In the second episode of this series, Dr David Starkey will examine how the dramatic events of the seventeenth century reflected the music being created at the time. This century saw the succession of the Stuart monarchy, the bloody English Civil War, the execution of a monarch, mass religious conflict, and the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II.
The fate of the monarchy was severely threatened in this period, which influenced the production of British music greatly. However, even when at its most vulnerable, royalty continued to drive and encourage music innovations. Starkey will look at the creations of the first ever chamber concerts and proto-operas, alongside the introduction of baroque orchestras.
The episode will include performances from the brilliant Westminster Abbey Choir where they shall be singing some of the original surviving music from early monarchs’ coronations. The Academy of Ancient Music will perform some of the work by one of the most acclaimed English composers; Henry Purcell. The Band of the Life Guards will also be performing music which defined the Stuart monarchs’ lives.
The English Civil War dominated the events of the seventeenth century. It is because of this that Starkey will also look at how the Puritans and Royalists fought not just each other, but battled over music too, especially over the issues surrounding the church organ.
This episode will be broadcasted on Saturday at 8:10pm on BBC Two. The programme will be presented by Dr David Starkey and was directed by Peter Sweasey.
Photo credit: BBC/OFTV/Phil Heron