Renaissance vocal ensemble Basiliensis was formed by alumni of the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland (from which the group derives its name), in order to explore the Italian and English madrigal repertoires of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Drawing on research and editing carried out by the group’s own members – Kate Macoboy (soprano), Yulia Mikkonen (alto), Paul Bentley (tenor), Adrian Horsewood (baritone), and Anton Tutnov (bass) – Basiliensis aims to free its performances from the strictures of modern musical conventions and practices by working from facsimiles of original prints and by remaining sensitive to historical and musicological issues of voicing, temperament and instrumentation.
Our first programme, Love, Loss and Lament, contrasted the austere classicism of Jacques Arcadelt with the searing intensity of later madrigals by Benedetto Pallavicino and Stefano Landi, with Claudio Monteverdi’s heart-wrenching Lamento della ninfa at the emotional centre of the programme.
Other concert programmes include: Fiori ferraresi, an exploration of the wealth of music written by composers with connections to the ducal court of Ferrara, home of the d’Este family, such as Luzzasco Luzzaschi, Girolamo Frescobaldi, and Carlo Gesualdo; and Vergine bella, comprising spiritual madrigals by Felice Anerio, Luca Marenzio, and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
Recent performances have taken place in the United Kingdom, Austria and Russia; we will be returning to Austria in September 2013 for concerts in Vienna and Graz.
Flos Harmonicus – comprising Catherine Groom and Adrian Horsewood – is a duo interested in the intersection of medieval song and the folk tradition of story-telling in song in the British Isles. Our performances are atmospheric and colourful, involving voices, medieval and clàrsach harps, recorders and whistles, sinfonye and percussion as well as poetry recitation and verbal story-telling.
We met at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2007, having studied previously at Oxford and Cambridge repectively, and after separating to continue our studies at the Royal Academy of Music and at the Schola Cantorum at Basel began performing together in early 2010 at St. David’s Cathedral in Wales.
It was there that we recorded our debut CD, Excelsus in numine: music from medieval Europe in honour of the communion of saints, and there that we undertook an extensive performance-research project for the dean and chapter, editing and performing parts of the only extant source of liturgical music from medieval Wales.
Recent activities have included recitals in London, Oxford and Cambridge entitled A Patchwork Quilt, a sell-out tour in Derbyshire comprising concerts and educational work, and a full-length evening concert of allegorical medieval/folk story-telling-in-song called … which ever blows blossom … at the Holywell Music Room in Oxford.
(‘Flos harmonicus’, meaning ‘flower of harmony’, is a term used by the 13th-century theorist Jerome of Moravia to describe a particular plainchant ornament.)
Renaissance trio Mascherata – Catherine Groom (recorders, mezzo-soprano, Renaissance harp), Adrian Horsewood (baritone, percussion, reciter) and Richard MacKenzie (lute, theorbo, Baroque guitar, vihuela), trained between them at Oxford, Cambridge, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal Academy of Music and the Schola Cantorum at Basel – specialize in the intimate music of Renaissance Venice and Spain.
Our versatility (kaleidoscopic permutations of recorders, voices, Renaissance harp, recitation, percusion and any number of plucked instruments: lute, theorbo, guitars, vihuela…) means we have the capacity to weave dazzling tapestries of colour, repertorial possibility and texture.
Formed in early 2010 for a concert in Venice, our first programme, Musica per una serata veneziana, took as its starting point the arrival of Henri III of France into Venice in 1574. Recent programmes have been focussed on Spanish music: spagnoletto themes, Valderrábano and Mudarra on vihuela and harp, and strummed villancicos aplenty.
We have run an educational concert at Lake Garda; given the evening concert at a conference of Renaissance music at Oxford University, at which two of us presented papers; improvised at Kensington Palace; performed extensively under the auspices of Oxford’s Bate Collection and given a recital for Wenner recorders at the Greenwich International Early Music exhibition.
Mascherata were also finalists at the International Early Music Competition, Middelburg, The Netherlands in 2011.