Christmas Restored!

Passamezzo bring their unique twist to the Christmas festivities on 15 December…

Old Christmas Returned: Christmas celebrated, banned and restored in 17th century England

Passamezzo’s programme takes us on a journey through the Christmas’s as they were celebrated in 17th century England. A time when Christmas was a time of celebration, merriment and feasting, of music, dancing and fun. 

The banning of Christmas…

However, in 1647, Parliament had won the civil war, The King was held in captivity and the Church of England had been abolished. The new hardline Protestant regime restructured religion across the British Isles, and holy days, Christmas included, were abolished – the world was turned upside down!

Everything festive was forbidden from decorations to gatherings. Rebellions broke out across the land from simply hanging holly as an act of defiance to far more radical action from others who fought against the prohibition of Christmas as a political act.

People soon became fed up with a range of restrictions and financial difficulties that came with the Presbyterian system and the fallout of the civil war.

After 13 years the Christmas ban was finally lifted with the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. At last the festivities could recommence!

Passamezzo presents with a distinct theatrical air created by costume, readings and captivating music. The ensemble delights in all aspects of musical life, from the intimacy of the lute song, to the brash raucousness of the broadside ballad, from the sacred part song, to the profane insanity of bedlamite mad songs.

Years of fascinating research by Passamezzo have revealed music rediscovered from their original manuscript sources. Their programmes include pieces that have lain hidden for centuries. 

Tickets now include a free digital programme!

🎄 Passamezzo for Christmas? 🎄

We are all looking forward to Christmas more than ever this year…

… so don’t miss out on our fabulous festive concert, Old Christmas Returned, with Passamezzo on 15 December.

Limited availability now on tickets

But did you know that for several years during the Civil War in the 17th Century, Puritans attempted to ban Christmas altogether!

It wasn’t until the restoration of King Charles II in 1660 that Christmas could be celebrated once again across the land.

In 17th century England, Christmas began officially just after Halloween, with a fast that lasted from Saint Martin’s day until Christmas Eve. This was followed by 12 lively days of feasting and revelry – certainly not just on Christmas Day itself!

Did you know?

🎅 Christmas was a time when the wealthy opened their houses to poorer folk, and provided food for their workers.

🎅 Twelfth Night was a time for wassailing crops to help them grow, and of drinking from the wassail bowl

🎅 Christmas was not considered to be truly over until the feast of Candlemas (2 February), when candles were blessed in church, and evergreen decorations were finally taken down. 

🎅 These festivities were reviled by the Puritans, who saw them as ungodly, and attempted to ban Christmas during the Civil War and the Interregnum.

Join us at St Michael’s (just opposite Waitrose) for this Christmas feast with Passamezzo and Old Christmas Returned at 7.30pm on 15 December. 

This terrific seasonal celebration will feature music, words and song plus carols, ballads, lute songs, dances and readings. 

🎄Tickets now include a free digital programme! 🎄

Christmas Celebrated, Banned and Restored

Passamezzo are coming to Bath Recitals on 15 December with Old Christmas Returned – a terrific celebration of Music, Words and Song for Christmas with carols, ballads, consort music, lutesongs, dance melodies and readings.

This seasonal programme follows the calendar from Advent to Candlemas and showing how Christmas was celebrated, banned and restored in 17th Century England.

The programme will include music by Byrd, Peerson, Dowland, Gibbons, Locke and Purcell as well as readings by Herrick, Shakespeare, Prynne and Taylor.

‘The company of singers and players brilliantly evoked this tumultuous period of English history’

Paul Lewis – Isle of Wight County Press

This wonderful event will be performed in Elizabethan costume featuring:

  • Eleanor Cramer (Soprano, Bass Viol)
  • Alison Kinder (Viols, Recorders)
  • Tamsin Lewis(Renaissance Violin, Viols, Alto)
  • Robin Jeffrey (Lute, Guitar)
  • Michael Palmer (Actor, Baritone)


Old Christmas Returned

Wednesday 15 December, 7.30pm
St. Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 5LJ

Featuring music by Peerson, Byrd, Gibbons, Locke and Purcell.

And with readings by Herrick, Shakespeare, Prynne and Taylor.

Tickets now include a free digital programme!

A Celebration of Musical Talent

Meet the musicians from the Albany Piano Trio, performing music by Beethoven and Dvořák, amongst others for Bath Recitals on 16 October…

Founded in 2010, the Albany Trio recently gave their BBC Radio 3 debut lunchtime concert live on International Women’s Day, and have appeared at major venues around the UK.

