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Lute Concert at Branscombe Church a Big Success !

St Winnifred's church Brancombe was full  to the doors on the 21st May for our Lute Concert in aid of funds for Amnesty's campaign to fight FGM and child marriage in Africa.

The musicians provided a varied programme of  instrumental solos and accompanied songs from the earliest Renaissance to the late Baroque, with  works from England, Ireland, Italy, France and Spain. Sue King, mezzo soprano sang songs of courtly love, loss, and laughter in praise of springtime.  It was wonderful to hear her mezzo soprano voice in such an ancient building where the acoustics are so perfect.

Leading lute player, Steve Graham, played Baroque guitar and a variety of lutes, including a theorbo designed in late sixteenth century Italy.  Liz Pannell accompanied on viola and also provided us with one beautiful solo.  The purity of  the sound beautifully matched the mezzo soprano voice and the lute solos transported us magically, back to an earlier, quieter age. Among the composers featured were Landini, Laws, Moulu, Josquin, Carolan and Castaldini.

The programme included songs  by Purcell and Dowland with theorbo acompaniment. The Theorbo a kind of lute, is an amazing instrument with a five foot neck (see photograph) and a group of strings which  go halfway  up the neck and another group going right to the end. Steve explained that the long strings provide bass notes without the need for extremely thick strings. Both Sue and Steve said a few words between sets about the instruments ,the songs and the music which was pitched just right for those of us  who are not scholars of this period of history.  

To cap a wonderful evening, on our way home we had the magical sight of  a floodlit  St Winifreds  glowing  warmly in the  deep deep blackness  of the Brancombe Valley.  

For a few hours the  Rennaisance  had come alive again in St Winnifreds church.


Amnesty East Devon would like all the wonderful musicians and all those who came or supported us by donations




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