THE KING'S CONSORT is one of the world's leading period instrument orchestras. Founded in 1980 by Robert King, The King's Consort and its equally renowned Choir of The King's Consort have toured in five continents and appeared in almost every European country, in Japan, Hong Kong and the Far East, as well as North and South America. With more than one hundred CDs in the catalogue, selling in excess of one and a half million copies, The King's Consort is one of the world's most-recorded historical instrument orchestras. TKC now records for the VIVAT label.
For more than three decades The King's Consort, under Robert King's artistic direction, has presented an adventurous variety of repertoire, spanning from 1550 to the present day, in many of the greatest European concert halls. Highlights have included seven appearances at the BBC Proms, performances of the spectacular Coronation of King George II, the Venetian reconstruction Lo Sposalizio, Bach's Mass in B Minor and St Matthew Passion and Mendelssohn Elijah widely across Britain and Europe, staged performances of Purcell The Fairy Queen in Spain and Britain, the opening concert of BBC TV's Purcell celebrations, and Mozart Requiem in the glorious Alhambra Palace in Granada. Other staged operas have included Handel Ottone in Japan and Britain, Handel Ezio at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris and Purcell The Indian Queen in the historic theatre in Schwetzingen, Germany. Tours further afield have included concert and opera performances in Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines, in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, and across the USA and Canada.
TKC's highly-acclaimed recordings have won many international awards and sold over 1,500,000 copies. The orchestra is especially regarded for its many recordings of music by Handel and Purcell, but its catalogue also includes instrumental and choral music by dozens of composers from Albinoni to Zelenka, including Bach Mass in B Minor, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, Mozart Sacred Music, the Stabat Maters of Pergolesi, Astorga and Boccherini, and the massive Venetian reconstruction Lo Sposalizio. Twenty-five world-première recordings of Purcell's complete Odes, Solo Songs and Sacred Music established TKC as the world's leading performers of this composer's music. TKC is also renowned for its recordings of more than a dozen Handel oratorios and operas. Other CD projects include the much acclaimed Sacred Music of Monteverdi, including the Vespers of 1610: this series follows the success of ten volumes of Vivaldi's complete Sacred Music. Similarly fêted have been the best-selling recordings of The Coronation of King George, Handel's colourful Ode for St Cecilia, the critically-acclaimed Michael Haydn Requiem (winner of BBC Music Magazine’s 'Best Choral Recording') and Mozart Sacred Music with soprano Carolyn Sampson. TKC now records for the VIVAT label, where its repertoire includes discs by Stanford and Parry (a Gramophone Awards finalist), Couperin, Monteverdi, Handel and Purcell. Shortly to be released is a new recording of music by British Romantics including Stanford, Parry, Howells and MacMillan.
In the world of Hollywood the Choir of The King's Consort feature in the sound tracks of Ridley Scott's epic Kingdom of Heaven, and in The Chronicles of Narnia, Pirates of the Caribbean, Flushed Away and The Da Vinci Code.
Recently TKC has enjoyed major European tours of Bach St Matthew Passion, Handel Messiahand Bach Mass in B minor, performed the Requiems of Mozart and Michael Haydn in Lucerne and Cuenca, Mendelssohn Paulus at Leipzig Gewandhaus and Haydn The Creation for Flanders Festival, Finzi Dies Natalis and Britten Les Illuminations at Wigmore Hall and in France, Handel Ottone, Purcell The Fairy Queen and King Arthur in Theater an der Wien, recorded and performed Couperin Trois Leçons de Ténèbres widely, toured Handel La Resurrezione and Pergolesi Stabat Mater in France, and toured in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.
“Shakespeare’s London” is delightful, with a first half of Elizabethan songs and other music from that Golden Age (including marvellous instrumental music by Matthew Locke), and then a splendid second half of Purcell.
“Seven Stages of Love” is a highly novel way of tracking, in music, a romance’s lifespan through its series of stages: Innocence, Desire, Pursuit, Infatuation, Marriage, Offspring, Discord and (a happy ending) Reconciliation. The music is extremely varied, ranging from Monteverdi, Handel, Purcell, Gluck through to the modern day, including a commission written specially for TKC by Michael Berkeley.
