Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Classical

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Classical

Article excerpt

IT'S that time of yearfi when everything goes Christmas-crazy, and people do funny things like dressing up in 18th century costume to perform baroque masterpieces.

We have our own wigs-and-knee-breeches outfit in the north west - the 18th Century Concert Orchestra, founded by former BBC Philharmonic double bassist Michael Escreet 15 years ago.

It includes members past and present of the Academy of Ancient Music, the English Baroque Soloists, the Halle and the BBC Philharmonic, and known as an advocate of less well-known repertoire as well as the established favourites.

They go for the whole Augustan rig - not just the wigs and breeches, but wooden music desks and even specially tailored shoes. And it's not just dressing up. They perform on period instruments, and by candlelight. Real candles, too. "A candlemaster tends the candles throughout," Michael tells me, "while the orchestra plays concertos and suites for strings, trumpet and oboes by baroque composers, including Handel, Corelli, and Purcell - which may occasionally be punctuated by amusing readings from contemporary texts. …

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