Musica Poetica 2018 dates for your diary

Musica Poetica

Musica Poetica has a great line up of events to add to your 2018 diaries. Here are some of the ones to look forward to…


Actus Tragicus, an unusual and moving concert

Actus Tragicus

Coming next is a programme of music by Franz Tunder and JS Bach in Actus Tragicus. Find out more about this unusual and moving lunchtime concert…

Some of the greatest music ever written – from Heinrich Schütz to Eric Clapton – has been inspired by a range of reflective themes from penitence to bereavement. In this unusual and moving lunchtime concert, Musica Poetica perform two notable examples of music for such occasions.

But don’t expect funereal dirges and weeping sopranos in this concert! Both Tunder and Bach bring an amazing sense of joy and deliverance to these themes which result in two magnificently uplifting and life-affirming musical creations.

Actus Tragicus

Thursday 26 October @ 1:10 PM – 1:50 PM
St Sepulchre without Newgate

Franz Tunder 
Hosianna dem Sohne David  
(Hosanna to the Son of David)

Johann Sebastian Bach 
Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit 
(God’s time is the very best time)

So the Tunder World revolution continues. But what’s so special about his music? Just have a listen to this glorious excerpt from September’s concert Depart in Peace with the glorious finale from his Nisi Dominus aedificaverit…

Last month’s concert with the Finale from Tunder’s Nisi Dominus aedificaverit

Depart in Peace leads Musica Poetica’s return to City of London

Musica Poetica returns to Tunder World after a summer break from their lunchtime concerts in the City of London. Here’s a closer look at their next one, Depart in Peace…

So far this year the performances of the music of Franz Tunder have been a revolution to many people. And with performances in London, Bath and Brighton Musica Poetica are certainly getting noticed.

Depart in Peace on Thursday 28 September promises to be a wonderfully reflective musical interlude in this stunning venue from the frenzy of the City of London outside. This musical oasis will feature some of Franz Tunder’s most reflective and spiritual compositions.

St Sepulcre-without-Newgate.jpg

St Sepulchre without Newgate

Depart in Peace

Thursday 28 September @ 1:10 PM – 1:50 PM – Free
St Sepulchre without Newgate

Like many of his contemporaries and composers of all periods, Franz Tunder set to music the Song of Simeon, or Nunc dimittis as it is better known in the UK. The old man Simeon takes up the child Jesus in his arms, and knows that he can now die in the knowledge that he has seen the Messiah.

Unusually, Tunder’s setting features a bass duet and five stringed instruments – a very daring and innovative combination!

Franz Tunder:
Salve mi Jesu
Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener
Nisi Dominus aedificaverit

Find out more about Depart in Peace

Join us for Baroque Tales in Bath this August Bank Holiday weekend

Musica Poetica

Take a trip to the beautiful city of Bath on Saturday 26 August for a special Summer Party with Musica Poetica’s Baroque Tales in collaboration with the Bath Recitals concert series.

And here are FIVE GREAT REASONS why Baroque Tales promises to be a very special evening in the atmospheric Old Theatre Royal in the heart of this historic city:

1. Wonderful Music
Including Rameau, Handel, Cavalli and Purcell

2. Complementary baroque-themed cocktail
Free welcome drink and a range of drinks available at the bar

3. Free canapés
A selection of ‘platters from the period’

4. Five Great Musicians

Meet the Musicians

5. A unique evening’s entertainment
Presenting early music in the context of the period

“An early-instrument ensemble of exceptional quality.”
Opera Britannica


What is the Tunder Project?

Franz Tunder

The Spring edition of Early Music Today featured a fascinating interview with Music Poetica’s Oliver John Ruthven. Here are some of the edited highlights from this interview in advance the final three concerts as part of the lunchtime ‘Tunder World’ series in the heart of London.

So why the focus on Franz Tunder?

2017 is the 350th anniversary of his death in 1667. His music is not widely performed, especially in the UK, and we wanted to use this anniversary as an opportunity to share his works with more people.

