Ancient music gets a thrilling new lease of life

The Academy of Ancient Music is one of the world’s first period instrument ensembles and they will take to the stage of The Apex later this month.

Back in 1973, most orchestras played classical music in a modern style. The instruments were different; the pitch was different; the number of players was different; the very essence and spirit of performances was different.

But change was in the air. Wouldn’t it be great, people asked, if we could turn the clock back; if we could find out more about composers’ original intentions and get closer to the style in which music was originally performed? This was the spirit in which Christopher Hogwood founded the AAM.

AAM was a pioneer in historically-informed Baroque performance; the whole orchestra working together to rediscover sounds which hadn’t been heard for hundreds of years.

AAM continue to explore the sound-worlds which inspired Bach, Handel and Haydn. They revel in the expressive power of old instruments – flutes made out of wood, trumpets without valves, strings woven from gut. It’s not just the sound of the music which has changed – AAM performances are full of energy and passion and joy.

Their concert at The Apex features concertos and transcriptions that explore the full emotional gamut of baroque music, from the heartbreaking beauty of Bach’s “Erbarme dich” to the many extrovert moods of Vivaldi’s “La notte” concerto. 

Now in his 12th season as AAM’s music director, harpsichordist Richard Egarr still continues to surprise and excite audiences with his technique and his instinctive musicality. Here he demonstrates both in two of Bach’s finest keyboard concertos.

Nineteen-year-old Dutch recorder-player Lucie Horsch has been widely recognised for her extraordinary technique and mature musical sensibility. Lucie is already in demand internationally as a soloist and has launched what promises to be a distinguished career. She has a new album with the Academy of Ancient Music, “Baroque Journey”, released on Decca Classics on February 22.

The Academy of Ancient Music play at The Apex on Monday, February 25. Tickets are £28 & £23, with £5 tickets for those aged under 25. Ring the box office on 01284 758000 or see the website –www.theapex.co.uk for details.

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