I’m a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester.
My debut poetry pamphlet is available at wildpressedbooks.com/david-keyworth.html
Baroque around the clock
A new music ensemble is orchestrating a renaissance of Manchester's classical past. Manchester Baroque are "dedicated to playing the music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on period instruments."
Mike Emmerich, Manchester Baroque's Chair of Board of Directors, told WeekendNotes: "Baroque music is both accessible yet complex. The sound world of the original instruments is softer and more intimate than that of modern instruments. Together, they create a real and valuable counterpoint to the hustle and bustle of modernity."
The ensembles' formation was inspired by music director Dr Pauline Nobes' discovery of a "hitherto unknown concert series from 1744/5." Dr Nobes is one of Europe's "foremost specialists in historical performance." She is undertaking new research into Manchester's musical history.
The 1744/45 concert programmes re-surfaced by chance. A "uniquely detailed transcript" entitled Manchester Concerts in 1744 was found in a centenary review for the Chetham Society.
The report concerns an account book dated November 1st 1744, described by John Harland (1806–1868) as a small quarto, like what was formerly called a "cyphering book." It provides listings of all of the pieces performed in sixteen concerts.
Harland is described by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as a "journalist and antiquary."
Saturday 2nd November in the city centre's St Ann's Church: the new ensemble will celebrate 275 years to the day since the "first ever documented concert of classical music in Manchester." There will also be a free pre-concert talk on Manchester Musick given by Pauline Nobes at 6pm.
The reconstruction of the 1744/45 concert series continues with:
Saturday November 30th, Manchester Cathedral: a performance of Handel's oratorio Messiah in partnership with the Manchester Cathedral Choir.
Saturday March 7th, St Ann's Church: Concertos from Many Nations - a celebration of European Concerto in its different forms including Bach's Third Brandenburg Concerto.
Saturday May 2nd, St Ann's Church: Intimate Notes: A Chamber Concert.
Saturday July 18th St Ann's Church: "a broader view of Baroque musical forms" including pieces by Arcangelo Corelli (1653 - 1717) and Georg Muffat (1653 - 1704).
St Ann's Church was consecrated in July 1712. From 1887 – 89 the interior was remodelled by Alfred Waterhouse, architect of the Town Hall. He has a nearby Wetherspoon's pub named after him. The artist Frederic Shields (1833 –1911) - a tenant of Salford Ordsall Hall between 1872 and 1875 - designed the windows in the Chancel of St Ann's.
St Ann's Square evolved in the eighteenth century from what was previously Acres Field and a residential and shop-keepers area to one focused on commerce.
An act of Parliament in 1776 facilitated this by enabling the demolition of 'Dark Entry Buildings.'
The square's Royal Exchange was constructed between 1914 and 1921 and traded as a commodities exchange, until 1968. It was reborn as the Royal Exchange Theatre Company in 1976, and is still a busy theatre today.
St Ann's narrowly escaped damage during the Manchester air raids by the Luftwaffe in the Second World War and still has a burnt-out incendiary bomb which fell onto the roof.
In 1996 an IRA bomb exploded on Corporation Street. Thankfully no-one was killed by the 3,300lb explosive but buildings crumbled in the blast. St Ann's upstairs windows were blown in on one side and out on the other. Fortunately, the organ, which dates from 1730, had been removed for rebuilding and so escaped the carnage.
Encyclopædia Britannica, inc describes Baroque, as "a style of music that prevailed during the period from about 1600 to about 1750, known for its grandiose, dramatic, and energetic spirit but also for its stylistic diversity."
Composers associated with the Baroque style include Claudio Monteverdi Alessandro Scarlatti Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, and Johann Sebastian Bach amongst others.
Handel (1685 – 1759) was born in Germany in Halle (where a festival is still held every year of his music) but spent 1706-10 travelling in Italy, where he met many of the country's greatest musicians of the day. He became a favoured composer of the British Royal Family including Queen Anne (1665 – 1714). who granted him Royal pension of £200 per annum.
George Frideric Handel: By Philippe Mercier - Handel House Museum, Public Domainhttps://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8798130
Season Tickets covering all five Manchester Baroque concerts - including Handel's Messiah at Manchester Cathedral - are available guaranteeing the "best available seats" for a discounted price of £92 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.