In addition, Tunder’s music personifies the ‘musica poetica’ style after which we are named. This was a school of thought in which musical rhetorical devices were defined and linked back to those of classical literature and art. Tunder was therefore paving the way for the masters of the high Baroque, most particularly Johann Sebastian Bach.

What are you performing as part of this concert series?

We are performing all 17 of Tunder’s surviving vocal works ranging from miniature solo cantatas for one singer, one obbligato and basso continuo, to grander chorale cantatas for vocal consort and strings. Although these were published in 1901, a newer edition of all the vocal works doesn’t exist – so we are taking this opportunity to create a comprehensive new edition together with recordings of all of Tunder’s 17 vocal works.

And what instruments and voices are needed to perform Tunder’s music?

As organist and director of music at the Marienkirche in Lübeck, Tunder had a team of very capable instrumentalists at his disposal. These included violinists, viola da gambists and at least one lutenist. This was in addition to trained singers, capable of singing as a choir and as soloists.



In our concert series, almost every performance involves a string consort of violins and viola da gambas, underpinned by a basso continuo team of violone, chamber organ and lute. For the larger chorale cantatas this dense string texture provides a luxurious bed of sound for the choral movements, as well as intricate interplay with single voices in his smaller solo cantatas.

And from where did Tunder draw his musical influences?

Tunder, like any composer of his day, was writing music to accommodate the tastes of his audience. A vogue for all things Italian may well explain the italianate-ness in much of his music. We know that as a young man Tunder travelled to Italy and may have studied with Girolamo Frescobaldi. His music certainly shows a distinctly Italian influence and there are similarities in the scoring of some of his work with the music of Monteverdi.

Girolamo Frescobaldi

Girolamo Frescobaldi

But in terms of the texts he set, the inherent piety of his North German world, derived from its Lutheran roots, meant that the words are all taken from (and inspired by) the Bible, some in German and some in Latin.

So what have we got to look forward to this Autumn?

We have some real highlights to look forward to this Autumn when we will be performing Tunder’s larger scale cantatas. These clearly prefigure Bach’s own cantatas, whilst still retaining an antique quality which harks back to Schütz and Lassus. We look forward to seeing you at our forthcoming lunchtime concerts at the exquisite church of St Sepulchre’s without Newgate.

Focus on our Autumn Concerts

Musica Poetica

Musica Poetica has some terrific events lined up for the second half of this year in Bath, London and Brighton. Here’s an overview of what’s coming.

Baroque Tales by Musica Poetica

Musica Poetica appears at the Old Theatre Royal, Bath on 26 August with Baroque Tales – a 17th and 18th century whirlwind tour of Europe complete with a complimentary Baroque-themed cocktail and canapés. As part on the all-year-round Bath Recitals concert series, Baroque Tales will ensure this summer musical party goes off with a swing.

Franz Tunder 
Salve coelestis pater & An Wasserflüssen Babylon
Heinrich Biber 
Sonata Representiva
Louis-Nicolas Clérambault 
La Mort d’Hercule
Jean-Philippe Rameau
 3-iéme Concert, Pièces de Clavecin en Concerts
George Frederic Handel
 Rejoice Greatly (Messiah) & The Harmonious Blacksmith
Henry Purcell
 Fairest Isle, King Arthur
Richard Leveridge
 3 Comic Songs
Francesco Cavalli 
La Calisto, Scenes 1 & 2

Back in London the Tunder World Series continues with Depart in Peace on 28 September. This wonderfully reflective lunchtime concert features some of Franz Tunder’s most spiritual compositions.

Like many composers, Franz Tunder set to music the Song of Simeon, or Nunc dimittis as it is also known. Unusually, Tunder’s setting features a bass duet and five stringed instruments – a very daring and innovative combination in its day!

Franz Tunder 
Salve mi Jesu
Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener
Nisi Dominus aedificaverit

Actus Tragicus

26 October presents a thoughtful and reflective concert featuring one of Bach’s early works – also known as the Actus Tragicus. This is paired with a short choral work by Tunder, a setting of the gospel text recounting Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem, the week before his death of the cross”

Franz Tunder
 Hosianna dem Sohne David (Hosanna to the Son of David)
Johann Debastian Bach 
Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (God’s time is the very best time)

Brighton Early Music

Join us on 4 November at the Brighton Early Music Festival when Music Poetica performs Giacomo Carissimi’s masterpiece Jephte, one of the finest and best-loved 17th century oratorios. The programme contextualises this important work with music written by predecessors and contemporaries of Carissimi, including two female composers, Cozzolani and Caccini.

