A selection of music from the late 1600’s and early 1700’s by well-known composers and also lesser known composers that Hesperi are bringing out of the shadows for today's audiences to enjoy. We will have pieces by Handel, Purcell and Telemann, James Oswald, Nicola Matteis, John Playford and many more.
We finish the season with a superb concert put together and performed by Ensemble Hesperi. They present a mixed programme of Baroque music by the most celebrated composers in London at the turn of the eighteenth century.
In the 1700s, London was quickly becoming the musical hub of Europe, attracting the great Handel himself, alongside a multitude of French and Italian musicians who seized the opportunity to play in London's thriving theatre district.
In this programme we capture the spirit of music-making across the City, from theatres to taverns and music in the home. On the vibrant thoroughfare of the Strand, home to most of London's famous music shops and print houses, John Walsh first produced Handel's trio sonatas and Corelli's ever-popular Op. 5 violin sonatas.
Only streets away, Scottish musicians like James Oswald set up their own shops along the Strand, feeding the craze for Scottish music in the capital. In the theatres, Handel directed the first performances of his operas and oratorios, working with mezzo-soprano Elisabetta de Gambarini and star oboist Giuseppe Sammartini. Just along the road at the Temple Church, John Playford sold his best-selling books of dance tunes, and we meet Henry Purcell and his teacher John Blow competing in an organ battle!
Ensemble Hesperi is a dynamic and innovative London-based period ensemble, with a passion for showcasing Early Music through intelligent, distinctive programming. The varied talents of each member of the Hesperi constellation combine to produce an infectious energy, leading to joyful collaborations with singers, dancers, and actors. Whether performing as the core ensemble of recorder, baroque violin, baroque cello and harpsichord, or with friends for larger projects, Hesperi’s performances embody the spontaneity of true chamber music. The ensemble has gained a strong reputation for championing rarely-heard music, bringing forgotten stories to life through original historical research. Funded by a Lottery grant from Arts Council England, its debut project, “The Pheasant’s Eye”, celebrated Scottish eighteenth-century music, featuring special choreography from Highland dancer Kathleen Gilbert. More recently, the ensemble embarked upon a new project, supported by the Continuo Foundation, “From Caledonia to the Capital”, which told the stories of Scottish composers who settled in eighteenth-century London. In early 2022, the ensemble received a second grant from the Continuo Foundation for its latest project, “Then I play’d upon the Harpsichord”, an immersive concert exploring the musical tastes and talents of Queen Charlotte, consort to George III.
In 2021 the ensemble released its debut album with EM Records, “Full of the Highland Humours”. Hesperi has appeared regularly on Radio 3’s Early Music Show, recorded in studio for Classic FM, and has performed at leading festivals and venues across the United Kingdom and Europe, including Brighton Early Music Festival, LIFEM, Petworth Festival, Lichfield Festival, King’s Lynn Festival, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Snape Maltings, Festival Alte Musik Knechtsteden, and Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht Fringe. Ensemble Hesperi strongly believes that Early Music should be enjoyed by all, and always seeks to communicate the joy of live music to new audiences through an energetic stage presence.