In her remarks during the concert, Anna Tam referred to the origin of the word "baroque" - a French term for a misshapen or imperfect pearl. The word also appears in Spanish and Portuguese as "barroco".
Peter Horsfield jotted down this haiku at the time:
Later Peter noticed that the term "misshapen pearl" has fourteen letters - which lends itself to the acrostic sonnet format. Here is the result:
Misshapen Pearl (acrostic sonnet)
Peter Horsfield 30/8/2014
Inspired by the lunchtime concert of English Baroque Songs, performed at Leatherhead Methodist Church on 28th August 2014 by Anna Tam, soprano; and Wezi Elliott, lute and archlute.
You will find more of Peter's work on our Poetry Page.
Wezi's interest in music began from an early age, when he would listen to his father’s blues rock albums where he discovered the music of Ten Years After, Deep Purple and Jimi Hendrix. His Mother bought him his first guitar aged 7 and he immediately started playing pop and rock. By 14 he grew fond of jazz and was touring with his local Big Band. During his final A-level year he discovered the lute works of Antonio Vivaldi and JS Bach, instantly fell in love with the instrument, and was determined to play the lute. Unfortunately, as you could imagine, acquiring a lute and a teacher was a complication in itself. However fortune was with Wezi as he bumped into Peter Jones outside Stockwell tube station who just happened to have a lute. Peter offered to give Wezi lessons where he advised him to acquire a lute of his own and to study at the Royal College of Music.
Wezi received his very own lute in 2009 and quickly became fluent and competent enough to audition for the Royal College of Music in February 2010. He was accepted to study at the College the following September under the professorship of Jakob Lindberg. Since joining the college he has been playing solo and ensemble music all over the country. In 2011 he was awarded a grant from his home town of Tottenham and an anonymous donation for his achievements in his performance of lute and ensemble music.
He has played solo performances in churches all around London including the famous St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, and also played lute for Shakespeare plays at the Globe Theatre and Oxford University student productions as well as playing the Lachrimae with the Prince Consort Viol Group in Cambridge. As a gifted continuo player Wezi has worked with renowned harpsichordist Roger Hamilton and various small baroque ensembles around the country. But most of Wezi’s preforming is with the duo he formed with soprano Anna Thunström. The duo perform songs from the renaissance and baroque periods, concentrating on the English style and language.
Now that he has graduated from the Royal College of Music he is keeping busy performing and teaching lute and guitar as well as music theory. Having some impressive performance experience under his belt such as being a soloist in several orchestral concerts, live BBC radio 3 recital and Brighton Early Music Festival with Dame Emma Kirkby, Wezi is looking to use this experience to further boost his career.
Wezi has a website here.
To start this week's selection we have a recording of soprano Erin Cooper Gay accompanied by the lute of Lucas Harris. He is actually playing a theorbo or bass lute, but he hardly uses the extra bass strings at all in this perfofmance of Purcell;s song:
Brian Aswara is the countertenor in this performance of Purcell's If Music be the Food of Love. He is accompanied by Josephine van Lier, Baroque cello, and harpsichordist Gilbert Martinez in this concert form the First Presbyterian Church of Edmonton Alberta.
From the same concert comes this performance of Fairest Isle, by soprano Jolaine Kerley:
For Music for a While we move to Germany and the house of countertenor Andreas Scholl with his fiancée Tamar Halperin at the harpsichord:
The Ground in C minor is played on various instruments. Here is a lovely performance on the guitar from Nataly Makovskaya:
Here's an alternative playing of the Ground in C minor in which Hanneke can Proosdij plays a 2-manual harpsichord:
Richard Leveridge's songs are often a lot of fun, but there is very little of his work to be found online. So here is Elizabeth Schwarzkopf with "When Daisies Pied and Violets Blue" - at the piano, the greatest of all accompanists -
Arne's song has beaten our researches too, so here instead are the Stellenbosch Madrigal Singers with his lively
"Which is the properest day to sing?"
To make up for some of the earlier compromises, here's a little extra. Harpist Szilágyi Kinga Katinka plays both William Croft's Sarabande and his Ground in C minor:
For Handel's Lascia ch'io pianga (Let me weep) we have a recording by French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky:
Time for another song from Andreas Scholl. Here he is performing Where e'er you walk:
Thy hand Belinda appears in the Third Act of Purcell's only true opera Dido and Aeneas. This is the recitative leading into Dido's Lament, or When I am laid in Earth - which is itself a classic work on a Ground Bass, a repeating bass line. Susan Graham is the mezzo-soprano here: