anthems for which viol parts have been specially devised from the existing organ parts, as well as ‘Most mighty and all-knowing Lord’, Weelkes’ only surviving piece for alto voice and viols. In addition to the vocal pieces, we will be performing and recording Weelkes’ consort music, which includes In Nomines in four and five parts and some wonderfully sonorous pavans in five parts. Finally, we will record ‘What joy so true!’, a ‘full’ anthem using solo voices and viols, as they might have been performed in a domestic rather than a church setting. Weelkes frequently designated his secular vocal music as ‘apt for voices and viols’, but adopting the same approach for his sacred music (one used by his contemporary William Byrd) has not yet been fully exploited.

Continuo Foundation was founded to enable a flourishing of live period performances in every region of the UK, and to help period-instrument ensembles and musicians engage and inspire ever-larger audiences of all ages. It aims to provide greater access to excellent classical music, enriching lives and bringing communities together. This growth in activity will also improve the sustainability of ensembles and the careers of the freelance musicians of today and tomorrow. During 2021 its grants focused on helping ensembles to remain active by supporting projects creating employment for freelance musicians, and enabling them to engage with their audiences despite uncertainty and restrictions. In 2022, our grants aim to encourage live performances, touring to underserved areas of the UK and to support recently formed ensembles. In three rounds of funding since 2021 Continuo Foundation has helped 51 ensembles (that’s more than 500 individual performers) with a total of £350,000 of awards.

The Rose Consort of Viols is honoured to be one of these ensembles and is extremely grateful to Continuo Foundation for the financial support it will be providing for our Weelkes project.