The Taste of this Nation

Concertos and Cantatas ‘after the Italian Manner’

Spiritato and Ciara Hendrick

In February 2020, we embarked on a new adventure; the start of a long-term relationship with award-winning record label Delphian Records.

Joined by mezzo-soprano Ciara Hendrick for The Taste of this Nation - we made a world premiere recording of music by JC Pepusch, William Corbett and Obadiah Shuttleworth. Having first been introduced to Shuttleworth's music by the research of Dr Andrew Pink, we tracked down a dazzling collection of early English cantatas and concertos tucked away in the vaults of the British Library.

Alongside the recording, we performed these remarkable works at Wiltshire Music Centre and Chichester Chamber Concerts. We also gave two workshops, including one for students at the Royal Academy of Music. We're now looking to take the project to new venues.

We’re very lucky to be fully funded thanks to the generous support of Angel Early Music, the Gemma Classical Music Trust, Golsoncott Foundation, The Music Reprieval Trust, The Bishopsdown Trust and the many wonderful donors listed below.

As the group expands the range of the project, we're extremely grateful for any further support, please take a look at how we’d like to thank you or get in touch via our contact page.

Concert performances so far:

15th February 2020 – Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

27th February 2020 – Chichester Chamber Concerts, Chichester

16th October 2021 - Oxshott and Cobham Music Society

Upcoming performances:

23rd July 2022 - Kings Lynn Festival


JC Pepusch; Cantatas III and VI; ‘The Spring’ and ‘Chloe’ from 6 English Cantatas, 1710

O Shuttleworth; Two Concertos; Being the first & eleventh
of ye late
Arcangello Corelli
, 1726

JC Pepusch; Cantatas V and VI; ‘Kindly Fate at length release me’ and ‘While pale Britannia pensive sate’ from 6 English Cantatas, 1720

W Corbett; Extracts from Bizzarie Universali , 1728

Shuttleworth, Corbett and Pepusch were direct contemporaries of Handel, highly admired, virtuoso musicians composing and performing in London. Their music is vibrant, entertaining and wonderfully virtuosic. Handel’s arrival in the early 1700s completely changed music in England, yet his colossal reputation overshadows many composers who contributed greatly to the new fashion for Italianate concertos and cantatas.

Many composers of the earlier ‘Purcellian’ style found themselves outmoded almost overnight. Daniel Purcell, himself a composer in both the old and new styles, despaired at the changing fashions (and fortunes) of the London musical scene. In an essay published with his 1713 collection of cantatas ‘after the Italian manner’, he writes;

The Introducing Italian Opera’s upon the English Stage, has so altered the Taste of this Nation, as to MUSICK, that scarce any thing, but what bears some Resemblance of the Italian Style and Manner, is received with Favour or heard with Patience.

With this turbulent context as the background for our recording, the repertoire we have chosen shines a light on the transition between the old traditions of Purcell, and the new Italian style of Corelli and Handel.

Shuttleworth, a virtuoso violinist, is the first native Englishman to compose in the Concerto Grosso style; his two vivacious concerti remain his only extant works. Pepusch, like Handel a European immigrant, embraced the new fashion for the Italian cantata, whilst recognizing the desire of many for a hybrid Anglo-Italian style. Finally William Corbett, the leader of the orchestra of the Haymarket Theatre in London, travelled extensively in Italy, noting down the traditional music and way of playing for his wonderful collection of concertos; Bizzarie Universali.

The Taste of this Nation is generously supported by

Dr Sarah Smalley

Prof. Martin Richards

Dr David Russell

Angel Early Music

The Gemma Classical Music Trust, Registered Charity No. 1121090

The Golsoncott Foundation

The Bishopsdown Trust

The Music Reprieval Trust

Anna Hill

Jane Wheeler

Maryan Balkwill

Keith Mellor

Chris Parsons and Eboracum Baroque

Hannah Opstad

Sylvia and Alistair Kewish

Matthew Martin

Richard Knights

the MacAllister family

Dr Andrew Pink

Melissa Scott

Barry Creasy

Lyndsay and Jean Marc Granveau

Patricia Manthorpe

Gareth Hoddinott

Ben Moore

Oonagh Lee

Robert Beddow

Fabian Farkas

Julian Perkins

Adriana Flipse

Sam Kennedy

Astamarie Hodgson

Steven Devine

Inga Klaucke

Ashley Russell

Kate Brooke

Kelly Stevens

Lesley Sewart

Chris Saunders

Karen Russell

Michael Berman and Katharine Verney

Elspeth Cooper

Catherine Sellars

Joel Raymond

Stuart Jennings

Nicolás Sánchez

Claudia Delago-Norz

Fay and Tom Moore

Camilla Morse-Glover

Katie Hodges

Katie Heller

Jonathan Julyan

Harriet Feilding

Jennifer Wheals

George Preston

Fiona MacArthur

Elizabeth Bryant

Emily Worthington

Steven Coombe

Laurence Russell

Paul Julian

Andrea Liu

Nicholas Dakin

Colette McLean

David Clewlow

Maria Meyers

David Bates

Gabriel Mendoza and Maria Luísa Rojas

Barbara Segal

Angela Charrington

William Tuck

Alexander Barnes

Berndt Andersson

Joanne Miller

Augusta McKay Lodge

Janette Ruocco

Dr Mandy Bentley

Holly Harman

Rebecca Selley

Rachel Roe

Thanks also to our anonymous donors

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