Ensemble Tramontana

Our programmes generally create a journey or tell a story – and after all, a story is also a journey. We are happy to design programmes for a range of venues, audiences, and occasions: please see What We Do for examples of where we’ve been. We are based in London but travel widely.

We often include references to stars/mountains/waters and winds, or navigate voyages through history/geography/emotions. Below are some programmes we perform, but we always seek opportunities to explore new topics through the medium of early music. In other words, we take requests!

Sample programmes

~ details and number of performers may vary ~

Parlement of Foules

For this was on Saint Valentine’s day
When every fowl comes there his mate to take

Music from the times of King Henry VIII and William Shakespeare, suitable for February or any time of the year. The programme is loosely inspired by Valentine’s Day and more closely by Chaucer’s poem of the same title – a human account of the birds’ troubles in having to choose a mate on St Valentine’s Day, eventually resolved in a good-natured way. However, in our programme it’s the birds observing the humans and discovering a far less innocent picture. The birds contemplate humans’ springtime dalliances as they turn into love and betrayal, then stay with those who are wounded by love and keep them company in their time of despair, and even ease their passing. All the while, they welcome spring and go about their lives, even take sustenance from the aftermath of human tragedies – all still in a good-natured way.

See full programme and notes here.  

Danse Macabre / Totentanz

Programme design in progress. Suitable for Lent, Halloween, the death of the old year, or whenever you like. 

Lamentations of Jeremiah / Caught in the Current

Suitable for Holy Week/Lent:
– We are available in a voices/viols combination to present a day’s Lamentation Lessons (20-30 minutes)
during a service or a vigil, or in other format as requested.
– We can also build a concert of 45 minutes to an hour around Lamentations settings by composers such as Lassus, Palestrina, or Victoria. 
– Another concert option has a water theme  — tears, fountains, streams, rivers, the sea — and features Psalms 114 and 42. 
Holy Week dates
2020: 5th-11th April
2021: 28th March-3rd April

Ascending from Darkness

Suitable for Ascension. This voices and viols programme starts with a section called IN THE DEPTHS OF DARKNESS, including material from Holy Week, and moves through an assortment of sacred and secular works in sections called CROOKED PATHS and ASCENDING INTO LIGHT. Composers may include Saint Hildegard von Bingen, Palestrina, Lassus, di Rore, Ferrabosco I, Morley, Dowland, Campion, Charpentier, and more. In the version performed in June 2019, many of the pieces addressed the experiences or roles of women. 

England Be Glad: The Royal Courts

Pieces may include:

Lamento di Tristano/La rotta
Anon, (14th century)

Ja nuns
Richard I (1157 – 1199)

England be glad
Anon, Henry VIII Manuscript
(16th century)

A Souldiers Resolution
Tobias Hume (1569 – 1645)

Gaude Virgo Katherina (Henry V)
John Dunstable (c1390 – 1453)

Though some saith
Henry VIII (1491 – 1547)

Who will ascend to heav’n
Giaches de Vuert (1535 – 1596)

En frolyk weson
Jacobus Barbireau (1455 – 1491)

Pastime with good company
attr to Henry VIII (1491 – 1547) 

From Love to Madness

Zephyro spira e il bel tempo rimena
Bartolomeo Tromboncino (c1470 – 1535)
There are other winds, which bring the joy and happiness of love,
except that for us it’s torment . . .


Con dolce brama
Magister Piero (c1300 – c1350)
The wind is good! Let’s sail into my lady’s harbour!

What needeth all this Travail
John Wilbye (1574 – 1638)
Love over riches.

Doulce Memoire
Antonio Gardane (1509 – 1569)
Love conquers all. While it lasts . . .


A la una yo nací
Turkish Sephardic (13th century)
I love you, but I’m leaving you to go to war!

Chanterai por mon corage
Guiot de Dijon (fl 1215 – 1225)
My beloved is away on a holy pilgrimage. God keep him safe from the Saracens!

Durch Barbarey Arabia
Oswald von Wolkenstein (c1376 – 1445)
Sometimes it’s being settled that drives one mad . . .

