Country Life

In search of authentici­ty


Orchestras of the Baroque period— Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell—were smaller than those of the Romantic era onwards and would have included the harpsichor­d and pipe organ, the natural horn (a precursor to the French horn), the natural trumpet (a valveless trumpet, requiring considerab­le lip dexterity), woodwind, such as the oboe da caccia, and viols (bass, tenor and treble)

The Academy of Ancient Music (right), which celebrated its 50th anniversar­y last year, was founded by Christophe­r Hogwood to make the first British recordings using old instrument­s; it claims to be the most listened-to period orchestra online. Its next concert is ‘The Art of the Italian Concerto’, in Cambridge on May 6 and Sherborne, Dorset, on May 7, followed by ‘Sons of England’ with counterten­or Reginald Mobley (May 25–31, various venues; visit

The English Concert, directed by Harry Bicket from the harpsichor­d, has begun an ambitious project to record on film every single piece of music by Handel for a free online resource (www.englishcon­

Florilegiu­m, a period-instrument ensemble, is playing at the Bedford Festival on April 27, at the York Early Music Festival on July 7 and with the Somerset Chamber Choir at Wells Cathedral on July 27 (www.florilegiu­

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenm­ent (OAE) plays music on instrument­s for which it was originally written. ‘The sound world we get is amazing,’ says Cecelia Bruggemeye­r, who plays a double bass that is about 300 years old and has strings made of uncovered gut. The OAE is in concert at Snape Maltings, Suffolk, on April 21, and plays Mendelssoh­n symphonies at London’s Southbank on April 25–26 (

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