Saturday, April 29, 2017 • 9 am – 4:30 pm

Partbook image

MS 471, Folio 033v
Courtesy Peterhouse, Cambridge, and DIAMM (Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music)

Taking Apart the Partbooks: Catholic Music on the Eve of the Reformation

A Day of Music & Talks Celebrating the Peterhouse Partbooks

First Church in Cambridge, Congregational
11 Garden Street (next to the Sheraton Commander)

A fascinating day exploring the world of the Peterhouse partbooks, a sumptuous Catholic repertory copied towards the end of the turbulent reign of Henry VIII, featuring talks by Nick Sandon, restorer of the Peterhouse music, and by James Simpson and David Hall of Harvard University; a lecture-demonstration by Scott Metcalfe and Blue Heron; and an hourlong concert.

We celebrate the completion of our 5-CD series Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks with a special day of events devoted to this source and its historical context. We are thrilled and deeply honored to be joined for the occasion by Nick Sandon, the world’s leading expert on the Peterhouse partbooks and the restorer of their missing parts, whose astonishing and utterly persuasive recomposition of missing lines (principally the tenor, whose partbook was lost centuries ago) has made it possible to sing and hear the unique Peterhouse music in modern times. Professor Sandon has recently completed his decades-long project to reconstruct the missing tenor parts of fifty works.

More details below.

Click for information about the April 28 Concert, The Lost Music of Canterbury

General admission for the entire day $95
Free with student ID

Blue Heron is committed to making our events accessible to all, regardless of ability to pay. Simply inquire about free admissions by calling (617) 960-960-7956 or emailing us at

Schedule for Saturday, April 29 (subject to change)

All events at First Church in Cambridge

8:30 AM Coffee & pastries (Margaret Jewett Hall)

9:00 AM Introductory remarks: Scott Metcalfe (Margaret Jewett Hall)

9:10 AM Talk by James Simpson (Harvard University): “Tradition and iconoclasm in England on the eve of the Reformation” (Margaret Jewett Hall)

9:45 AM Talk by David Hall (Harvard University): “Puritans and puritanism” (Margaret Jewett Hall)

10:15 AM Questions & discussion (Margaret Jewett Hall)

10:45 AM Coffee break

11:15 AM Lecture-demonstration: “Rhetorical strategies and rhetorical performance in the votive antiphons of the Peterhouse partbooks,” with Scott Metcalfe and Blue Heron (Sanctuary)

12:15 PM Lunch (on your own)

1:45 PM Concert: Special Blue Heron performance, including works not offered in April 28 concert (Sanctuary)

3:00 PM Talk by Nick Sandon (University of Exeter, retired): “The History of the Peterhouse Partbooks and the Reconstruction of Missing Parts” (Margaret Jewett Hall)

Questions & discussion

4:30 PM End