Esnoga: Jerusalem of the North

The English Concert sets out to explore the beauty of Jewish musical life, including the music of Cervetto and Uccelini as well as non-Jewish composers commissioned to write for Jewish events such as Lidarti and Marcello.

The English Concert
Harry Bicket director/harpsichord
Christopher Ainslie countertenor
Nadja Zwiener violin
Joseph Crouch cello

Benedetto Marcello Sinfonia from Le quattro stagioni  (1731)
Marco Ucellini Violin Sonata 'La ebrea marinata' Op.4, No. 3
Cristiano Giuseppi Lidarti Kol HaNeshama
Giacobo Basevi Cervetto Cello Concerto in G major modern premiere
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Salamone Rossi Sonata quarta sopra l'Arie di Ruggiero
Salamone Rossi Sonata in dialogo
Giacobo Basevi Cervetto Trio Sonata No 1 in g minor
Benedetto Marcello Psalm 21 ‘Volgi mio’

Amsterdam and Venice, two great cities of music in the 17th and 18th Centuries, were not just bustling hubs of trade and culture, but home to large Jewish communities. Many had fled to Holland to escape persecution in Portugal and Spain, and having built the Esnoga, a vast synagogue in Amsterdam (the largest at that time in the world), the city became widely referred to as the ‘Jerusalem of the North’.

Religious freedom in both cities gave rise to a fusion of cultures, particularly in music. With a strong tradition of conservative monodic chant in sacred ceremonies, instrumental music being largely frowned upon in the Temple except for weddings, communities freely adopted western styles of composition to celebrate other important aspects of Jewish life such as holidays, anniversaries and feastdays.

The English Concert sets out to explore the beauty of Jewish musical life, including the music of Cervetto and Uccelini as well as non-Jewish composers commissioned to write for Jewish events such as Lidarti and Marcello.

Season Highlights
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Wigmore Hall, London

From Haydn’s first minor key symphony and the intensity of CPE Bach, to Mozart’s imaginative and playful Piano Concerto No. 13, this programme embodies the inventive spirit of the classical masters.

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Barbican, London

Following the successes of Radamisto, Theodora, Alcina, Hercules and Orlando, The English Concert continues their Handel opera-in-concert series with Rinaldo.

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Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

‘…refreshingly direct and impactful, with The English Concert, nestled either side of the stage, and its director Harry Bicket lending classy baroque accompaniment. Morris cleverly uses the 18th‐century auditorium’s intimacy and dry acoustic to draw us in; I felt an active part of the events unfolding in front, above and around me. Perhaps the cheers and whoops at the end suggested others...

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Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden

Quick on the heels of our Shakespeare celebration in East Asia last season, we return with a summer tour of South Korea with the one of the world’s greatest countertenors Andreas Scholl, featuring celebratory music from two of England’s finest exports, Purcell and Handel.

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