Byrdsongs is a new programme celebrating the 400th anniversary of William Byrd (1543 – 1623). Exploring his life and times, we play consort music and songs by Byrd and his colleagues including Tallis and Morley, with Madrigals, Catches, Fantasias and folk song settings including The Woods so WildThe Carman’s Whistle and Fortune My Foe. With a glimpse into connections with William Shakespeare, as well as fresh twists on old music in the form of brand new arrangements by members of the group, this promises to be an exciting and beautiful tribute to England’s greatest Renaissance Composer.

This Sweet and Merry Month of May – William Byrd – from Fontanella’s album Woods So Wild

The Delightful Companion

Our programme is aptly named after Robert Carr’s popular music book, published in London in the 1680s – a time when the country was recovering from huge political upheaval and the great plague and fire of London. Musicians were eager to get back to entertaining live audiences, whether for singing, dancing, at the theatre or in social music-making.

From a virtuosic concerto by John Baston, to divisions on the famous Greensleeves, Henry Purcell’s Chaconne 3 Parts Upon a Ground and hits from The Catch Club, our programme paints a colourful musical landscape of a country regaining its rich musical identity after the austerity years of Cromwell’s rule, and highlights the unique role of the humble recorder in music making of the day.

With additional repertoire by Locke, Campion, Banister, tunes from The Division Flute and Playford’s Dancing Master, our programme aims to bring delight and good cheer to all.

Fontanella perform Henry Purcell’s Catch, The Macedon Youth
Fontanella perform ‘Tales from Long Ago’ – English folk songs