Concert Royal

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A New Pianoforte for Jane

In a letter to her sister Cassandra in December 1808 Jane Austen wrote

‘Yes, yes, we will have a pianoforte, as good a one as can be got for thirty guineas, and I will practise country dances, that we may have some amusement for our nephews and nieces, when we have the pleasure of their company’.

With the recent acquisition of a fine Longman & Broderip square piano of 1789 Concert Royal’s musicians now play three matched historic English instruments perfectly suited to the recreation of the musical sound world of Jane Austen. Jane was a keen amateur musician with a large collection of music. Peter Harrison, Concert Royal’s director, was given unique access to her archive and our new programme features music drawn both from the collection and from related contemporary sources. Brief extracts from letters and novels provide a fascinating glimpse into Jane Austen's musical world.

Music for a Georgian Drawing Room

Peter Harrison; flute, Rachel Gray; violoncello

John Treherne; harpsichord

This presentation recreates an evening of musical entertainment from the Georgian drawing room with Handel’s fine music providing a familiar framework. Concert Royal has a reputation for presenting unjustly neglected English music and each performance contains exciting rarities, unique to the ensemble’s repertoire. To recreate the sound world of the Georgian country house John plays a beautiful copy of an early c18 harpsichord by Andrew Wooderson which blends perfectly with Peter and Rachel’s historic instruments. Sonatas, suites, country dances and a contemporary chamber arrangement of Handel’s ‘Fireworks’ are featured in this varied, informative and entertaining programme.