The Harp Consort
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The Harp Consort improvises within the distinct styles of baroque, renaissance and medieval music. The group takes its inspiration from the 17th-century harp consort formed in England at the court of Charles I: in contrast to the homogeneous string orchestra (also formed at this time), the Consorte brought together diverse types of solo instruments – harp, lutes, keyboards, strings – and voices, to create colourful new combinations in the fashion of the day. Like the 17th-century Consorte, The Harp Consort is formed around the accompanying instruments of the basso continuo and brings together an international team of musicians who create a rich variety of timbres.
CDs and Awards
The Harp Consort's debut CD, Luz y norte (17th century dance music from Spain and South America) gained a Diapason d’Or in France, Record of the Year from Amadeus magazine in Italy, and topped the classical charts for five weeks in Australia.
The ensemble's recordings on DHM include 'Carolan's Harp’; ‘Italian Concerto’ [Best Early Music CD, German Phonographic Academy]; the medieval ‘Ludus Danielis’; and La púrpura de la rosa [Noah Greenberg Award], the first New World opera, given in Lima, Peru in 1701. The ensemble has also recorded Lawes for Berlin Classics and Purcell for Astrée Auvidis, and formed the continuo band for Andrew Lawrence-King's recording of Handel's ‘Almira’ [American Handel Society CD of the year], for Vivaldi's ‘Four Seasons’ with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and for ‘Fire-Water’: Spanish renaissance ensaladas with The King's Singers.
The Harp Consort now records exclusively for Harmonia Mundi USA. Their first release was Missa Mexicana: festive polyphony and popular dances from 17th-century Mexico (The Times (London) CD of the Year). Their second CD, Miracles of Notre Dame (songs arranged by Gautier de Coincy, 13th-century Prior of Vic) won the Dutch "Edison" award: it was also Gramophone Magazine's Editor's Choice & London Telegraph CD of the Year. Their latest recording is Arte de Fantasía: tientos, chansons & dances of the Spanish Golden Age.