"Small wonder this chamber orchestra has earned a reputation as one of the finest
exponents of baroque music in the country. The musical standard throughout was exceptional,
demonstrating enthusiasm, dedication and technical excellence."
The 18th Century Concert Orchestra communicates the brilliance and drama of baroque
music, combining period instruments, candlelight and resplendent 18th-century attire
to present a uniquely atmospheric recreation of 18th-century musical life.
A typical evening: the scene is set by the dedicated Master of Candles, providing
illumination before the musicians appear in their strikingly colourful costumes.
The assembled band, comprised of fiddlers, hautboys and harpsichordist, bow gracefully
and soon launch into a striking overture – perhaps one of Don Antonio Vivaldi's (designed
to arrest the attention of a packed and noisy Venetian opera house).Concertos, arias
and dance suites are interspersed with informative and witty anecdotes drawn from
18th-century histories, journals and treatises. Such sources also inform our programming
as they often make mention of popular works scarcely known today (e.g. comic overtures).
Baroque classics feature alongside these rare items. The authentic 18th-century elements:
period instruments, wooden music desks, individually tailored shoes and costumes,
mohair wigs, candlelight and readings.
Since its foundation in 2001 the orchestra has played in theatres, concert halls,
churches and stately homes across the UK and further afield (including a 2 week tour
of Canada). Their endeavours have earned them a National Lottery award and Arts Council
England recognition, and a performance of Handel's Messiah was filmed for two television
programmes in the Channel 4 series Georgian Underworld. Appearances this year include:
Blenheim Palace, Holywell Music Room (Oxford), Great Witley Church, Norden Farm Centre
for the Arts, Stroud Subscription Room, and Theatre Royal Bath, where the orchestra
and its own chamber choir give two performances of Handel's Messiah to sell-out houses