Doulce Memoire
Josquin Baston (c1515 – c1576)
Love over.

Nightingale/Adue sweete loue
Richard Sumarte (fl c1590-1630)/ Tobias Hume (c1569 – 1645)
And again.

La Vita Fugge
Alonso Mudarra (c1510 – 1580)
I lost my love, and now I’m lost . . .


Ne l’aria in questi di
Cipriano de Rore (1515/16 – 1565)
Fighting fate in a fortress of folly and futility.

La Folia
Diego Ortiz (c1510 – c1570)
Some more foolishness . . .

Who will ascend to heaven
Giaches de Vuert (1535 – 1596)
You wounded me. I think I’m going mad . . .

Lasse pour quoi refusai
Anon, Chanson de Femme (14th century)
I wounded you. I must have been mad!


Doulce Memoire
Pierre Sandrin (c 1490 – c1561), divisions by Diego Ortiz

From North to South

Lamento di Tristano/La Rotta – Anon, (14th century)
Three Ravens – Thomas Ravenscroft (1582/92 – 1635)
Who will ascend to heav’n – Giaches de Vuert (1535 – 1596)

Ach weh des Leiden – Hans Leo Hassler (1564 – 1612)
Innsbruck, Ich muss dich lassen – Heinrich Isaac (c1450 – 1517)
Ne l’aria in questi di – Cipriano de Rore (1515/16 – 1565)

Con dolce brama – Magister Piero (c1300 – c1350)
Douce Memoire – Antonio Gardano (1509 – 1569)
Ancor che col partire – Cipriano de Rore (1515/16 – 1565) /Riccardo Rogniono (1550– 1620)

Cantiga de Santa Maria – Anon (13th century)
Una tarde de verano – Moroccan Sephardic (14th century)
La Vita Fugge – Alonso Mudarra (c1510 – 1580)

Durch Barbarey Arabia – Oswald von Wolkenstein (c1376 – 1445)

From Fountains to Rivers to the Sea

Water programme – secular
Sample pieces

My breast I’ll set upon a silver stream – John Ward (1571 – 1638)

First Part: A Fountaine of teares
O passi sparsi – Sebastiano Festa (c1490/95 – 1524)

Second Part: Along the river I swimme
Innsbruck, ich muß dich lassen (Heinrich Isaac, c1450 – 1517)
Reverci Venir Du Printemps – Claude Le Jeune (c1528/30 – 1600)

Third Part: Lost on Sea
Nel mezzo gia del mar – Niccolò da Perugia (fl c1350-1400)

Hor che’l ciel e la terra – Bartolomeo Tromboncino (c1470 – 1535)

Caught in the Current

Water programme – sacred
Full concert

Water is a metaphor for God as the source of all life but also of great destruction. Despite our best intentions, we are swept from the nourishing fountainhead to flail through the streams and rivers of accumulating hardships to the deep wrathful sea . . . and then beyond. This journey is reflected in the texts of our medieval and Renaissance music.

The River

Psalm 42 / Sicut cervus (chant)

In nomine nr. 2 à 3
Thomas Tomkins (1572 – 9 June 1656)

Super flumina Babylonis
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525 – 2 February 1594)

Save me, O God
John Mundy (before 1555 – 29 June 1630)

Pater mi and Pater si vis
Francesco Soriano (1548 or 1549 – 19 July 1621)

The Sea

Veni in altitudinem maris (part 2 of Salvum me fac)
Jacquet de Mantua (1483 – October 2, 1559)

Quare tristis anima mea, Pars 1
Philippe de Monte (1521 – 4 July 1603)

Psalm 42 / Abyssus (set to the same chant melody as Sicut cervus)

Quare oblitus es = Quare tristis anima mea, Pars 2
de Monte

Peccavi super numerum
William Byrd (c. 1540 – 4 July 1623)

A Stream of Blood

O cruor sanguinis (chant)
Hildegard von Bingen  (c. 1098 – 17 September 1179) 

Sermone blando

Psalm 42 / Quare tristis
Orlande de Lassus (probably c. 1532 – 14 June 1594)

Psalm 124 / Anima nostra