Alongside their extensive repertoire of classical music for piano trio, the Albany is also committed to bringing works by female composers to new audiences. They recently commissioned their fourth Trio: The Orchid and its Hunters by Judith Bingham. Premiered live on BBC Radio 3, this exciting work will be performed as part of this concert.

‘Fastidious musicianship’

Musical Opinion Quarterly

Judith Choi-Castro violin

Born in the Canary Islands, Judith studied in London and New York and obtained a BMus (Hons) degree and a Master’s degree from the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music.

In 2015, Judith recorded her debut album “Assorted Encores” sponsored by the Ayuntamiento de Candelaria and is the Artistic Director of the Festival Academy of Music International in Tenerife, which celebrated the 17th Anniversary in February 2021

Verity Evanson cello

Verity studied at St John’s College, Oxford and the Royal College of Music.  She has toured with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and the London Concert Orchestra and has recently worked on film sessions with London Contemporary Orchestra.  

Verity has appeared on BBC television, Channel 4 and Radio 1 Live Lounge. Working with the pop group Bastille she collaborated on their hugely successful debut and Brit Award nominated album Bad Blood.

Pippa Harrison piano

Pippa has an extensive and varied career performing as soloist and chamber musician throughout the UK and abroad. She has broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, BBC Proms Extra, BBC Radio Ulster, and Bulgarian national radio, and has performed at the Bridgewater Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Stoller Hall, Fairfield Halls, at the Tromsø Festival, Banff Centre, the Reid Hall, and at King’s Place. 

Albany Trio

The Orchid and its Hunters

Enjoy fabulous music by Beethoven, Judith Bingham, Turina and Dvořák as we celebrate 40 years of Bath Recitals in the heart of Bath.

Saturday 16 October, 7.30pm
St. Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 5LJ

Beethoven Trio in E Flat major, Op.1 No.1
Judith Bingham The Orchid and its Hunters (2015)
Turina Circulo Op.91
Dvořák Piano Trio No.4 in E minor Op.90, B166 Dumky

Tickets now include a free digital programme!

The Orchid and its Hunters

What’s behind the title of the next Bath Recitals event with the Albany Piano Trio on 16 October…?

The Victorian mania for orchids – or orchidelirium as they called it – rivalled the 18th century craze for tulips! Competing plant hunters undertook hazardous journeys to the most dangerous parts of the world, often losing their lives to illness or animal and native attacks.

Having stripped whole areas of orchids, they would often burn the area to stop other hunters taking anything. Transporting tons of orchids by ship back to Britain meant that most, if not all, of the plants were dead after the long journey.

Did you know…

The Victorian writer, philosopher and art critic, John Ruskin referred to Orchids as ‘prurient apparitions.’ He said that women should not be allowed to look at them.

Judith Bingham

The Albany Trio commissioned this work from British composer Judith Bingham OBE in 2015 to mark International Women’s Day. It’s five short movements create sound worlds which explore the various facets of these exotic plants.

CLICK HERE to listen to a performance of The Orchid and its Hunters by the Albany Trio.

Three great works from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries complete the varied programme in this concert opening with an engaging early work by Beethoven – the first of a set of three piano trios composed in 1795 and first performed in the house of Prince Lichnowsky to whom they are dedicated. It’s a great opener showcasing bright, lively characters throughout.

Spanish composer Joaquin Turina

The Spanish composer Joaquin Turina shows off his Andalusian musical roots in this colourful three movement fantasia ‘Circulo’ from 1936 – although its premiere was held back until 1942 due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. It’s three movements evoke the daily cycle from Dawn through Noon and to Twilight.

One of the best known works for Piano Trio forms the second half of the concert with the 4th Piano Trio by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. This piece is also known as the ‘Dumky Trio’ – a Slavic / Ukrainian term relating to the epic ballads of captive people. Dvořák’s masterful use of this Dumka form contrasts a brooding, introspective composition with alternating cheerful sections.

Join us as we celebrate 40 years of Bath Recitals with this fabulous evening of wonderful music in the heart of Bath.

Albany Trio

Albany Trio

The Orchid and its Hunters

Saturday 16 October, 7.30pm
St. Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 5LJ

Beethoven Trio in E Flat major, Op.1 No.1
Judith Bingham The Orchid and its Hunters (2015)
Turina Circulo Op.91
Dvořák Piano Trio No.4 in E minor Op.90, B166 Dumky

Tickets now include a free digital programme!

This concert is kindly supported by:

The Carne Trust

Join us for our Ruby celebration

Bath Recitals celebrates 40 year of music making in Bath with the Albany Piano Trio on 16 October…

Since 1981 Bath Recitals has given a platform to young professional musicians with over 600 concerts and events being staged in the city.

