The renowned early music band Quadriga Consort takes a voyage to explore the magic of bygone days of the North.
The merging of sunrise and sunset into a soft twilight signalises the beginning of the summer solstice. The resulting feeling of infinity and inevitable transience has created a unique sense of fascination for mankind - in the past, as well as this present day.
Singer Sophie Eder treads soft-footed and effortlessly between traditional styles and languages of the north, mesmerizes with archaic Gaelic dance music of the Scots, cheerful songs picturing Swedes dancing around the summer solstice bonfires, as well as profound English ballads in weal and woe, life and mortality, love and death.
During their long, arduous journeys British seamen would look to song and dance to pass the time. Exotic spices weren’t the only thing they imported from faraway harbours, but also mysterious, foreign music. The ocean encompassing the isles – and the yearning for strange, faraway coasts – was an omnipresent theme, also to those who were left behind.
The mighty sea plays a leading role in many ancient songs and represents the limitless power of love, but also inevitable death. The eternal water, from which all life comes, is also the cruel and merciless ruler over life and death.
Quadriga Consort presents a thriller programme with a healthy serving of goose bumps and shudders! Gripping, at times horrifying ancient ballads bear witness to the unspeakable deeds that human beings are capable of. Traditional songs of mysterious, supernatural incidents and mystical apparitions alternate with amusing songs of villains, jealous lovers, swaggering marriage swindlers and loads of murder victims.
The archives are veritable treasure troves containing portrayals of the dark side of human inner life, clearly inspiring the all too British genres of Gothic fiction and murder mysteries, and without doubt comparable with any of today’s blockbuster thrillers. Early ‘music noir’ from the British Isles, whose foggy, mystic locations have sparked human imagination since time immemorial …
“Summer hath his joys, and Winter his delights” – these words, written by Thomas Campion (1567–1620) perfectly describe the attraction of the winter season. Although nature may be in a slumber, we people have found ways to amuse ourselves with long evenings of conversation, accompanied by music and wine, or snuggling up in front of the fireplace with a big mug of a nice, warm beverage, or with physical activities such as skiing or tobogganing. We’ve also invented a large number of holidays that we can look forward to and rely on to bring cheer into this dark and sun-less period.
However, despite all attempts at merriment, it cannot be denied that winter is a cruel and inhospitable time of year and it is often used as a metaphor for a cold heart or unrequited love in ancient ballads.
It is this contrast that makes winter so intense: cold and warmth, companionship and solitude, affection and rejection, darkness and light – and, ultimately, life and death.
'Tis Christmas Now!
As the cold and bleak winter days descent upon us, Quadriga Consort presents long-forgotten carols and age-old tunes of the festive season. These arrangements for period instruments are at times peaceful and reflective, and then again merry and buoyant, conjuring memories of bygone days and awakening in us that sense of peace, wonder and excitement the Christmas season once held.
By Yon Bonnie Banks...
The treasure of Gaelic songs and dances, as well as the instrumental music of Scotland, was passed down orally from generation to generation, whereas baroque art music was cultivated in the churches and monasteries, at court and in music guilds.
Quadriga Consort weaves in and out of these unlike territories and presents songs in Gaelic and English of love and death, joy and sorrow; moving melodies, electrifying jigs, reels, hornpipes and strathspeys.
A musical journey through Scotland, that makes the boundaries between folk and art music disappear …
Songs and Tunes from the Isles
This highly successful programme, which originated in Quadriga’s early days, meanders easily between the pub and the royal court. It includes all of Quadriga’s classic tunes from John Barleycorn to The Wraggle-Taggle Gypsies, O! Breathtaking jigs and reels stand in contrast to haunting songs of love and death. The pieces – some over 300 years old – awaken to new life.
A programme with undeniable pop appeal …