‘Purcell and Friends’ brings together some gems of the late 17th century to present popular songs and tunes from Purcell’s theatre works alongside music by his continental contemporaries performed by Martin Perkins (organ), Henrik Persson ( gamba/cello) Lisete da Silva (baroque flute/recorders) and Nicola Wemyss (mezzo).
The original Musical and Amicable Society was founded in 1762 by James Kempson, who directed the choir at St Bartholomew’s Chapel, Birmingham. Together with fellow musicians from St Philip’s Church (now Birmingham Cathedral), Kempson and his singers gathered on a regular basis at Cooke’s tavern in the Cherry Orchard “for practice and recreation”!
In 2003, Kate Fawcett and Martin Perkins decided to revive this historic society as a collective of professional period-instrument specialists, performing in combinations ranging from small ensembles to full orchestra.
Individually, the members maintain successful freelance careers with some of Europe’s most prestigious period-instrument ensembles. Collectively, they explore Baroque and Classical repertoire, both familiar and forgotten, recreating the soundscape of an earlier era for a twenty-first century audience.