Fresh from the success of its inaugural love:Handel Festival earlier in 2017, The Brook Street Band has developed its idea of a single composer-focused Festival into a weekend-long celebration of the much neglected and hugely innovative and original composer Georg Muffat.
Georg Muffat (1653-1704) was a true trendsetter, years ahead of his time. He was born in Scotland, considered himself German, and worked widely in France, Italy and central Europe.
“There is no difference amongst the finest masters of any nation regarding purity of sound or accuracy of intonation. Only apprentices, Ignoramuses, and incompetents in all countries disobey the rules.” Georg Muffat
We have Muffat to thank for several amazing developments in baroque music, which totally altered the way different musical styles spread around Europe. Muffat swept change into Germany, blowing out old musical styles, bringing in lively and popular dance music and changing the actual set-up of the string orchestra. He was also probably the first ever composer to write down practical advice for musicians. This covers ensemble playing and musicianship, interpreting tempi and playing in the French style. But perhaps, most importantly it has suggestions for how to get along with your fellow-musicians, something we can all learn from to this day!
“I will say only that in addition to good instruction, frequent music-making with people of excellent taste will be a great help in acquiring and conserving a sensitive ear. One should avoid playing with those who would do more to spoil the ear than to improve it.” Georg Muffat
Tatty Theo, the group’s founder and festival curator writes: “As a group, we are lucky enough to play in many of most prestigious concert venues, and over the past few years have developed a wonderful creative partnership with St. John’s Smith Square. This is the perfect place to fully explore Muffat’s music and his legacy. It’s fair to say that without Muffat, we wouldn’t have Bach and Handel’s music as we know it!”.
The Muffat festival is family-friendly, with young people encouraged to come and participate.
The core members of The Brook Street Band (Rachel Harris, Farran Scott, Tatty Theo and Carolyn Gibley) are joined by an extended line-up of performers to take the repertoire from chamber right up to orchestral over four concerts. Regular BSB flautist Lisete da Silva, performs Bach’s famous Orchestral Suite in b minor. Dance mistress Philippa Waite leads a session on typical French dance steps such bourée, minuet, sarabande and gigue (all with live music) and Tatty Theo gives an illustrated talk about Muffat, this enigmatic great man, his life, his music and his legacy.
Tatty Theo says: “Muffat was an enigmatic man, and a quick glance through most music books will tell you that not a lot has been written about him. This festival gives us the chance to redress this balance, show off his wonderful music and present a broader picture of this man, explaining just why his musical developments were so crucial for latter composers such as Corelli, Bach and Handel!”
The Brook Street Band (www.brookstreetband.co.uk) (BSB) takes its name from the London street where composer George Frideric Handel lived from 1723-1759. The Band was formed in 1996 by baroque cellist Tatty Theo (granddaughter of the renowned cellist William Pleeth) and rapidly established itself as one of the UK’s leading Handel specialists, winning grants, awards and broadcasting opportunities from various organisations including BBC Radio 3 and the Handel Institute.