Past Events

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BEMP has presented a wide range of concerts and workshops since starting up in 2004. Here’s a selection of what’s been on offer over the past few years.

This exciting programme of music, composed by Donati and contemporaries including Cima, Monteverdi and others, was designedfor performance in the grand surroundings of cathedrals such as Milan in the early C17th. this particular set of vespers was first published in 1623, four hundred years ago making this a suitable anniversary performance
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Vespro alla Milanese

5 November 2023 4:00pm
The Skylark Quartet will present a thoroughly enjoyable and diverse evening of C20 music, from each side of the English Channel, ranging from settings of
Folk songs to Divertimenti for Winds by composers such as Gordon Jacob, Claude Arrieu, Malcolm Arnold and Jacques Ibert
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Chamber Series

Entente Cordiale

19 October 2023 7:30pm
Suites and sonatas from the German-speaking world, 1680 - 1750, performed by Newe Vialles
Henrik Persson and Caroline Ritchie - viola da gamba
Lynda Sayce - lute
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Chamber Series

Musikalische Erstlinge

14 September 2023 7:30pm
Four hundred years after the death of William Byrd, we still
delight in singing a huge number of his works. For him music was an
entire language, telling of the religious changes through his
lifetime as well as describing the lighter side of life.

1623 saw the passing of two other notable composers:

Thomas Weelkes, a prolific composer and organist at
Winchester and then Chichester Cathedral, by all accounts
a somewhat controversial fellow in Church circles.

Danish composer Mogens Pedersøn was the most highly regarded
musician in the court of Christian IV. He studied extensively in Italy
and accompanied the entourage of Anne of Denmark when she
came to England to marry James I of England and VI of Scotland,
possibly meeting William Byrd during his several years in London.

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A Choral Feast from 1623

20 August 2023 4:00pm
Enlightenment and Entertainment
Courtly and Country Music from Purcell's England
Post-Restoration music with a twist!
From recorders and viols to shawms and bagpipes, three multi-instrumentalists turn the spotlight onto music from Purcell's time, encompassing sonatas and country dances.
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Chamber Series

Enlightenment & Entertainment: Jude Rees, David Jarratt Knock & Mary Mohan

20 July 2023 7:30pm
The first Third Thursday of 2023 starts with a new sort of early music, blues and spirituals dating from around a century ago, sung by Julia Titus with Steve Graham on cornet and Mike Denham on keyboard.
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Chamber Series

Spirit of the Blues

15 June 2023 7:00pm
John Kenny played here in August 2021, with Pandora's Box. He returns with the mighty Carnyx.....and a dramatic story!
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Chamber Series

John Kenny: The Mouthpiece of the Gods

17 November 2022 7:30pm
The biennial Grand Baroque series was somewhat interrupted due to circumstances we all hope are now well behind us...  We return with a flourish in 2022, bringing perhaps the most grand of all baroque works to life in Exeter Cathedral, Mass in B minor by JS Bach.    The work will be recreated in the expert hands  of BEMP's principal director JanJoost van Elburg with a hand picked choir of singers from all over the UK and western Europe.  The orchestra will be led by Oliver Webber with members of the Monteverdi String Band and other invited players from this country's wealth of expert period instrumentalists. 
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Grand Baroque

Bach Mass in B minor

27 August 2022 7:30pm
We are SOoo excited to be able to welcome these two world renowned players to Culmstock! Crispian is probably the best known solo trumpet player in the world, David Hill has to be one of the best known organists and conductors of his generation.
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Chamber Series

Crispian Steele-Perkins & David Hill

18 August 2022 7:30pm
Nick & Becki brought their finest fiddling form to Culmstock last year and are back by popular request. There is something very special about the way these two play together, it looks so easy! We've said it before, and we say it again, there is no music without the folk to make it!
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Chamber Series

Nick Wyke & Becki Driscoll

16 June 2022 7:30pm
Returning to Culmstock for a fourth visit this popular ensemble will bring alive the viol music which would have been heard in the salons of wealthy London dwellers in the early 18th century.
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Chamber Series

Newe Vialles: “The compleat violist”

19 May 2022 7:30pm
Music hidden in the Gallery: a trawl through the art galleries to release the sounds of instruments familiar and unfamiliar
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Chamber Series

The Apollo Musicians

21 April 2022 7:30pm
The Waites of Gloucester will play out the Christmas season on January 6th 2022, and this concert, postponed from Dec 16th, officially close the 2021 series of Third Thursday concerts run in partnership with the Friends of All Saints' (FoAS).
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Chamber Series

The Waites of Gloucester: Gaudete! ~Seasonal music on very old instruments

6 January 2022 7:30pm
Gawain Glenton (cornetto), Emily White (sackbut and violin), Silas Wollston ( organ, instrument Organo di legno courtesy of The English Organ School, Milborne Port)} will play a programme of pieces entitled La Brillantina which will inevitably make the audience sit up and realise just how inventive the composers of the time really were. They will play music from de Rore to Sances with a plethora of names in between, including Frescobaldi, Grandi, Guami, Palestrina, Lassus.... do not miss this!
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Chamber Series

