21st Century Baroque are passionate about the future of period instrument performance. Like all the finest period instrument groups, they are interested in exploring the works from their chosen era to produce performances faithful not only to the texts but also to the spirit of the music. Also like many period instrument groups, 21st century Baroque contains musicians who are involved not only with historical performance practice but who also have many other musical strings to their bows, whether, jazz, folk, composition, contemporary music etc.
Unlike many of those groups, this one is very interested in allowing these other influences to leak in and as a result, their performances of baroque music are likely to include some aspects of these other styles, with the emphasis on improvisation.
What further sets 21st Century Baroque apart is their appetite to create new music for period instruments. Directors Adam Summerhayes and David Gordon are a formidable composition team, working together and separately to write for the group. Charlotte Barbour-Condini’s presence offsets the string nucleus of the band, at the same time providing a focus for these new compositions. Two recorder concertos and a concerto for recorder, violin and harpsichord are the result.
When the spirit moves them, the ensemble creates new music from old: recycling and regenerating to create something vibrant and new. A seed from an ancient work grows into the opportunity for in-the-moment improvisation - bringing a contemporary edge to the contemporary music of the past.
Whether they are taking a serious look at a Bach Suite, premiering a toe-tapping new concerto or revelling in an inspired reinterpretation of a Lully dance movement, 21st Century Baroque combines a quest for the highest possible musical expression with optimal creativity.
21st Century Baroque