Although the popularity of baroque music has surged in recent decades, with the rise of the period instrument ensemble and numerous revivals of lesser-known composers, it is still in danger of seeming a historical curio, adorned for its evocation of the past. Over numerous concerts and talks, Baroque Unwrapped seeks to be lie to such perfidious ideas, and reveal the period’s full wildness, diversity and experimentalism.
The full line-up is thrillingly varied and unfailingly high quality. The year-long season opens on 10 Jan with the ever-brilliant Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, now resident at Kings Place, presenting instrumental and choral gems from early masters Monteverdi, Cavalli and Grandi, followed by one of the same group’s beloved Night Shift late concerts. Less than a week later, on 16 Jan, the Aurora Orchestra – also based at the venue – will explore the baroque’s final evolution in a programme that links Bach to Mozart.
Highlights abound, and cater to all levels of familiarity with the music. Purists can look forward to Fretwork’s quartet of viols (12 Feb), a French-focused evening with baroque violin doyenne Elizabeth Wallfisch (6 Mar) and a Levon Chilingirian-led Musical Offering (13 Nov). Those seeking adventure can look towards Thomas Gould and Gwilym Simcock (21 Apr), who together will bridge the paths separating baroque from jazz. The Geneva Camerata plan to add Balkan folk to the mix (19 May), while Sweden’s O/MODERNT Kammarorkester will intersperse Vivaldi with orchestrated heavy rock (22 Oct).
At the start of April, Martin Feinstein’s long-running Bach Weekend will come to the venue for the first time, with eight events juxtaposing the devotional with the secular. Fans of Handel will well-served as well – as well as King’s College Choir performing the Brockes-Passion (22 Apr), The Sixteen will present Acis and Galatea (7 May) while the Dunedin Consort will cap the year with Messiah (20 Dec). It looks to be a jubilant end to a celebratory year.
|What||Baroque Unwrapped, Kings Place|
|Where||Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||King's Cross St. Pancras (underground)|
14 Jan 16 – 20 Dec 16, 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to book via the Kings Place website|