We regularly provide instrumental groups and orchestras for choirs performing major Baroque works. Some of the most popular works are listed below, with notes on the instrumentation, the editions and other things conductors need to know. Quotations are available on request.
A minimum of eleven musicians: 3 cornetts, 3 trombones, 2 Renaissance violins, bass violin, theorbo, chamber organ; 2 violas and a contrabasso (violone) are optional extras. We use a set of parts of the King’s Music edition, and much prefer to do the Magnificat transposed down a fourth, now generally recognised by scholars as Monteverdi’s original intention; cornett players are beginning to ask for an extra fee for playing it in the untransposed high key. We can play either at A=440 or A=465.
A minimum of thirteen musicians: strings 3-3-1-1-1 with 2 trumpets, timpani and harpsichord; 2 oboes (apparently not part of Handel’s original conception), bassoon, chamber organ and more strings are optional extras. We use a set of parts of Clifford Bartlett’s OUP edition. We play at A=415.
We can also offer other Handel oratorios, including Esther, L’allegro, il penseroso ed il moderato, Alexander’s Feast and Israel in Egypt; further details on request.
J.S. Bach: St John Passion
A minimum of eleven musicians: 2 flutes, 2 oboes/oboes d’amore/oboes da caccia, two violins, viola, violoncello/viola da gamba, violone, chamber organ; bassoon and more strings are optional extras. The lute part and the viola d’amore parts in the usual version can be taken (following alternatives specified by Bach) by the organ and the violins. We can offer the 1725 version; which omits the numbers with these instruments and has a number of other changes. We use a set of Bärenreiter parts for the normal version, and one specially made up for the 1725 version. We play at A=415.
J.S. Bach: St Matthew Passion
A minimum of twenty-four musicians: 4 flutes, 4 oboes/oboes d’amore/oboes da caccia, strings 2-2-1-1-1 in each orchestra, 2 organs; bassoons and more strings are optional extras. The viola da gamba solos are played by the cellist in the second orchestra. If required two of the oboes can play recorders in ‘O Schmerz!’. We use a set of Bärenreiter parts. We play at A=415.
J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor
A minimum of twenty-one musicians: 3 trumpets, timpani, horn, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, strings 3-3-1-1-1, chamber organ; more strings and a third oboe for the Sanctus are optional extras, though it may be possible for one of the other wind players to double the third oboe. We use a set of Bärenreiter parts. We play at A=415.
In addition, we have recorded a number of fine little-known seventeenth- and eighteenth-century works that will be of interest to adventurous choirs; further details on request:
Francesco Cavalli, Missa Concertata (1656), recorded on Hyperion CDH55193
Matthew Locke, ‘Be thou exalted, Lord’ (anthem celebrating a victory over the Dutch, 1666), recorded on Hyperion CDH55250
Matthew Locke, ‘Descende caelo cincta sororibus’ (The Oxford Ode, 1674), recorded on Hyperion CDH55250
Giovanni Battista Draghi, ‘From harmony, from heavn’ly harmony (Ode for St Cecilia’s Day, 1687), recorded on Hyperion CDH55257
John Blow, ‘The glorious day is come’ (Ode for St Cecilia’s Day, 1691), recorded on Hyperion CDH55257
Jeremiah Clarke, ‘Come, come along for a dance and a song’ (Ode on the death of Henry Purcell, 1696), recorded on Hyperion CDA66578
William Croft, Te Deum and Jubilate (1709), recorded on Hyperion CDH55252
William Boyce, Peleus and Thetis (c.1738), recorded on Hyperion CDA66935
William Boyce, Solomon (1742), recorded on Hyperion CDA66378
William Boyce, ‘Lord thou hast been our refuge’ (anthem for the Festival of the Sons of the Clergy, 1755), recorded on Hyperion CDH55359
Thomas Linley, ‘Let God arise’ (anthem for the Three Choirs Festival, 1773), recorded on Hyperion CDH55302
Thomas Linley, A Lyric Ode on the Fairies, Aerial Beings and Witches of Shakespeare (1776), recorded on Hyperion CDA66613
Thomas Linley, The Song of Moses (1777), recorded on Hyperion CDH55250
Thomas Linley, ‘Arise, ye spirits of the storm’ (chorus from The Tempest, 1777), recorded on Hyperion CDH55256