Music at King Charles Chamber music at Tunbridge Wells most historic venue Member of Sounds of the Wells

Music at King Charles Chamber music at Tunbridge Wells’ most historic venue Member of ‘Sounds of the Wells’ The King’s Violin Saturday 8th November 2...
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Music at King Charles Chamber music at Tunbridge Wells’ most historic venue Member of ‘Sounds of the Wells’

The King’s Violin Saturday 8th November 2014 Margaret Faultless, Kate Semmens, Robin Jeffrey, Steven Devine

Charles II and Catherine of Braganza, wedding portrait, 1662.

Please note that WC facilities are provided in the church hall and not in the church itself. Music at King Charles would like to thank everyone who has helped to bring this concert to fruition and supported it. Among them, we thank the Mayor, Cllr Julian Stanyer; Dr Richard Luckett; Michael Waggett; Caroline Derrick; Caroline Preston Bell; the Vicar, Robert Avery, and the PCC of King Charles the Martyr for permission to perform in the church; and of course our magnificent performers.

The violin The instrument is believed to be the sole surviving violin from the Restoration royal band, branded Carolus Rex 1663, and therefore a likely visitor to the Wells in that year or in 1666. It came to its present owner via the Corfe family, organists at Salisbury throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and intimately connected with the Royal establishment.

The music Before the civil war, musicians had been in regular employment through the court of the King. When the revolution came, most of the King’s musicians went into private teaching, or employment in noble men’s houses, although some were conscripted and died in battle. At the Restoration of the Monarchy, King Charles II re-gathered his musicians, and music once again thrived. When Charles II and Queen Catherine arrived at the Wells in 1663 we know it was in the company of seven of the newly established royal band of violins, four trumpeters, and six children of the Chapel Royal, not to mention a dancing-master. Some of these musicians were to return for her stay between 9th July and 5th August 1666. The King’s musicians then consisted of those who had played in the court of Charles I, and also new musicians who were emerging at that time. This concert features composers that were important in the King’s court both before the time of the Restoration, and also resulting from the Restoration. It looks at the kind of music that is likely to have been played for the king during his visit to Tunbridge Wells, and also looks forward to the music making that developed out of this period of change.

The Church of King Charles the Martyr Charles II never saw this building, but his brother James II would have done on his visit in 1687. Originally a chapel for the use of visitors to the wells, the church was the first permanent structure at the wells, built in 1678. In the early days it served as a shelter and assembly room as well as providing for worship. It was enlarged in 1688. The magnificent ceiling is part of the original design, and was created by John Wetherell (1678) and Henry Doogood (1688), both plasterers who had worked with Christopher Wren. The apse and East window were inserted in Victorian times. Now, as well as being a thriving parish church, King Charles the Martyr provides an ideal venue for chamber music because of its historic associations, intimate size, and excellent acoustics.


Suite No 5 in D Almaine – Gailliard

William Lawes (1602-1645)

Allemande A lover once I did espy Let not thy beauty Sarabande Neither sighs nor tears nor mourning When Celia I intend to flatter you

William Lawes Henry Lawes (1596-1662) Henry Lawes William Lawes Nicholas Lanier (1588-1666) Charles Colman (1605-64)

Divisions on a Ground

John Banister (1630-1679)

Roundo Wounded in Love Come all ye pale lovers Hornpipe Cupid’s Monarchy I prithee send me back my heart

Matthew Locke (1621-1677) John Goodgroome (1630-1704) Alphonso Marsh (1627-81) Matthew Locke Alphonsos Marsh Edward Colman (d1669)

Suite No 8 in D Almaine ‘la goute’ – Gailliard

William Lawes


When I have often heard Hark the echoing air

Henry Purcell (1659-1695) Henry Purcell

Sonata in G Minor Adagio – Largo - Vivace

Henry Purcell

It grieves me Lovely Selina Why Flavia

John Blow (1649-1708) John Blow John Blow

Tombeau & Autre Rondeau

Giovanni Battista Draghi (1640-1708)


Nicola Matheis (1650-1714)

