Ensemble Rossignol, a leading recorder and theorbo ensemble, perform works from the master composers in the shadow of Hanel.
Pieces by Loeillet, Axel D. Ruoff, Babell, Bach, Geminiani and Handel himself all in celebration of the city that played host to Handel's music and became his creative home.
London was an exceptionally prosperous city in the 18th century, which was reflected by its lively musical society.Handel, a German by birth, played a dominant role in this. Although he travelled extensively, he spent most of his life in this city and was even officially made a British subject in 1727. Although he was primarily known for his brilliant operas and oratorios, with their treasure trove of splendid arias, he was also a composer of lovely and sophisticated chamber music works. At this time, composers from all different countries travelled to London in the hope of launching a successful career there. However, this proved a difficult venture indeed for most of them, as they remained firmly overshadowed by Handel.
Jean-Baptiste Loeillet, born in Ghent, moved to London in 1705 after he completed his studies. He started as principal oboist of the Queen’s Theatre and later at the Opera, making a name for himself as a virtuoso flute player. He was also known as the first composer of recorder music of renown in England and thanks to his efforts the instrument gained substantial popularity. John Walsh published his music in London under the name: John Loeillet of London.
The British composer William Babell spent his entire life in London. His work is strongly influenced by Handel, whom we can presume to have been one of his teachers. The exceptionally virtuoso ornamentation in the slow movements of his sonatas has been written out meticulously.
In the first half of the 18th century Handel enjoyed even greater fame than his contemporary Johann Sebastian Bach. Although both composers were born in 1685 within a distance shorter than 200 km of each other - Handel in Halle en Bach in Eisenach - the two never met. Bach’s solo sonatas for cello lend themselves exceptionally well to the theorbo.