In Echo: La Brillantina

18 November 2021 7:30pm
Steven Devine & Kate Semmens perform 17th and 18th Century English song, from Post-Restoration to music from the Pleasure Gardens .
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Chamber Series

Steven Devine & Kate Semmens: English Song in 17th & 18th Century England

21 October 2021 7:30pm
BEMP is teaming up with the Musical & Amicable Society in the BEMP's first choral programme since November 2019. It will be so good to be singing again for a live audience after the lockdown. This programme, of very rarely heard Italian baroque music, accompanied by the M&A's violins, gamba and organ, will be a wonderful return to 'normal' service!
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Brilliant Baroque from Bologna

19 September 2021 6:30pm
in 'Purcell & Friends', the Musical & Amicable Society bring together some gems of the late 17th century to present popular songs and tunes from Purcell’s theatre works alongside music by his continental contemporaries. M&A players will be Martin Perkins (keyboard) Henrik Persson (gamba/cello), mezzo Nicola Wemyss and baroque flautist and recorder player Lisete da Silva.
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Chamber Series

The Musical & Amicable Society – Purcell and Friends

16 September 2021 7:30pm
Pandora’s Box is a trio of hidden delights, combining music of the late medieval and renaissance periods with contemporary composition, improvisation, poetry and physical theater. Weaving a subtle tapestry of words and music, poetry of love and intrigue from the courts, pilgrim routes and cloisters of medieval and renaissance Europe to gritty modern sound worlds. Lift the lid and watch what flies out!
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Chamber Series

Pandora’s Box: The Turning Wheel

19 August 2021 7:30pm
Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll are a talented duo who will bring violins, viola, voices and guitar together, to offer a fascinating insight into traditional English folk music in a supremely professional repertoire which absolutely respects traditional and 'classical' music. They will really make you smile!
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Chamber Series

Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll: English Fiddles and Folk

15 July 2021 7:30pm
Frances will talk about the development of the harp and perform music from the harp’s extensive repertoire on a number of different instruments.
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Chamber Series

Frances Kelly: Heavenly Harps, an Illustrated History of this well-loved instrument.

17 June 2021 7:30pm
A recital of characterful and quirky music from 17th century England, including sumptuous lyra viol music, divisions and dance music, as well as lute and continuo songs.
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Chamber Series

Newe Vialles : ‘Good Againe’ – 17th century English music for viols, lute, and voice

20 May 2021 7:30pm
Blackdowns Early Music Projects is proud to present the fourth in its biennial GRAND BAROQUE series, featuring rarely heard, large works fully deserving a Cathedral setting!
Stunning music from C17th century Vienna and Salzburg directed by JanJoost van Elburg with voices, strings, winds, brass, drums.
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Grand Baroque

GRAND BAROQUE IV

29 November 2019 7:30pm
BEMP's Principal Musical Director JanJoost van Elburg brings the Bartholomew Consort of Oxford to complete the Spring Festival series in Wellington School Chapel. The Bartholomew Consort was established under JanJoost in 2001 with members drawn from all over the UK and the Netherlands. The group has performed regularly in Oxford and frequently visits other areas of the UK, including Scotland, the South West and London, as well as having travelled in Europe (France, Bulgaria, The Netherlands) on several occasions. In the South West they have performed in Buckfast Abbey on three occasions and were last the guest choir of BEMP in 2011.
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Spring Festival

Komm Heiliger Geist ~ Music by Johann Walter and the Bach family

9 June 2019 6:45pm
Newe Vialles first recital in Culmstock last year was absolutely electrifying;  Caroline Ritchie and Henrik Persson  with Lynda Sayce on theorbo, return to play on Saturday evening May 25th at 8 pm in All Saints’ Church Culmstock. This year's programme will take the audience on a journey from one of the fathers of the virtuosic French viola da gamba school, Jean de Sainte-Colombe via Louis de Caix d’Hervelois to the notorious Antoine Forqueray, whose colourful life was reflected in the music he composed.
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Spring Festival

Newe Vialles: L’incomparable Monsieur Forqueray (et ses amis)

25 May 2019 8:00pm
Lynda Sayce brought her ‘lute roadshow’ to Culmstock and in a fascinating lecture recital, illustrated with 10 or so different instruments, covered almost a millennium’s worth of music. Each instrument was described in its historical context and Lynda played each one so the audience heard a huge variety of music, from an Arabic oud maqam to an excerpt from a high baroque suite. Each instrument was chosen to add to the stunning visual display, as well as to demonstrate the different musics, ranging from a tiny soprano lute to a 2 metre theorbo.
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Spring Festival