The Plaint Fairest Isle

Henry Purcell Henry Purcell

The Composers Before the revolution Nicholas Lanier (1588-1666) was a lutenist in the King’s Music from 1616. He was also a singer and performer on the viol. He held the position of Master of the Kings Music from at least 1626 until his death, with a hiatus during the civil war, composing over both reigns Charles Colman (1605-64) was a member of the King’s music in Charles I’s court, reappointed to the court of Charles II at the Restoration. He succeeded Henry Lawes as composer in his Majesty’s private music for the voices. Henry Lawes (1596-1662) was the most prominent English song composer of the mid-17th century. He became a gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1626 and joined the Kings Music in 1631. During the Interregnum, he was popular as a teacher and performer and had several selections of his songs published by John Playford. At the Restoration, he was reinstated as a member of the King’s Music and the Chapel Royal. William Lawes (1602-1645) was the brother of Henry. A member of the Kings Music from 1635, in 1642 at the outbreak of civil war he went with the court to Oxford. During the siege of York, he composed twelve psalm settings for each week of the siege. He was killed at the siege of Chester. After the Restoration Edward Colman (d1669) was made a member of the King’s Music at the Restoration (in the place of John Lanier, brother of Nicholas) and was as member of the Chapel Royal at the coronation in 1663. John Goodgroome (1630-1704) also features in Playford’s publication, and as with Colman, he is listed as member of Chapel Royal at the coronation. He was appointed to the King’s Music in 1664. Matthew Locke (1621-1677) is likely to have come in to contact with the future King Charles II during the Civil War in 1644 at Exeter Cathedral where he was trained. He was drafted in to Royalist forces and in The Netherlands in 1648 probably with the court. At the Restoration, he was appointed as composer to the king and, from 1662, organist to the queen. Alphonso Marsh (1627-81) was appointed at the Restoration to the King’s private music in ordinary as lutenist and singer and is listed as a member of the Chapel Royal at the King’s coronation. John Banister (1630-1679) was a very fine violinist and became leader of the King’s band in 1663, having already been sent by the King to France to become proficient in the latest styles. Giovanni Battista Draghi (1640-1708) was an Anglo-Italian composer and keyboard player, brought to London by Charles II in the early 1660s to establish Italian Opera in England. New music emerging from the Restoration Nicola Matheis (1650-1714) achieved great artistic and commercial success with his published compositions. He is accredited with moving the English taste for playing the violin in the French style, towards the newer Italian one. John Blow (1649-1708) was a boy chorister in the Chapel Royal, and as such may have been one of those accompanying the King on his visit to Tunbridge Wells. He went on to become organist of Westminster Abbey, stepping aside to make way for Henry Purcell (1659-1695) in 1680 and reinstated after the death of Purcell. In 1699 he became composer to the Chapel Royal.

The performers Margaret Faultless is an internationally renowned specialist in historical performance practice and performs music from Monteverdi to the present day. Since 1989 she has been a co-leader of The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and often directs the orchestra in 18th-century programmes. For over twelve years Margaret led the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra under Ton Koopman, notably participating in their ten-year project that saw the performance and recording of all of JS Bach’s Cantatas. She is a leader of the Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Cantata series, and regularly directs the European Union Baroque Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Teatro Nacional in Lisbon, the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra and Philharmonie Merck. Margaret has also appeared as a guest leader with the Handel & Haydn Society of Boston and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and in 2008 coached and led the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow. She is in demand as a lecturer on performance practice, and she frequently appears as a guest teacher and director in conservatories throughout Europe.

Kate Semmens is a soprano with a wide and varied career, singing in opera, and widely on the concert platform. She has sung with some of the most eminent choirs and consorts including the Monteverdi Choir, Gabrieli Consort, Dunedin Consort, Eric Whitacre Singers, and Brabant Consort. With these she has recorded several CDs and appeared in the world’s major concert halls. In opera, Kate has played many roles including the title role in John Stanley’s ‘Teraminta’ for Opera Restor’d, Asteria in Handel’s ‘Tamerlano’, the title role in Mozart’s ‘Il Re Pastore’ and this summer was Sandrina in Haydn’s ‘L’infedelta Delusa’, all for New Chamber Opera. Kate has just completed a project based around Humperdink’s ‘Hansel and Gretel’ for Stanley Hall Opera. Kate particularly enjoys chamber music, performing with instrumentalist friends and colleagues. She has been recently collaborating with harpsichordist Steven Devine in a programme based around the notebooks of Anna Magdalena Bach which they will be performing for the London Bach Society as well as at St John’s Smith Square early next year. Kate was thrilled to launch her solo disc ‘Delicatessen’ with harpsichordist Steven Devine last spring.

