“Fair Isle”
English baroque music between melancholy, noble understatement and humor

Music by Henry Purcell, John Dowland, John Loeillet of London, Francis Barsanti and others.

“Fair Isle”, the most remote inhabited island in Great Britain, lies in the middle of the ocean between Scotland and Norway. A selection from Francis Barsanti's “Collection of Old Scots Tunes”, printed in Edinburgh in 1742, will be heard in this concert. Barsanti, originally born in Lucca, went to London in response to the demand for Italian musicians and worked there as an instrumentalist and composer, including as a copyist for Handel. Melancholy, noble understatement, “solemnity” - dignified solemnity - as well as a constant sense of humor are typical of the character of baroque music from the island of Great Britain. “Fairest Isle”, the famous aria from Henry Purcell's semi-opera “King Arthur”, is also included in this program. However, it is not performed vocally, but purely instrumentally - this corresponds to a practice of the Baroque period of transcribing popular opera melodies for instruments. John Dryden (1631-1700), the librettist of the opera, equated Great Britain, the “Fairest Isle”, with Kythera, the Island of the Blessed. The works that Iris Lichtinger and Axel Wolf have chosen for this program come from this musical wealth.

 Iris Lichtinger, baroque recorders & Axel Wolf, lute and theorbo