English Baroque Music: A Guest Post by London Baroque

Today’s Guest Post comes from one of my absolute favourite Baroque groups: London Baroque. I was thrilled when they agreed to participate in our month of guest posts! So, please welcome London Baroque to The Seventeenth Century Lady!

London Baroque is a professional chamber group consisting of three or four musicians and keyboard, to which we very often add a singer.  We specialise in very small scale court and chamber music from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on instruments of the period. The members are lucky enough to possess violins by Jacobus Stainer, who worked in Absam near Innsbruck in the middle of the seventeenth century, and a lovely bass viol made by the great London maker Barak Norman in 1689. We started playing together in 1978 and are still going strong.

As English musicians one of our favourite parts of the repertoire (roughly 1600-1780) is the English music of the seventeenth century, starting with Orlando Gibbons via Matthew Locke, John Jenkins, the Lawes brothers and John Blow up to Henry Purcell.  After this time the famous composers tended to be foreigners like Handel, Bononcini, Abel and JC Bach.

The English music of the period tends to be quite eccentric and is extremely unlike the music of other countries. Both Charles II and James II spent their youth in exile in Paris so that it was almost inevitable that they should bring some of that taste back with them at the restoration.  This was the beginning of the end for the old English contrapuntal madrigal and consort style.  Indeed, Charles II did not like any music he could not tap his foot to……..

Charles II dancing at a ball at court, c.1660. Hieronymus Janssens (1624-93)

Charles II dancing at a ball at court, c.1660. Hieronymus Janssens (1624-93). Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2013

London Baroque has recorded (amongst many other things!) a compendium of seventeenth-century trio sonatas (the string quartet of the period) on the BIS label with the following numbers:

ENGLISH 17th BIS CD  1455, which contains music composed by Gibbons, Coprario, Lawes, Jenkins, Locke, Simpson, Blow, Purcell:

FRENCH 17th BIS CD  1465, which contains music composed by Lully, Couperin, Le Roux, Clérambault, Marais, Rebel:

GERMAN 17th BIS CD  1545, which contains music composed by Vierdank, Kempis, Schmelzer, Rosenmüller, Buxtehude, Kerll, Biber:

ITALIAN 17th BIS CD  1795, featuring music composed by Cima, Turini, Buonamente, Castello, Marini, Vitali, Corelli:

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In addition, the group bass player Charles Medlam (who plays bass viol and violoncello) has recorded a CD of French solo bass viol suites for Cello Classics with music by Hotman, Dubuisson, de Machy Sainte-Colombe and Marais.

More information can be found on their site:  www.londonbaroque.com

We look forward to welcoming you!

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