Handel: Alexander’s Feast
Remaining dates available are March 27, 28, 29 & 30, 2023
Carolyn Sampson soprano
Joshua Ellicott tenor
Matthew Brook bass
Choir of The King’s Consort (18 voices)
The King’s Consort (25 instruments)
Robert King conductor
First performed in 1736, to a libretto by Newburgh Hamilton based on John Dryden’s 1697 ode Alexander’s Feast, or the Power of Music, Handel depicts a banquet held in the captured Persian city of Persepolis by Alexander the Great and his mistress, the Greek courtesan Thais. During the feast, the court musician Timotheus performs, bringing about a series of mood changes in Alexander until, exacting a terrible revenge for his slain Greek soldiers, Alexander is incited to burn down the city. The score, full of especially fine arias and splendid choruses, boasts an unusually varied set of Handelian orchestral colours, including harp, recorders, horns and – depicting the Greek ghosts – the chilling sound of three bassoons and doubled violas. Glorious music!
Dido and Aeneas
Carolyn Sampson soprano Dido
Matthew Brook bass Aeneas
Hugh Cutting countertenor Sorceress/ Spirit
Julie Cooper soprano Belinda
Emily Owen Second Woman, First Witch
David de Winter tenor Sailor
Choir of The King's Consort (14 voices)
The King's Consort (17 instruments)
Robert King conductor
Purcell: Why are all the Muses mute? (Ode for King James, 1685)
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas
Purcell's magical tale of love, deception, magic and eventual despair is one of the most perfect opera scores, full of glorious melodies, sparkling orchestral writing, a crackling plot culminating in Dido's heart-rending lament, "When I am laid in Earth". The performance will be semi-staged. TKC is renowned the world over for its performances of Purcell and here assembles a particularly strong cast, led by Carolyn Sampson and Matthew Brook. TKC pairs Dido and Aeneas with a striking Ode written in the same year, "Why are all the muses mute", full of fine music and with a devastating conclusion that finds Purcell once again at his melancholy greatest.
“Welcome, glorious morn”
Royal Odes by Henry Purcell
dates still being discussed with France, so we are open to date offers
Carolyn Sampson, Emily Owen soprano
Iestyn Davies, Hugh Cutting countertenor
Charles Daniels, David de Winter tenor
Matthew Brook, Edward Grint bass
The King’s Consort (12 instrumentalists)
Robert King conductor
Suite from Abdelazer
Purcell: Now does the glorious day appear (Birthday Ode for Queen Mary, 1689)
Suite from Dioclesian
Purcell: Welcome, welcome, glorious morn (Birthday Ode for Queen Mary, 1691)
A glittering programme featuring two of Purcell’s finest celebratory birthday odes written for his favourite royal patron, the much-loved Queen Mary. Filled with some of Purcell’s most memorable arias, and punctuated by striking instrumental music, all performed by an world-renowned line-up of Purcellians - and tying into a brilliant new recording which has recently been awarded Gramophone magazine’s “Editor’s Choice”. The short promo video at https://youtu.be/qzJnaT0s5Qg – this is an outstanding programme, fit for a King.
Rossini: Petite Messe Solennelle
The King’s Consort
Carolyn Sampson, Emily Owen, Gwendolen Martin soprano
Hilary Summers, Sian Menna, Heather Cairncross alto
Joshua Ellicott, David de Winter, Graham Neal tenor
Matthew Brook, Jimmy Holliday, Andrew Rupp bass
Iain Farrington, Ashok Gupta 19th century piano
Richard Gowers french harmonium
Robert King conductor
Byrd: Mass in Four Parts (c.1593)
Rossini: Petite Messe Solennelle
Rossini’s outrageously operatic Mass of 1864 is juxtaposed with one of the greatest of all Renaissance Masses, that by William Byrd, written nearly three hundred years before. This performance restores Rossini’s setting to the composer’s original scoring, where the performers included just twelve voices with an accompaniment of two grand pianos and a French harmonium (TKC has sourced suitable instruments, including two nineteenth-century grand pianos and a Debain harmonium – the same make that Rossini used in his first performance). The result is a performance which is fresh, full-blooded, operatic yet still maintaining its sense of devotion, and full of character, joie-de-vivre and French style.
