We offer specially researched programmes to suit all budgets and circumstances, ranging from the core group of four to a complete group of voices and instruments. A selection of our favourites are listed here, though we are happy to plan something new for you; quotations are available on request.
|The Golden Age of English Consort Music
Four musicians: two Renaissance violins, bass viol, chamber organ. Music by Orlando Gibbons, William Lawes, John Jenkins, Matthew Locke, John Blow, Henry Purcell and others. A feast of fantasias, dances, divisions and sonatas from the great period of English instrumental music, c. 1620-80. Much of the programme is recorded on CDs in the Hyperion English Orpheus series, including CDA66658, CDH55255 and CDA66604.
|La Serenissima: Monteverdi and his Venetian Followers
Five musicians: Philippa Hyde (soprano), two Renaissance violins, bass violin, chamber organ. Music by Claudio Monteverdi, Biagio Marini, Alessandro Grandi, Giovanni Antonio Rigatti, Francesco Cavalli, Johann Rosenmüller, and Giovanni Legrenzi. Motets, hymns, psalm settings and sonatas written for St Mark’s by Monteverdi and his followers. Some of the pieces appear on Hyperion CDH55193, CDH55230 and CDA67225.
|The Purcell Legacy
Five musicians: Philippa Hyde (soprano), two violins, bass viol & violoncello, chamber organ. Music by Henry Purcell, Giovanni Battista Draghi, Nicola Matteis, Raphael Courteville, William Croft, John Weldon, J.C. Pepusch, Nicola Haym, and G.F. Handel. An exploration of the rich musical life in England from Purcell to Handel, including Handel’s Venus & Adonis, his first setting of English words, a Chandos anthem by Nicola Haym, and songs, suites and sonatas in the Purcell tradition. Recorded on Chandos CHAN 0776 (2010): ‘a beautifully planned and performed recital … the ensemble playing is never less than superb’, Early Music Review.
|The Genius of the Place: the Eighteenth-Century Landscape Garden
Five performers: reader, two violins, violoncello, harpsichord. An entertainment with music, readings and optional images exploring the eighteenth-century landscape garden. In this innovative programme the readings, taken from contemporary letters, poetry, travel diaries, criticism, satire, and fiction by Alexander Pope, Horace Walpole, James Thomson, Thomas Whately, Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, Uvedale Price, Jane Austen and others, describe the story of the creation and Arcadian idealisation of the eighteenth-century English landscape garden. The music, including pieces by G.F. Handel, Arcangelo Corelli, William Boyce, Thomas Arne and James Oswald, are selected to follow the mood and context of the readings. If facilities are available (computer projector and suitable screen), the programme can be co-ordinated with projected images supplied on disc, in which case a technical assistant will be required. For larger venues an alternative version with string orchestra (12 musicians and reader) is available.
|The Trumpet Shall Sound
Six musicians: Crispian Steele-Perkins (trumpet), two violins, viola, violoncello, harpsichord. Music by Arcangelo Corelli, Henry Purcell, G.F. Handel, and G.P. Telemann. A popular programme with Britain’s most distinguished trumpeter, contrasting stirring trumpet sonatas and concertos with dark, intense string music by four great Baroque composers. Some of the pieces appear on Hyperion CDH55192, CDA67053 and CDS44381/3.
|Bach & Family
Seven musicians: Stephen Varcoe (bass), Gail Hennessy (oboe), two violins, viola, violoncello, chamber organ & harpsichord. It brings together music by three generations of the Bach family: a profound lament for bass and strings by Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703), an elegant suite for strings by Johann Bernhard Bach (1676-1749), and C.P.E. Bach’s extraordinary trio sonata ‘Sanguinius & Melancholicus’, which explores differences between the sanguine and melancholy temperaments. There are two works by J.S. Bach himself: the great cantata ‘Ich habe genug’ BWV82 and his reconstructed oboe concerto in D minor, after BWV 35, 156 and 1059.
|Bach in Weimar 1714
Twelve musicians: Claire Tomlin (soprano), Timothy Brown (countertenor), Daniel Auchincloss (tenor), Giles Davies (baritone), Gail Hennessy (oboe), Sally Holman (bassoon), two violins/violas, 2 violas, violoncello, chamber organ. This programme creates a cycle of five contrasted masterpieces written in 1714 for the Weimar court, soon after J.S. Bach began to write church cantatas on a regular basis for the first time: ‘Nun komm der heiden Heiland’ BWV61 (four voices, five-part strings, bassoon and organ; ‘Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut’ BWV199 (soprano solo, oboe, four-part strings, bassoon and organ); ‘Gleich wie der Regen’ BWV18 (four voices, four violas, violoncello, bassoon and organ); ‘Widerstehe doch der stünde BWV54 (alto solo, five-part strings and organ); and ‘Weinen, Klagen, Zorgen, Zagen’ BWV12 (four voices, oboe, five-part strings, bassoon and organ).
|Henry Purcell: Four Masques
Thirteen musicians: Philippa Hyde & Claire Tomlin (soprano), Timothy Brown (countertenor), Joseph Cornwell (tenor), Stephen Varcoe (bass), 2 oboes / recorders, two violins, viola, bass violin, theorbo, harpsichord. This programme brings together four dazzling operatic masques from Purcell’s semi-operas: the Masque of Fame and Envy from The Indian Queen (1695), the famous Frost Scene from Act III of King Arthur (1691), the Masque of Cupid and Bacchus from Timon of Athens (1695), and the great Masque of Night, Mystery, Secresy and Sleep from Act II of the Fairy Queen (1692).