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"They made a Terrible Noise"...

Last night, our harpsichordist Thomas Allery and recorder player, Mary-Jannet Leith, performed at a preview musical evening of Handel and Baroque gesture with members of the Liberata Collective at 22, Mansfield Street! We can't wait to start rehearsals for our production of Handel's Orlando in June, with performances at Buxton International Festival and Lichfield Festival this summer.

We played a couple of movements from the much-loved Handel recorder sonata in F major, and recounted one of the first reviews of Orlando from 1733:

"The Audience was very thin so that I believe they get not enough to pay the Instruments in the orchestra. I was surprised to see the number of Instrumental Masters for there were 2 Harpsichords, 2 large basse violins... 4 violoncellos, 4 bassoons, 2 Hautbois (oboes), 1 Theorbo, lute & above 24 violins. These made a terrible noise and often drown'd the voices."

We all laughed, but it's an interesting challenge to the idea that, as historically-informed performers, we should aim to recreate the conditions of the first performance! In fact, there were only 10 performances of Handel's "Orlando" when he was living(perhaps those 24 violins bankrupted the entire production!), and it was not revived until the 20th century. Here we are, with three of the Liberata Collective, Christian, Olivia, and Susanna. I should say that Tom and I are entirely improvising our Baroque gestures!

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