A Voice from Heaven
British Choral Masterpieces
Choir of The King’s Consort (24 voices)
Robert King conductor
Naylor: Vox dicentis: clama
Stanford: Three Latin Motets (Justorum animae: Coelos ascendit hodie: Beati quorum via)
Howells: I heard a voice from heaven
Walton: Set me as a seal
Walton: Where does the uttered music go
Harris: Faire is the Heaven
Britten: A Hymn to St Cecilia
Hewitt Jones: Drop, drop, slow tears
Murrill: The souls of the righteous
Leighton: Drop, drop, slow tears
Stanford: I heard a voice from heaven
Harris: Bring us, O Lord God
Howells: Take him, earth, for cherishing (Motet on the death of President Kennedy)[A1]
A delicious programme of unaccompanied masterpieces from the finest British Romantics, including ravishing settings by Stanford, Howells, Walton and their contemporaries. The two Harris settings are especially fine: Herbert Murrill’s work is a perfect miniature, and Kenneth Leighton’s melancholy anthem wonderfully poised. Howells’ motet for the slain President Kennedy is a devastating masterwork.
Matthew Locke: Music to The Tempest
Robert Johnson: Hark, hark the lark (The Tempest)
John Wilson: Take, O take those lips away (Measure for Measure)
Locke: Curtain Tune to The Tempest
Thomas Morley: O mistress mine (Twelfth Night)
Robert Johnson: When that I was (Twelfth Night)
Purcell & Paisible: Suite from Timon of Athens
Anon: Lawn as white as driven snow (A Winter's Tale)
Richard Edwards: Where griping grief (Romeo and Juliet)
Locke: Music from The Tempest
Anon: The Willow Song (Othello)
Edward Johnson: Eliza is the fairest Queen
Purcell: Songs and instrumental music from The Fairy-Queen
Two golden musical ages linked together by the words of Shakespeare, with ravishing Elizabethan settings (including a wonderful selection of lute songs weaved amonst Matthew Locke's extraordinary music to The Tempest) paried with Purcell's own, highly coloured response to the words of England's greatest playwright. The King's Consort is regarded as one of the world's leading ensembles performing Purcell's music, with a huge recorded discography built up over quarter of a century.
Seven Stages of Love
Madison Nonoa: soprano
Hugh Cutting: Countertenor
The King's Consort: 6 instruments
Robert King: harpsichord, director
A splendidly varied programme tracking love in its journey through seven stages: Innoncence, Desire, Infatuation, Pursuit, Marriage, Offspring and Discord.
The music travels from the Renaissance and Baroque to the present day, with featured composers including Dowland, Campion, Purcell, Handel, Monteverdi, Fluck, Gershwin, Rogers, Hart and Cole Porter, along with a work written for TKC by Michael Berkeley.
Odes to St Cecillia
Carolyn Sampson: soprano
Robin Blaze: countertenor
James Gilchrist: tenor
Choir of The King's Consort: 18 voices
The King's Consort: 25 players
Robert King: conductor
Three wonderful settingsd in praise of the Patron Saint of music from three different centuries bring vivid musical contrasts. Purcell's Ode of 1683 includes delicious instrumental ritornelli and elegantly lilting choruses alongside the central, ravishing alto solo "Here the deities approve." Benjamin Britten's 1942 setting of W H Auden''s highly expressive poetry is brilliantly crafted miniature masterpiece for unaccompanied choir.
The symbolic wedding of Venice to the Adriatic sea was celebrated annually on Ascension Day during the era when Venice was at the height of its cultural and economic powers. Accompanied throughout by the most lavish spectacle and music, the procession would leave the Doge’s Palace, cross the lagoon on the Buccintoro, rowed by 400 oarsmen, and hold a service on the Lido in the Church of San Nicolò. At the central point of the Sposalizio the Doge would drop a gold ring into the lagoon. Robert King has reconstructed this ceremony for the celebrations of 1600. At this time the remarkable music of Andrea Gabrieli was still fashionable, and that of his nephew and successor Giovanni Gabrieli was at its peak. The reconstruction contains some of the most glorious music ever written, making a spectacular concert. The reconstruction falls into two halves: the first part features the secular music that accompanied the procession as it left the Palace and crossed the lagoon, including the Doge’s Piffari (five silver trumpets), madrigals on Venetian and aquatic themes and instrumental canzonas for large- and small-scale forces, closing with Giovanni Gabrieli’s sumptuous fifteen-part madrigal ‘Udite chiari’. In the second part the service held in San Nicolò is reconstructed, with large-scale fanfares and canzonas, a twelve-part Kyrie, Andrea Gabrieli’s stunning sixteen-part Gloria, further motets and the Sanctus, culminating in Giovanni Gabrieli’s monumental 22-part sonata, written for five separate choirs of instruments.