Pièces en concerts
Saturday, November 16, 2019, 8:00 p.m.

Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Pièces de clavecin en concerts, published in 1741, are the only chamber music by this composer better known as a theorist, and author of solo harpsichord music and vocal cantatas, motets and operas. Unusually innovative, Rameau here places the harpsichord as heart of a small chamber ensemble, with a fully written-out keyboard line that is extremely demanding, ‘backed’ by a violin and gamba team that provides the accompaniment. The programme centres on Rameau (who was a keyboardist, himself), but also includes works by his colleagues at the French royal court: Jean-Joseph de Mondonville (violin) and Marin Marais (viol).

Sara-Anne Churchill – clavecin
Olivier Brault – violon
Joëlle Morton – basse de viole

Musica secreta
Saturday, February 8, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

In 1579, Duke Alfonso II d’Este welcomed his new bride, Margherita Gonzaga, to the castello at Ferrara. Knowing that this union was likely his last chance to produce a male heir and thereby secure his dynastic succession, Alfonso worked to create a luxurious atmosphere suitable for entertaining and beguiling his fifteen-year-old wife, with an ensemble of singers and instrumentalists who gave private concerts just for the household and their specially invited guests. We will recreate an evening entertainment from the Este court, with specialist singers who incorporate stylistically appropriate physical and facial gestures to bring to life the full meaning of the texts.

Margaret Carpenter Haigh– soprano
MaryRuth Lown – soprano
Sarah Coffman – soprano
Joëlle Morton – viola bastarda
Esteban La Rotta – lute and guitar
Nicolas Haigh – harpsichord


Behold a wonder - CANCELLED!!
Saturday, May 16, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

Many early 17th century English composers wrote music for the ‘lyra viol,’ favourably compared to keyboards and plucked instruments, where the gamba functioned both as sustained melody, and also as chordal accompaniment. In this manner, “the statefull Gambo Violl with ease yeeldes as devicefull musicke as the lute.” The viol is able to exploit different key areas and change its personality by using scordatura tunings, and there are gorgeous vocal and instrumental settings by John Dowland, William Lawes and Alfonso Ferrabosco (plus their many friends), that range from enchantingly lighthearted, to coyly flirtatious, to exquisitely melancholy.

Katherine Hill - soprano
Julia Seager-Scott – triple harp
Elizabeth Rumsey – lyra viol
Joëlle Morton – lyra viol