Proceedings begin at 6pm on Friday 15th May, with a pre-concert talk from lecturer Dr Berta Joncus on female baroque musicians in history. At 7.30pm, the programme properly opens with Masaaki Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan, performing a selection of Bach’s concertos and cantatas. Soprano Hana Blažíková, one of the world’s foremost early music singers, leads as soloist.
Saturday 16th brings a diverse line-up of concerts, starting at 4pm with Concerto Soave, soprano Maria Christina Kiehr and keyboardist Jean-Marc Aymes. They will focus on the seventeenth century’s relatively unsung female composers, including Strozzi, Caccini, Leonardo and Assandra. At 7pm, Carolyn Sampson will sing songs written in for legendary soprano Marie Fel, a favourite of Rameau. The evening ends at 9.30pm with Jonathan Rees and Vladmir Waltham playing viols.
At 10.30am on the 17th there will be a baroque singing workshop led by the OAE’s Robert Howarth, while at 2pm the festival moves to Marylebone’s Wallace Collection for the afternoon. First, there will be a gallery tour looking at music and dance in French art; then, at 3.30pm, harpsichordist Béatrice Martin, violinist Nicolette Moonen and The Bach Players will dedicate a concerto to Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, the first professional female composer. Back in St John’s at 7.30pm, the weekend closes with the all-female Schola Pietatis Antonio Vivaldi and the OAE, performing Vivaldi’s masterworks.
The festival continues into the next week with three more concerts. At 1.05pm on the 18th, soprano Rowan Pierce and Medici deliver a smattering of Bach, Handel, Telemann and others, while at 7.30pm Julia Doyle and Grace Davidson take on Couperin’s Leçons de ténèbres, composed to be sung by nuns.
As has become an annual traditional, the season’s final night will be held in the hallowed nave of Westminster Abbey, at 7.30pm on Tuesday 19th. Its own choir, with the St. James Baroque, will close with a performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, devoted to the Virgin Mary.
|What||London Festival of Baroque Music, St John's Smith Square|
|Where||St John's Smith Square, 30 Smith Square, London , SW1P 3HF | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Westminster (underground)|
15 May 15 – 19 May 15, 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to book via St John's Smith Square|