The Lute Family: A Lecture/Recital by Lynda Sayce

24 May 2019 6:30pm
We are delighted to welcome Gawain Glenton to direct a programme of choral music from the Austrian Habsburg court, seat of the Holy Roman Emperors. The full programme will include multivoice works of Gombert, Valentini, Hassler, both Gabrielis, Zanotti, Bertali and Massaino among others. In addition to voices we will have a team of sackbuts from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, under their tutor Emily White, with violins to add texture and colour to this amazing repertoire.
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Spring Festival

Felix Austriae: Vienna and the Sound of Habsburg Power

19 May 2019 6:30pm
This Iberian Treasury contains works by Spanish and Portuguese composers who spanned the renaissance years, starting with the work of Spaniard Cristobal Morales (b.1500) right up to that of the Portuguese João Rodrigues Esteves who died in 1751. In between these two important musicians came the amazing music of Francisco Guerrero, Tomas Luis de Victoria, Juan Esquivel, Duarte Lobo, Aguilera de Heredia and Manuel Cardoso all of whom thoroughly deserve their places in the Treasury. Musical Director JanJoost van Elburg, Newe Vialles and Martin Perkins: organ.
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Iberian Treasury

7 May 2018 6:00pm
Recital of virtuoso French baroque music for viols and theorbo played by Newe Vialles (Henrik Persson & Caroline Ritchie: viola da gamba and Lynda Sayce: theorbo).
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Folies et folettes

6 May 2018 6:00pm
Conducted by Andrew Parrott, with choir and instruments.
Viadana - Vespers of 1612.
Robert Carver - Missa Dum Sacrum Mysterium.
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Viadana ~ 1612 Vespers

4 March 2018 6:00pm
Including music by Rosenmüller and Schelle
Musical Director JanJoost van Elburg
English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble
Monteverdi String Band
Natural trumpets and other historic instruments
BEMP Choir
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Grand Baroque

Grand Baroque III

28 August 2017 7:30pm
Principal director JanJoost van Elburg led this programme of rarely heard late 17th and early 18th works from collections found in two monasteries in Madrid, the Monasterio de la Encarnacion and the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales.
The composers working there throughout the 17th century (and later) were influenced by the legacy of the great Tomas Luis de Victoria, who had lived in Descalzas Reales until his death in 1611.
There is much of the grand polychoral style of St. Mark’s in Venice, by composers such as Ambiela, Picanyol, Juan de Veana, Diego de las Muelgas and Pedro Rodrigo, all deserving of more performance.
Singers from the UK and Holland were accompanied by Frances Kelly (harp), Peter McCarthy (violone) and Martin Perkins (chamber organ).
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Maestros del Monasterios

15 January 2017 6:00pm
Selected works from the Eton Choirbook and other contemporary English music.
The Eton Choirbook was created between 1500 and 1505 and originally contained 93 works by 24 composers from the early Tudor period. It exists in highly decorated manuscript, and was compiled for use in Henry VI's Chapel at Eton College.
This programme of a cappella music featured music from this extraordinary collection of works and offered some insight into other English composers of the period.
BEMP's principal musical director JanJoost van Elburg gave a pre concert talk on the Eton Choirbook before the concert on Sunday October 23rd.
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The Eton Choirbook

23 October 2016 6:45pm
Grand Baroque

Grand Baroque II

31 August 2015 7:30pm
Grand Baroque

Grand Baroque

30 August 2013 7:30pm
JanJoost introduced a group of enthusiastic and talented singers to the delights of Franco-Flemish polyphony including the incredible Missa et ecce terrae motus, glorious stuff, movements in 8 or 12 parts. 30 singers (this time with some friends from the Netherlands) all crammed into All Saints' Church. Audience loved it!
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May 2006: ….and another

12 May 2006 6:00pm
This was an experimental weekend for 16 singers, some of whom travelled from London and the Midlands and stayed locally, to work toward a more formal concert after two days' rehearsal. Ambitious programme including several complex Eton Choir book pieces....
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February 2005: ….and then there was a Project

27 February 2005 7:00pm
Just a one day workshop with a free performance at the end of the day for anyone who cared to listen! This was intended to be a one off opportunity for enthusiastic local singers to experience singing Renaissance music under the direction of JanJoost van Elburg. He was MD of the Renaissance Singers of London and Reading Bach Choir at the time, travelling weekly for their rehearsals (Monday and Tuesday evenings) from Amsterdam to the UK. He was also ( and remains) director of the weekend project choir The Bartholomew Consort, based in Oxford.
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March 2004: In the beginning there was a workshop….

28 March 2004 7:00pm
Taro last played in Culmstock in 2016 and we are so pleased to see him back. His mastery of plucked instruments such as lutes and guitars is exceptional; the acoustic in this Church is perfect for his musicianship.
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Chamber Series

Taro Takeuchi

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