The English Concert in Exeter

The English Concert
Harry Bicket
director/harpsichord
Nadja Zwiener violin

Handel Arrival of the Queen of Sheba from Solomon
Purcell Suite from The Fairy Queen
Rameau Suite from Dardanus
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Vivaldi Concerto for Strings in G minor RV157
Tartini Violin Concerto in B minor, D. 125 ("Lascia ch'io dica addio")
Bach Orchestral Suite No. 3

In an age of instant information and communication it is all too easy to imagine that the musical centres of Europe in the 17th and 18th Centuries were isolated pockets of creativity. Yet entirely the opposite was true. Purcell knew very well that his quintessentially English style incorporated significant aspects from French music, where the now restored Charles II had been in exile. Bach (and Telemann), meanwhile, sought to infuse aspects of Italian and French styles together with a German attention to harmony and counterpoint. Elsewhere, music of the Italian schools were lapped up by the bustling printing houses of Amsterdam and the amateur musicians of England, who happily devoured pirate copies to keep up to date. Whilst adopted by the English and turning his attention to the new form of English-language oratorio, Handel’s music similarly betrays his upbringing in Germany and early success in Italy. But from this fusion of ideas and styles comes the greatest music Europe had ever heard. The spark to create something new sets these musical giants apart as Baroque Masters.