Robin Jeffrey is a versatile performer on historical plucked instruments, and has played the lute, theorbo and baroque guitar with many of the well-known names in the early music field, including The Sixteen, The King’s Consort, the Purcell Quartet and Nigel Kennedy. Robin has a long track record in stage music. He has contributed to many productions at the National Theatre, and recently has performed for several seasons at The Globe, including Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Othello and the Merry Wives of Windsor. He has also played in historical operas for English National Opera, Scottish Opera and other companies, in settings ranging from the ancient Odeon in Pompeii to La Fenice in Venice, the Salzburg Festival and Opera City in Tokyo.

Steven Devine enjoys a busy career as a music director and keyboard player working with some of the finest musicians. He made his London conducting debut in 2002 at the Royal Albert Hall and is now a regular performer there - including making his Proms directing debut in August 2007 with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has conducted the Mozart Festival Orchestra in every major concert hall in the UK, is Music Director for New Chamber Opera in Oxford, and is a frequent conductor at the Dartington Festival. Since 2007 Steven has been the harpsichordist with London Baroque in addition to his position as Co-Principal keyboard player with the OAE. He is also the principal keyboard player for The Gonzaga Band. He has recorded over thirty discs with other artists and ensembles and made three solo recordings. Steven is a regular member of the OAE education team, Professor of Harpsichord and Fortepiano at TrinityLaban Conservatoire of Music and a visiting teacher, adjudicator and examiner for many other institutions. He is also Director of Development for the Finchcocks Collection of historical keyboard instruments, Kent.

From the (sometimes scandalous) Memoires of the Conte de Gramont The court set out soon after to pass about two months in the place of all Europe the most rural and simple, and yet, at the same time, the most entertaining and agreeable. Tunbridge is the same distance from London, that Fontainebleau is from Paris, and is, at the season, the general rendezvous of all the gay and handsome of both sexes. The company, though always numerous, is always select: since those who repair thither for diversion, ever exceed the number of those who go thither for health. Everything there breathes mirth and pleasure: constraint is banished, familiarity is established upon the first acquaintance, and joy and pleasure are the sole sovereigns of the place. The company are accommodated with lodgings in little, clean, and convenient habitations, that lie straggling and separated from each other, a mile and a half all round the Wells, where the company meet in Anonymous engraving of the wells in 1664 the morning: this place consists of a long walk, shaded by spreading trees, under which they walk while they are drinking the waters: on one side of this walk is a long row of shops, plentifully stocked with all manner of toys, lace, gloves, stockings, and where there is raffling, as at Paris, in the Foire de Saint Germain: on the other side of the walk is the market; and, as it is the custom here for every person to buy their own provisions, care is taken that nothing offensive appears on the stalls. Here young, fair, fresh-coloured country girls, with clean linen, small straw hats, and neat shoes and stockings, sell game, vegetables, flowers and fruit: here one may live as one pleases: here is, likewise, deep play, and no want of amorous intrigues. As soon as the evening comes, every one quits his little palace to assemble at the bowling-green, where, in the open air, those who choose, dance upon a turf more soft and smooth than the finest carpet in the world. … The Queen even surpassed her usual attentions in inventing and supporting entertainments: she endeavoured to increase the natural ease and freedom of Tunbridge, by dispensing with, rather than requiring, those ceremonies that were due to her presence; and, confining in the bottom of her heart that grief and uneasiness she could not overcome, she saw Miss Stewart triumphantly possess the affections of the king without manifesting the least uneasiness. Never did love see his empire in a more flourishing condition than on this spot: those who were smitten before they came to it, felt a mighty augmentation of their flame; and those who seemed the least susceptible of love, laid aside their natural ferocity, to act in a new character.

King Charles II (1630-1685) drawn by Adriaen van Bloemen; engraved by Cornelis Meyssens Reproduced courtesy of Heatons of Tisbury

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