Tom Clarke and David Gregory came to Bath in 1980 and by the following year were providing this much needed platform for young professional musicians. 

Bath Recitals has attracted artists and audiences from around the world to perform in the city’s concert halls, churches and public buildings – such as in the famous Pump Rooms (pictured).

These chamber events have had a hugely positive impact on Bath’s cultural scene as well as giving invaluable support for emerging artists. 

Over the past 40 years Bath Recitals has helped some of the household names of today such as Nicholas Daniel OBE, Aisa Ijiri and Julius Drake rise successfully to the top of their professions: 

Nicholas Daniel OBE, Aisa Ijiri and Julius Drake

Help us celebrate our Ruby Anniversary on 16 October as we welcome three of the best young musicians of today perform a beautiful programme of music for Piano Trio.

Albany Trio
The Orchid and its Hunters

Saturday 16 October, 7.30pmSt. Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 5LJ

Beethoven: Trio in E Flat major, Op.1 No.1
Judith Bingham: The Orchid and its Hunters (2015)
Turina: Circulo Op.91
Dvořák: Piano Trio No.4 in E minor Op.90, B166 Dumky

Tickets now include a free digital programme!

Live Music from Bath Recitals…

Thanks to everyone who joined our packed audience last Saturday for a fabulous evening of Baroque music performed by the youthful and vibrant Convivio at St Michael’s. Here’s a short video glimpse of that memorable evening. 

So what’s next…?

Coming up on 16 October is the Albany Piano Trio and an evening of music by Beethoven, Turina, Dvořák and Judith Bingham.

The title of this concert comes from the name of the work by Judith Bingham OBE: The Orchid and its Hunters. This was a commission the group made in 2015 for International Women’s Day.  

Prior to this we open the concert with an engaging early work by Beethoven. Later in the programme there is a a terrific chamber work by Joaquin Turina. Circulo is a three movement fantasia for Piano, Violin and Cello.

We conclude with one of the most enduring pieces for this genre with Dvořák’s 4th Piano Trio in E minor – among the composer’s best-known works.

Also known as the ‘Dumky Trio’, a Slavic / Ukrainian term which relates to the epic ballads of captive people. Dvořák masterful user of this dumka form contrasts a brooding, introspective composition with alternating cheerful sections.

Albany Trio

The Orchid and its Hunters
Saturday 16 October, 7.30pm
St. Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 5LJ

Beethoven: Trio in E Flat major, Op.1 No.1
Judith Bingham: The Orchid and its Hunters (2015)
Turina: Circulo Op.91
Dvořák: Piano Trio No.4 in E minor Op.90, B166 Dumky

Tickets now include a free digital programme!

This concert is kindly supported by:

The Carne Trust

Handel and the King…

This painting by Edouard Hamman (1819–88) shows the composer Handel with King George I aboard the royal barge on the River Thames in July 1717. This grand royal barge jaunt was accompanied by a Handel’s new piece of music – the ‘Water Music’ suite.

Handel’s Water Music will bring the programme of baroque music by Convivio this Saturday to a fitting conclusion. From Leipzig to London will also present works by some of the great European masters: Vivaldi, Purcell, Bach and Rameau.

Although painted much later than the actual event in 1717, Hamman’s painting certainly conjures up the spirit of the occasion reflecting the paintings of the period by the likes of Canaletto.

As Elector of Hanover, George emp­loyed Han­­­del as court conductor in 1710. The young composer soon moved to London on a generous salary from Queen Anne before George ascended to the throne in 1714 and continued the patronage. But the new German-speaking King was not without controversy and generally unpopular after many opposition polit­ic­ians supported his eld­est son, the future George II.

So a grand royal event was created – a pub­licity spectacle, designed to impr­ess Lond­on­ers and steal the focus from King George’s absent son. Water Music is as likely to have been designed as much as an impressive piece of mew music as it was for propaganda to build up the prof­ile of England’s unpopular new ruler.

This lavish, 3-part suite for 50 musicians included loud horns and woodwind instruments so that the sound carried across the water along with oboes, flutes, recorders, bassoons, trumpets, horns, violins and basses. 

At 8pm the colourful cavalcade of boats travelled from The Palace of Whitehall up to Chelsea. The king and his courtiers watched from the royal barge while a City Barge was employed for the music with Handel conducting. The king was so enthusiastic that the work was played many times with the event finishing long after midnight.

