We recently performed a programme of Gibbons, Byrd & Tomkins with The Magdalena Consort in the great Stour Festival, run by Mark Deller. This was the first concert in a project that will see further performances and a recording of all the consort anthems of Orlando Gibbons. We want to take a fresh look at these wonderful works and see if there isn't something more dramatic and vital about them that is hiding underneath the rather formal and prim performances often heard in our cathedrals.
It's a large undertaking and the cost is high; so that's why we are appealing to our friends and supporters to contribute to this unique undertaking. We've set up a dedicated website: http://www.orlandogibbonsproject.com take a look and I hope you'll feel able to chip in.
Our London debut recital was in Wigmore Hall on 25th June 1986; and we commissioned an artist - Pomme Hoare - to make a poster and I think it was posted on the London Tube, amongst many other places. I thought that all copies had been lost, but a copy has turned up just in time for our 30th anniversary concert in Kings Place last week. Here it is:
We're celebrating 30 years with a concert of old music and new at London's fabulous Kings Place on Friday 24th June. Come and hear music from 1520 right through to the 21st century with Sue Bickley, Michael Chance, Charles Daniels, Gawain Glenton, Liz, Kenny, Paul Nicholson & Graham Treacher. Plus, almost all of the previous members of the group will be joining us: Wendy Gillespie, Bill Hunt, Susanna Pell, Liam Byrne and Julia Hodgson.
Here we are hearing in Leeds for our concert there last Saturday with I Fagiolini. We've nearly finished recording the complete 'Grave Chamber Musique' of Martin Peerson, an extravagantly gifted and expressive composer who is almost unknown today. This collection is a revelation and a continual wonder. Recording number two this year: two more to go.....
You didn't know that the late David Bowie played the viol? This was him in a former life, perhaps, as Jean Baptiste Antoine Forqueray. We're going to play his three remaining pieces for three bass viols, recently discovered, at Kings Place next Friday. And they are just part of a cornucopia of wonderful baroque music, some of which we haven't played before, such as Legrenzi's two remarkable sonatas 'per viole di gamba o simile', or Charpentier's 'Concert pour les violes'. Finish off with the great J. S. Bach Passacaglia, and you have a pretty exciting programme - well, in my opinion, anyway.
Last night we played Bach's Art of Fugue in the Great Hall at Balliol College, Oxford. There were lots of young people there making a really attentive and generous audience. It was an intense experience. Here's a photo of us rehearsing:
We're doing a concert in Sherborne's St Mary Magdalen church on Sunday 17th January at 4pm. We'll be playing some of the four-part Fantazias by John Jenkins and combining them with some of Bach's Art of Fugue. This is prior to recording all of the Jenkins 4-part Fantazias in the church next week.
Next month we will embark on the extraordinary Peerson Project, performing and recording the 'Grave Chamber Musique' by Martin Peerson. I Fagiolini will provide the five voices and we will be the five viols, and James Johnson will play the organ.
The Peerson Project centres on the songbook “Mottects: or Grave Chamber Musique” published in 1630. 25 of the Caelica poems by the Elizabethan courtier-poet Fulke Greville were set to music for voices and viols by Martin Peerson, a respected composer and Master of the Choristers at St Paul’s Cathedral (London) for 25 years.
This virtually unknown songbook – apparently a collaboration between poet and composer – is significant both historically and musically. It offers a new and rich source for researchers into domestic music of the Jacobean era.
The recent edition by Prof Richard Rastall has begun the process that enables both amateurs and professionals to experience Peerson’s music in workshops and performances.
The Peerson Project aims to heighten interest and widen participation in Peerson’s music through a series of different events beginning 19th February 2016. For brief details of the events, goto http://music.leeds.ac.uk/research/lucem/the-peerson-project/
Peerson was a wonderful composer and a few years ago we recorded his complete consort music. You can find a couple of tracks here on our jukebox:
This three-CD set features Richard Boothby's Fretwork consort playing his intriguing transcriptions of Bach keyboard works for the instrumentation of a slightly earlier era. Bach probably never had access to a full consort of viols, though pieces such as the "Passacaglia" and the "Prelude & Fugue XVI" from The Well-Tempered Clavier adapt so smoothly to the strings' interplay, and so naturally within their timbres, that they might have been written for the then-unfashionable consort. Read More...