Fair Oriana: Divine Songs of Passion

Divine Songs of Passion
Fair Oriana, with David Wright & Harry Buckoke
St Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, London EC1A
13 April 2022
(and at Sands Films Music Room on 21 April)

As part of their Holy Week Mass and Music series of events, the historic church of St Bartholomew the Great in London’s Smithfield invited the soprano duo, Fair Oriana, to perform their programme Divine Songs of Passion. This well-constructed concert was based around François Couperin’s c1714 Leçons de ténèbres pour le mercredi saint, contrasted with music by d’Anglebert, Purcell, Pergolesi and Blow. The date of the concert was appropriate, as the only surviving part of the Couperin Leçons de ténèbres is the one for the Wednesday of Holy Week. The other two sets of three Leçons composed for the following two days are lost. Although the Lamentations of Jeremiah depict the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, they have long been associated with Holy Week.

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Ceruleo: Paradise Lost

Ceruleo: Paradise Lost
Guildhall Artist Fellowship Recital
Music Hall, Guildhall School of Music and Drama. 10 July 2017

The five-strong group Ceruleo (two sopranos, cello, theorbo, and harpsichord) got together at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2014. They have just completed a one year Artist Fellowship there, the first time a this has been awarded to a group. During their year, they gave several performances of their programme ‘Deplorable Fire’ commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, including a live performance on BBC Radio 3. They presented their Paradise Lost programme, based on John Milton’s poem (published 350 years ago in 1667) as their final recital of their Fellowship year. The music was interspersed by extracts from Paradise Lost. Continue reading

Froberger & Blow: St Giles-in-the-Fields

Friday 24 March 2017, 1pm
St Giles-in-the-Fields
60 St Giles High Street. London, WC2H 8LG

Andrew Benson-Wilson plays organ music by Froberger & Blow

This recital traces the influence of Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-67) on the English organist and composer, John Blow (1649-1708).

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Froberger was an enormous influence on keyboard composers from the 17th to early 19th century, not least for his role in spreading the Italian style of his teacher Frescobaldi around Europe, and assimilating various European musical styles into his own compositions. Although only two of his works were published in his lifetime, Froberger’s compositions were widely circulated in manuscript copies.  They were known to have been studied by the likes of Pachelbel, Buxtehude, Muffat, Kerll, Weckmann, Louis Couperin, Kirnberger, Böhm, Handel, Bach, and even Mozart and Beethoven. He was a close friend of Matthias Weckmann, who helped to spread the Italian style to the important North German organ composers in Hamburg.

John Blow (1649-1708) was the teacher of Purcell, and his predecessor (and successor) as organist of Westminster Abbey. He was just 18 when Froberger died and was about 4 when Froberger made his disastrous visit to London. The influence of Froberger came through manuscripts that Blow copied, adding his own distinctive English Baroque ornaments in the process.

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