Preview: “L’Europe Galante” by the Consort of Twelve

Chichester’s baroque ensemble The Consort of Twelve are delighted that internationally-acclaimed flautist Ashley Solomon is returning to direct the first concert of their 2024 season, in St John’s Chapel, Chichester, at 3.00pm on Sunday 12 May.

The programme is entitled L’Europe Galante, and showcases the astonishing variety of music being produced in eighteenth-century Germany, Italy and France.

It will begin in a most dramatic way with (London-based) Handel’s Concerto Grosso in D major, a virtuosic composition that features solo parts for two violins and cello. The famous eighteenth-century music historian and composer Charles Burney described the opening of this Concerto as “the most spirited and characteristic of all the music written by Handel or any other composer [it’s like an] Opera Overture”.

The strings of the Consort will then be joined by oboes and bassoon in the elegiac Sinfonia from Bach’s Cantata BWV 42, and Ashley will follow this by performing Pergolesi’s exciting Flute Concerto in G. The elegant musical styles of Germany and France can be compared in Telemann’s Suite La Bizarre and the Passacaille from Lully’s opera Armide. The concert will end with a unique composition by Lully’s pupil, Rebel, who became chamber composer to Louis XIV. This piece is entitled Les Caractères de la Dance, Fantaisie, and is played as a continuous suite of the most popular dances types of the day.

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