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 Liza Anderson (Episcopal Divinity School), James Simpson (Harvard University), and David Hall (Harvard Divinity School); 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 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

Full-day pass: $95 (entitles the bearer to attend any or all of the day’s events)
Free with student ID

N.B. Admission to ‘Taking Apart the Partbooks” is not included in any concert subscription.

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 Coffee & pastries

9:00 Introductory remarks (Scott Metcalfe)

9:15 “Catholicism in England around 1540” Liza Anderson (Episcopal Divinity School)

9:45 “Protestants in search of true religion: conflict and consensus in the 1540s and 1550s” David Hall (Harvard Divinity School)

10:15 questions & discussion

10:45 coffee break

11:15 lecture-demo: “Rhetorical strategies and rhetorical performance in votive antiphons from the Peterhouse partbooks” (Scott Metcalfe & Blue Heron)

12:15-1:45 lunch (on your own)

1:45 one-hour concert (Blue Heron)

2:45 short break

3:00 “English iconoclasm across the Act of Supremacy of 1534” James Simpson (Harvard University)

3:30 “The history of the Peterhouse partbooks and the reconstruction of their missing parts” Nick Sandon (Antico Edition; University of Exeter, retired)

Questions & discussion to follow.

The day will conclude with a performance of one more piece of music.