York musicians Eboracum Baroque go virtual for Fairest Isle concert on January 23

Eboracum Baroque: Streamed concert on January 23 with Henry Purcell’s music to the fore

EBORACUM Baroque will return to the online platform on January 23 with Fairest Isle: Music from the 17th and 18th century England.

The 7pm streamed concert was recorded in October at King’s Ely, a school in Cambridgeshire, when the York ensemble was able to film with no Coronavirus lockdown in place.

Performing that autumn day were Elen Lloyd Roberts, soprano; Miriam Monaghan, recorder; Chris Parsons, trumpet; Miri Nohl, cello, and Laurence Lyndon Jones, harpsichord.

Founder Chris Parsons says: “We’re determined to keep going and provide support to young freelance musicians in these challenging times. We’re also very keen to continue to offer exciting new digital content for our audiences who we wish we could perform to in person.”

Looking forward to the January 23 stream, Chris says: “We’ll take the online audience back to 17th and 18th century England, featuring some of the great composers of the day, particularly Henry Purcell, who was held in such high regard at the time.

“The programme includes some of Purcell’s big hits from the London stage, productions that had never been seen in England until now – it must have been pretty amazing!

“Purcell’s stage works of the 1690s were huge spectacles with elaborate Italian stagecraft, and we’ve picked music from The Fairy Queen, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the patriotic King Arthur.”

What else? “Music and musicians from Europe flooded London at this time and Italianate music was very much in vogue,” says Chris. “So we’ll feature a virtuosic recorder concerto by Sammartini, who made his name in 18th century London, and a Vivaldi sonata, alongside British composers, including John Blow and an overture featuring the trumpet by William Croft.” 

Summing up that period of music-making, Chris says: “One of Ely’s famous sons, Oliver Cromwell, played a major part in shutting the theatres and not allowing concerts earlier on in the 17th century, so it was an amazing melting pot of music-making in London when Charles II returned to the throne, and for composers like Purcell an amazing place and time to be writing such brilliant music.”’

Taking concerts online amid the strictures of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a fruitful new avenue for Parsons and his fellow musicians. “Our virtual winter season was a success, when we streamed A Baroque Christmas, recorded at Wimpole Church and Wimpole Hall in our second home of Cambridge, on December 12.

“We feel incredibly lucky to have filmed the Fairest Isle concert back in October while we were able to be together, and we have some virtual projects in the pipeline for 2021.

“These include a 17th century pub concert – with beer tasting from a local brewer – coming up in February, which we hope will be an exciting online experience for our audience too.

“We’ll be embracing technology again for that one, recording parts individually and then sticking them all together. All being well, we also hope to film a concert in York in March but it’s hard to plan for the future.”

The Fairest Isle concert will be premiered on youtube.com/eboracumbaroque and at facebook.com/eboracumbaroque. “We’re very keen to make our concerts accessible to all, so whether you are new to baroque music or a regular watcher of early music, we hope there is something for everyone,” says Chris.

“We introduce each piece with a background of the composer and the history of the piece to set the scene.

“So, on January 23, we invite you to sit back, relax and enjoy this varied and energetic programme from the comfort of your own home.”

The programme for Fairest Isle: Music from the 17th and 18th century England:

Hark The Echoing Air from The Fairy Queen,  Henry Purcell (1659 -1695); 

Recorder Concerto in F Major, Sammartini (1700 – 1775); 

I Allegro, II Siciliano, III Allegro Assai; 

Sweeter Than Roses from Pausanias, The Betrayer Of His Country, Henry Purcell; Overture from With Noise Of Cannon, William Croft (1678 – 1727); 

I Moderato, II Allegro, III Adagio, IV Allegro; 

Music For A While from Oedipus, Henry Purcell;

Cello Sonata in Bb Major, Antonio Vivaldi;

I Largo, II Allegro, III Largo, IV Allegro; 

Lovely Selina from The Princess Of Cleve, John Blow (1649 – 1708); 

Two movements from The Division Flute, Anon; 

I, Readings Ground, II, A Division On A Ground; 

Fairest Isle from King Arthur, Henry Purcell.

Did you know?

EBORACUM Baroque is an ensemble of young professional singers and instrumentalists, formed in 2012 by Chris Parsons at the University of York and the Royal College of Music, London.