LIFEM | 13-16 November 2024 — Subscribe for more news

Ensemble Hesperi

Saturday 13th November 2021, 6.00pm

St. Michael & All Angels, Pond Road, Blackheath SE3 9JL

“Battle of the Kings: Chamber Music from the Courts of Louis XIV and Charles II”

Joint winners of the 2020 Young Ensemble Competition, Ensemble Hesperi, return for their winners’ recital.


Ensemble Hesperi is a dynamic and innovative London-based Early Music ensemble, dedicated to showcasing the infectious charm and dazzling virtuosity of eighteenth century Scottish music through imaginative programming and collaboration with other art forms. In 2019, the ensemble embarked on a unique project, ‘The Pheasant’s Eye’, featuring Highland dancer Kathleen Gilbert, supported by a Lottery grant from Arts Council England. Since 2019, the ensemble has been featured by Classical Music Magazine, recorded in studio for Classic FM, selected as Britten Pears Young Artists for 2020 and as ‘Take Note’ artists for Chiltern Arts Festival. In November 2020, they won first prize at the London International Festival of Early Music Young Ensemble Competition.

Ensemble Hesperi performs regularly for those who have no opportunity to hear live classical music through the prestigious outreach scheme ‘Live Music Now’. The ensemble has also developed a strong relationship with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s charity, CW+: they were honoured to be invited to present two Handel Concerti Grossi at the celebration service for the Tercentenary of the hospital in May 2019 at Westminster Abbey. From March 2020, Hesperi has live-streamed weekly to an enthusiastic audience around the world. In April 2020, the ensemble received an Emergency Coronavirus Response grant from Arts Council England, which supported a new online dance and Scottish music project, “Highland at Home with Hesperi”.

Programme - Saturday 13th November 2021, 6.00pm

"Battle of the Kings: Chamber Music from the Courts of Louis XIV and Charles II”

Mary-Jannet Leith, Recorders

Magdalena Loth-Hill, Baroque violin

Florence Petit, Baroque cello

Thomas Allery, Harpsichord

In the late seventeenth century, every king and queen in Europe envied the artistic resources and dazzling entertainments at the court of King Louis XIV of France. The English King Charles II experienced the full impact of King Louis’ artistic empire in Versailles during the British interregnum. When he returned to England to ascend the throne in 1661, Charles was determined to restore the monarchy as the leader in musical patronage, and immediately sought out England’s finest musicians to rival the musical styles and scale of French court.

In this concert we present music from both sides of the channel by royal chamber composers, to let you decide which king had the best musical taste! From the Court of Louis XIV, one of Francois Couperin’s Concerts Royaux, a solo harpsichord transcription of pieces from Lully’s operas by Jean-Henry d’Anglebert, and a trio sonata by the child prodigy Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, who first performed at the royal court at the age of five. Also on the French side, trios by Jacques Hotteterre, and Jean-Fery Rebel, one of Louis’s famous band of violins, “Les Vingt-quatre Violons du Roi”.

Over in England, Charles II was determined to match the forces of this incredible five-part ensemble, creating an identical ensemble, the “24 Violins”, led by some of the foremost English musicians of the day, such as the composer John Banister, the founder of the modern-day concert series. We will perform some of Banister’s divisions, alongside a sparkling trio sonata by Henry Purcell, organist of Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal. Charles II loved dance music that he could beat time to, so for his court, we’ll also perform our own arrangement of dance music from a suite of Purcell.


Élisabeth-Claude Jacquet de La Guerre (1665-1729)
Trio Sonata No. 1 in B Flat Major
[Untitled] - Allegro
Jean-Henri d'Anglebert (1629-1691)
Pieces de Clavecin                                                                    
Chaconne de 'Phaéton' de Lully          
Jacques-Martin Hotteterre (1674-1763)
Sonates en Trio: Livre Premier, Op. 3, Sonate III                                        
Prelude – Fugue – Grave - Vivement et croches egales
Élisabeth-Claude Jacquet de La Guerre (1665-1729)
Pieces de Clavecin                                              
Prelude & Chaconne L’Inconstante                        
Jean-Fery Rebel (1666-1747)
Deuxieme Sonate in F major                                                                  
Lentement – Gay – Lentement – Gay
Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Sonatas of Three Parts no. 1 in G minor Z790                                                        
Untitled – Vivace – Adagio – Presto – Largo
John Banister (1630-1679)
The Division Flute                                                                                    
Divisions on a Ground
George Frederick Handel (1685-1759)
Trio Sonata in F major HWV 389                                                                
Larghetto – Allegro – Adagio – Allegro – Allegro
Michel Farinel (1649-1726)
The Division Violin                                                                                  
The Faronell’s Ground
John Blow (1649-1708)
Trio Sonata in A Major                                                                                
Largo – [Andante] - Allegro
Nicola Matteis (1650-1714)
Ayres for the Violin, Part Four                                                                  
Ground after the Scotch Humour


Approx. finish time 8.00pm (with interval).