2023 Concerts

The French Connection

Joshua Keller, bass viol
Reidun Turner, bass viol

Josie Ryan, (soprano), Joshua Keller (USA), (bass viol – guest artist), Reidun Turner, (bass viol – guest artist), Brooke Green, (artistic director) and Pippa Macmillan, viols

For this program we trace the evolution of French courtly music from the early chanson of the renaissance to the grand opera of the high baroque. We also feature  virtuosic works for solo and duo bass viols by Marin Marais and Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe.

The early French chanson with its charming nonchalance and tinge of melancholy  was also performed outside of France, at the cosmopolitan courts of Mary Queen of Scots, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Here, French music was highly valued, not merely as entertainment but also for its diplomatic influence. In the court of Charles I and Henrietta, a new trend arose, where French “ditties” were ‘Englished’ (performed with English texts). 

Throughout the 18th century, Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes was performed hundreds of times, as an opera-ballet and in arrangements for other musical ensembles. Its enormous success could be partly attributed to its sophisticated, catchy melodies but also to the public’s fascination with its themes of ‘savages’ and slavery. A generation earlier, the English feminist writer Aphra Behn also achieved much success with her novel and play about an African slave leader: Oroonoko or The Royal Slave. Behn was criticised in her time but later celebrated for writing about sexuality from a woman’s point of view, such as in her poem The Dream. We perform this for her imaginary court, in celebration of this abolitionist and humanitarian pioneer.

1.Thursday 20 April, 6pm
Arts in the Valley, Kangaroo Valley Hall, Moss Vale Rd, Kangaroo Valley

2. Saturday 22 April, 3pm
Glebe Town Hall, Glebe

Watch for updates for more concerts in the year but meanwhile, mark this in your diary:

St Cecilia 2023
Sunday 26 November, 3pm
Glebe Music Festival
Glebe Town Hall, Glebe

Last year, we had enormous fun with our semi-theatrical show about Lucy Countess of Bedford, For this year’s St Cecilia’s Day concert, expect the unexpected!