As part of our online 2021 City Summer Sounds festival, outstanding baroque ensemble Gut Instinct performs music from the time of the English Civil War through to the Restoration, exploring the restless milieu that set the stage for Henry Purcell, the most celebrated English composer of the 17th century.
This event will be broadcast live and available to view via the YouTube stream below, or by clicking here.
Fantasias and trio sonatas by:
Giovanni Battista Draghi
When public concerts stopped last year, musicians were forced to go small. Streaming from our living rooms and empty halls and teaching on Zoom has given us a small insight into how musicians were forced to adapt during the Interregnum (1642-1660).
Before the English Civil War, musicians made a living writing and performing for the court, the theatre and the church. Suddenly this was no longer possible. Contrary to popular belief, music performances were never banned outright. But the government closed the theatres, suppressed church music and disapproved of dancing and drunkenness, often accompanied by that upstart tavern instrument, the violin.
John Jenkins, William Lawes and Christopher Gibbons had been court musicians. Lawes was shot dead fighting for the Royalists in 1645. Jenkins and Gibbons survived by turning to the burgeoning market of amateurs clamouring for music lessons and new chamber music to play.
On his return from exile, Charles II gave them their old jobs back and invited Giovanni Battista Draghi to London introduce the English to Italian opera. The new court also brought the latest continental ideas, such as the fashionable music of French court composer Jean-Baptiste Lully. Amid these rich and varied influences, a young chorister at the Chapel Royal began his musical education: Henry Purcell.
Persephone Gibbs and Liz MacCarthy, violins
Joe Crouch, cello
Tom Foster, keyboard
Gut Instinct are some of the UK’s finest period instrument players, "off duty" members of the Academy of Ancient Music and the English Concert. Audiences have praised them for their direct communication and infectious enjoyment as much as their technical brilliance.
They formed Gut Instinct because they love playing together and share a desire to explore the full range of the baroque repertoire, setting the era’s famous names in their musical and social context. They enjoy introducing audiences to composers who deserve to be better known and music not heard in centuries. Their gigs often include modern premieres of unknown or forgotten pieces unearthed by their own research.
Persephone Gibbs (violin ) studied at Juilliard and gained degrees in English and law before leaving the USA to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Hailed by Time Out as a "star of the baroque violin", her appointment in 2016 as artistic director of Devon Baroque has met with critical acclaim. Persephone is leader, soloist and occasional director of the Brandenburg Baroque Soloists and Temple Players and is guest leader with the Academy of Ancient Music, Instruments of Time and Truth and the Early Opera Company, and plays with the Gabrieli Consort
She has recently featured in live chamber concerts with the Academy of Ancient Music on BBC Radio 3 and online. Her recordings include Maestro Corelli's Violins by Collegium Musicum 90 and Pelham Humfrey’s Symphony Anthems by Instruments of Time and Truth ("achingly expressive" **** The Times).
She is a guest lecturer in historical performance practice at City. In her spare time she enjoys plying her friends with historically informed cocktails.
Since graduating from The Royal Academy of Music in 1999, Liz MacCarthy (violin) has since gone on to enjoy a varied and prolific career as an outstanding violinist in the early music field. She is a member of both the Academy of Ancient Music and the English Concert and performs regularly with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Early Opera company, the Classical Opera and many more distinguished early music ensembles.
Liz has also performed solo concertos with the Feinstein Ensemble and the Brandenburg Baroque Soloists, led orchestral performances with St James' Baroque and participated in four productions at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London.
A passionate educator, Liz is a violin tutor and string ensemble coach at the Dragon School in Oxford.
Joseph Crouch is the principal cellist with the English Concert, the Sixteen and the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart.
Joe first heard gut-strung instruments as a boy treble in the choir of Westminster Abbey and was immediately drawn to their sound, to the energy of the repertoire and to the vitality of the continuo group in particular. Later, when his "broken" voice proved to be an entirely unlovable instrument, he began to take the cello seriously and–much to the relief of his long-suffering singing teachers–he switched to baroque cello as a postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music. After graduating he joined the European Union Baroque Orchestra and Trio Sonnerie. He was later appointed principal cellist with the Academy of Ancient Music and the Gabrieli Consort.
Joe now combines his playing with teaching at the Guildhall and the Royal Academy of Music.
Tom Foster (keyboard) has a busy career both as a solo harpsichordist and continuo player on harpsichord and organ. He has given recitals across the UK and has been a concerto soloist at the Edinburgh International Festival. He made his USA solo debut at the Carnegie Hall in February 2020.
Tom plays with some of the UK’s foremost chamber and orchestral ensembles. He is the principal keyboard player of the English Concert and is a guest with the Academy of Ancient Music, Arcangelo, Dunedin Consort, Early Opera Company, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Scottish Ensemble and the Sixteen. These musical collaborations have taken him to concert halls across Europe, the United States, Australia, Russia and South Korea.