The Art of the Lute - 'Mystery Music' revealed...

The Art of the Lute - 'Mystery Music' revealed...

Following enthusiastic audience responses, the Academy of Ancient Music returned to the ‘mystery music’ feature in its latest performances at London’s Milton Court and Cambridge’s West Road Concert Hall on the 20 and 23 February 2020. Amongst a programme of Bach, Buxtehude and Vivaldi with the French virtuoso lutenist Thomas Dunford and flautist Rachel Brown, we inserted a short, untitled work into the programme and inviting the audience submit their best guesses via response cards.

What we received was astounding: a multitude of excellent, highly informed answers, with many of you guessing the correct decade of composition, stylistic ‘school’, country of origin, genre and other crucial elements. Moreover, the majority of you wanted to hear more, an especially heartwarming message to receive given our commitment to exploring, preserving and revealing little-known or underappreciated works of the baroque and classical canon. Much of our recent recording activity has been focused on furthering this mission, with our chart-topping Handel: Brockes-Passion project garnering rave reviews, and upcoming recordings of Francisco Valls’ Missa Regalis, Jan Dussek’s Mass in G and John Eccles’ Semele promising to ‘peel back the curtain’ on these hidden gems of the repertoire for generations to come.

With our most recent concert period now behind us, we’re delighted to finally reveal the mystery music: the Adagio from František Jiránek’s Flute Concerto in G. Born in 1698 in Northern Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic), Jiránek entered the employ of Count Václav Morzin, who sent him to Venice to further his evident musical prowess. The programming of the Flute Concerto with the works of Vivaldi is more than mere coincidence; Jiránek in all likelihood studied with the Venetian master, and the latter’s The Four Seasons Le quattro stagione – are dedicated to his Bohemian apprentice. Much of Jiránek’s compositional output bears the unmistakable stamp of Vivaldi, so much so that several works have been variously misattributed, most notably Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in D major RV Anh. 8, now known to be a Jiránek composition. The Adagio’s delicately mournful flute melody does bear resemblance to some of Vivaldi’s most popular works for the instrument, yet balances this with strikingly individual harmonic touches that renders it distinct from mere imitation.

We hope that our audiences enjoyed this addition to the programme and look forward to adding more ‘mystery music’ to our programmes in due course. We encourage you to sing up to our mailing list to receive further insights into our programmes, event invitations, print previews, curated playlists, and much more. For an excellent recording of this work with Jana Semerádová and Collegium Marianum, click the link here.