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This December PIVA will help ease you into the Christmas spirit by celebrating the Yuletide season by performing seasonal music and songs from Tudor times.  Winter, in the 16th century, could be a harsh time with long nights and little fresh food, but the Twelve Days of Christmas were filled with feasting, music, dancing, singing, games and revelry.  It was a time of entertainments, wassailing and mumming on the village green, masques and plays at court. PIVA will be capturing a flavour of these times by playing and singing music of the period and telling tales from the time.

The evening will be a perfect way to drive away the cold, dark nights of winter and prepare you for the Christmas festivities.

About PIVA – The Renaissance Collective:

Since forming in 2002, PIVA have established themselves as one of the UK’s leading early music ensembles and they specialise in the popular dance and ballad music of the late renaissance. Playing an array of period instruments, their fresh, innovative and energetic approach has captured the imagination of audiences wherever they perform.   They present lively and entertaining shows with a unique blend of music and historical anecdote.  Multi-instrumentalists, with backgrounds in renaissance, classical and roots music, they combine their influences to create music of the past played for today.

PIVA have played at various festivals, music societies and venues throughout the UK including The London International Early Music Festival, The Dome Stage at Snape Maltings, The National Centre for the Folk Arts and Brighton Early Music Festival. PIVA have also played across Europe, appearing at the Este’s International Arts Festival (Italy), Middelalderfestival (Norway), Rencontres de Maitres Sonneurs Festival (France) and Lutherfest (Germany) as well as many other events and locations.

"the virtuosity of all the players was truly astounding." Gloucester Music Society

“PIVA - if you have the chance to hear them, jump at it" Voluntary Arts Ireland

“This was early music at its most entertaining” Leicester Mercury


Yuletide! A Tudor Christmas

An evening of Seasonal Music and Celebrations with PIVA

“It is now December and he that walks the streets, shall find dirt on his shoes. Now capons and hens, beside turkeys, geese and ducks, besides beef and mutton, all must die for the great feast, for in twelve days, a multitude of people will not be fed with a little. Now plums and spice, sugar and honey, square it among pies and broth. I drink to you and you are welcome, I thank you and how do you?  I pray you be merry.  Music must now be in tune, or else never - and the youth must dance and sing and the aged sit by the fire.” 

This was how the Elizabethan poet, Nicholas Breton, saw the month of December.   He conjures up a picture of feasting, sweet treats, drinking, socialising and having a good time.  In these respects, it’s reassuring that little has changed in the last 400 years! The Twelve Days of Christmas was the longest holiday in the Tudor calendar and Christmas was far more of a secular festival rather than a sacred one.  Regardless, it was a season to be celebrated and Christmas was a time for fun, games, music and dancing – whether you were in the highest court of the land or the lowliest village dwelling.  Today, we tend to think that our Christmas traditions were fashioned by the Victorians but, whilst they made them popular, the majority of them date back to the 16thcentury and earlier. Tonight, PIVA aims to get your Christmas underway by playing a selection of songs, tunes and dances that would have been well known in the late 16th century. 

The programme will explore popular and secular music of the season, dating from the late 16th century.  Included will be works from, amongst others, the Piae Cantiones collection, Michael Praetorius, John Dowland, Anthony Holborne, and, not forgetting, the very popular ‘Anon’.  PIVA plays on reproduction instruments of the period including curtals, crumhorns, cornetto, viol, violin, guitar, recorders, rauschpfeifen, shawms, bagpipes and percussion.

PIVA – the Renaissance Collective

Founded in 2002, ‘PIVA – the Renaissance Collective’ have firmly established themselves as one of this country’s leading early music ensembles.  The group members are all multi-instrumentalists with backgrounds in renaissance, classical and traditional music; PIVA melds all these influences together to create music of the past played for today.  Playing throughout the UK and Europe, they have gained a reputation for their lively performances and entertaining shows.

Members of the Collective who will be appearing in this season’s performances are:

Eric Moulder is PIVA’s founder and director of music.  His passion for early music was inspired by the late David Munrow, amongst others.  He has been an early woodwind player for many years and has performed with a number of ensembles.  He is an internationally renowned maker and researcher in the field of historic woodwind instruments from the Renaissance period and his instruments are played by leading professional musicians and amateurs alike. He also provides many of the instruments played by PIVA as well as being responsible for creating many of the group’s musical arrangements.

David Jarratt-Knock initially studied trumpet and attended the Birmingham School of Music.  However, his keen interest in early music, resulted in a determination to tackle the cornetto.  He has studied with leading players Bruce Dickey, Jean-Pierre Canihac and Jeremy West.  He is constantly in demand in both in the UK and abroad for historically informed performances of works such as Monteverdi’s Vespers and he has played with some of Europe’s leading ensembles, including The Gabrieli Consort, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Ex Cathedra.  He has worked with both the RSC and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and performs regularly at the Historic Royal Palaces.

Mary Mohan is a multi instrumentalist who has specialised in early music over the last decade. She studied cello, flute, conducting and musicology at the University of Huddersfield where she had her first opportunity to try the viol.  As well as playing in PIVA, Mary formed and directs Archaedium, which specialises in music from Medieval Europe, and she has a growing collection of obscure instruments.

Tony Millyard has been playing with PIVA since its inception has a background in early and folk music.  Never one to be afraid of crossing music genres, he once fronted a folk-rock band and even played Northumbrian Smallpipes for a Border Morris troupe.  Nowadays, he has an international reputation as an instrument maker specialising in wooden flutes and baroque oboes. In partnership with Eric, he also makes baroque bassoons.    

Jane Moulder is the resident bookworm of the group.  She is a freelance researcher and writer and contributes to a number of publications on music, dance and manners of the early modern period.  Jane runs Piper’s Publishing producing early music collections, is editor of Chanter (journal of The Bagpipe Society) and is a trustee of the Buxton Opera House.  She balances all of these roles with working alongside Eric making historical woodwind instruments. 

Full details about PIVA’s forthcoming dates and venues are listed on our website at:

Further information, photos and news can be found on our Facebook page.