Saturday 28 August, 7.30pm
St. Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 5LJ

The Spirit of the Harpsichord…

No baroque ensemble would be complete without the most essential of 18th century keyboard instruments – the harpsichord.

On 28 August when the eight-piece ensemble Convivio perform From Leipzig to London at St Michael’s, the harpsichord will be supplied by one of the country’s finest makers and restorers of these wonderful instruments – and he’s only just outside of Bath in the village of Rode!

Peter Barnes has been making harpsichords since 1974, firstly under the guidance of his father and friends in Edinburgh, and after 1990, from his workshop near Frome. The interior of one of his fine instruments is pictured above.

Find out more about Peter Barnes’ work and watch some of his fascinating videos on his website.

Until recently, the emphasis of his work was repairing and refurbishing second-hand instruments but he is now making some fantastic new instruments again.

The instrument Peter is supplying for this concert was made in the 1980s by another of the UK’s finest makers, and also Somerset based: Andrew Garlic. 

Specialising in French and Flemish harpsichords, he has an international reputation for his quality craftmanship, clear tone and the fine appearance of his instruments. Garlic harpsichords can be seen all over the world and are often featured in concerts, radio broadcasts and recordings.

Did you know…?

The harpsichord was a hugely popular instrument across Europe up until the 18th century after which time the Piano took its place.

The strings of a harpsichord are plucked by a small plectrum – unlike being struck with small hammers on a piano. This gives the harpsichord its distinctive sound which almost immediately creates an association with the baroque era.


Saturday 28 August, 7.30pm
St. Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 5LJ

Best of the Baroque…

Some of the best music from the baroque age heads to Bath on 28 August brought by the dynamic and exciting young ensemble Convivio.

Here’s a taste of Convivio, recorded at St. Mary’s Church, Battersea, performing the 4th movement (Allegro) of Fasch’s Sonata in F major for violin, oboe, bassoon and continuo. 

On 28 August we shall have an eight-piece ensemble who will guide us on a musical tour of the European grand baroque of the 18th century…

Meet the musicians…

Alice Earll Violin 1

A period instrument performer graduating from the RAM with a first-class degree and the Bickerdike Allen Prize for achievement in 2016. She performs with the Academy of Ancient Music at the BBC Proms and is a founding member of Ensemble Molière.

Maxim del Mar Violin 2

A Master’s graduate in Historical Violin Performance from the RAM.  Maxim performs music from Monteverdi to Beethoven on original set-ups and he is an active member of ensembles including Ensemble Echos, Ensemble La Notte and Endelienta Baroque.

Joanna Patrick Viola

First Class Honours graduate from the RAM and prize-winning finalist in Concerto and Chamber Music Competitions, Joanna plays with Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Florilegium, the Academy of Ancient Music, BBCSO and the LSO.

Florence Petit Cello

Graduating from the RAM with Distinction, Florence has recorded for the Royal Collection Trust’s exhibition Masters of the Everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer. She has also worked with Florilegium, the Brandenburg Baroque Soloists and the English Concert.


JS Bach 
(1685-1709 )
Orchestral Suite no 1 in C major BWV 1066

H Purcell (1659-1695)
Chaconne in G minor Z 730

A Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Bassoon Concerto in E minor RV484

JP Rameau (1683-1764)
Suite from ‘Hippolyte et Aricie’ RV 439

A Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Concerto in C Major RV450 for oboe, strings and continuo

JP Rameau (1683-1764)
Les Boreades – Entree de Polimnie

JF Handel(1685-1759)
Suite No.1 Water Music (excerpts) HWV 348

Nicola Barbagli Oboe 1

Graduating in Italy Nicola moved to the UK and after studying historical oboes at the RAM performs with the Orchestra of Age of Enlightenment and the Gabrieli Consort as well as running Istante Collective and Baroquestock festivals.

Amy Roberts Oboe 2

British RNCM graduated oboist performs with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music, Florilegium and the Early Opera Company. Her series of books ‘Keeping in Shape’, support students to keep fit & healthy on the oboe. 

Catriona McDermid Bassoon 

A keen educator and bassoonist, highlights include appearances on BBC Radio 3 ‘In Tune’ and a Navarra String Quartet premiere. Catriona performs with the London Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic and RTÉ Symphony as well as period ensembles including English Baroque Soloists. 

Sean Heath Harpsichord

At the RAM and at Cambridge University Sean was ‘keyboardist in residence’ at St Andrews. He has played harpsichord continuo with leading early music conductors such as Christopher Rousset and Laurence Cummings

All online ticket holders will be emailed a FREE PROGRAMME. It will be sent as a DIGITAL PDF to read on your phone or other device, or printed out at home.