From the sparrow’s innocence to the lusty dove, the conniving raven to the owl, portend of death, this programme of music and songs of the restoration, is rife with humour! The dulcet tones of the harp and the crusty viols compliment the bard’s yarn.
After Charles I, King of England, was executed, his son, the eventual Charles II, was exiled to Europe, where he moved from court to court thriving on wine, women and song! Soon to be crowned king, he would bring back more than the monarchy to Merry Old England. The grand court of his distant cousin, Louis XIV, offered Charles a glimpse of lavish, regal glory in which the arts were flaunted as manifestations of power.
After eleven years of austerity, the English people were hungry for entertainment. Music, poetry and the theatres were refreshed with novel European influences. Restoration comedy and masques brought both wit and wisdom back into theatres that thrived with a new clientele: a bourgeoning middle class eager to exchange cash for entertainment.
This programme includes music by Froberger, written in London, Sainte-Colombe, whose music was found in Scotland, and Jenkins, who lived through the interregnum to welcome back Charles II, as well as Scottish and Irish tunes and songs of innocence, love, drinking and death by Purcell, Akeroyde, Lawes, Blow and a certain Baptist.
Les Voix humaines expand the repertoire for two viols with new arrangements of some of the music offered in this programme. A common and respected practice in the baroque era, shunned as inauthentic during the 20th century, arrangements are now part of the historically informed norm and the duo is acclaimed for its brilliant transformations of works as well-known as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Rameau’s Pièces de clavecin en concert and Bach’s D minor Chaconne for solo violin as well as many songs by Dowland, Lawes and Purcell.