Chiara Margarita Cozzolani
O caeli cives

Francesca Caccini
Regina caeli laetare, alleluia

Giacomo Carissimi
Historia di Jephte

And music by
Giaschse de Wert and Girolamo Frescobaldi

The Mighty Fortress

The Tunder World Series reaches a magnificent conclusion on 30 November with The Mighty Fortress and a performance of some of Franz Tunder’s most elaborate and influential works.

The programme features three songs of praise, including Ein feste Burg, one of Martin Luther’s best-known hymns. A fitting end to a year in which we not only remember the 350th anniversary of Tunder’s death, but also the quincentenary of the Reformation.

Franz Tunder 
Helft mir Gott’s güte preisen
Wend ab deinen Zorn, Lieber Herr
Ein feste Burg



Out of the Deep

Works by Franz Tunder and Nicolaus Bruhns form the programme for the next concert in Musica Poetica’s Tunder World series of lunchtime concerts at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in the heart of the city of London.

Franz Tunder

Franz Tunder

The concert features perhaps Franz Tunder’s most evocative work, O Jesu dulcissime in which two violins weave a chromatic pattern around a bass vocal soloist. This is an impassioned prayer to Christ, typical of Tunder’s chorale fantasia style. In addition to being the main organist at Lübeck’s main church, the Marienkirche, he also became the administrator and treasurer there from 1647.

Two Violins

This cantata is paired with an extensive and virtuosic work by Nicolaus Bruhns, De profundis clamavi. Although he only lived to the age of 31 this Danish-German organist, violinist, and composer was one of the most prominent organists and composers of his generation. Bruhns’ music was heavily influenced by Tunder and his son-in-law, Dieterich Buxtehude, whose lovely keyboard Suite will also be performed.

Musica Poetica’s free lunchtime concerts at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate are inspired by the work of Franz Tunder who instigated the ‘Abendmusiken’ tradition of free concerts at the Marienkirche in Lübeck from about 1646 onwards.

Originally, the Abendmusiken were a series of organ recitals for the businessmen who congregated at the town’s stock exchange, but they soon grew into elaborate performances – especially at Christmas. These concerts continued through the 17th and 18th centuries and were unusual with their policy of free admission through being financed by the business community.



Franz Tunder
O Jesu dulcissime (O sweetest Jesus)

Dieterich Buxtehude
Suite in E minor BuxWV 236

Nicolaus Bruhns
De profundis clamavi (Out of the deep I call to you)

Join us for ‘Out of the Deep’ at 1.10pm  on Thursday 29 June in the tranquil setting of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in the heart of the city of London.

More information

The Voices and Viols of Musica Poetica

On Thursday 25 May the Voices and Viols of Musica Poetica take us on a journey through the richer textures of Franz Tunder’s writing for five voices and five instruments.

The next free lunchtime concert at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in the heart of the city of London sees the Tunder World season reach its apex with some of Franz Tunder’s greatest choral works.Programme


Thursday 25 May at 1.10pm
St Sepulchre-without-Newgate

Franz Tunder Dominus illuminatio mea
Franz Tunder Nisi Dominus aedificaverit
Franz Tunder Streuet mit Palmem

A highlight of this concert is the exquisite psalm setting, Dominus illuminatio mea (The Lord is my Light). Musica Poetica’s Chris Webb says:

‘This really is a great piece, full of colour and creative word-setting – a fascinating fusion of Italian and German styles.’

The other works by Tunder in this programme explore the richer textures of Tunder’s writing for five voices and five instruments, an ensemble which gave him a huge palate by which to explore a range of dramatic Biblical texts.

Franz Tunder

Franz Tunder

German composer and organist Franz Tunder (1614 – November 5, 1667) was an important link between the early German Baroque style which was based on Venetian models, and the later Baroque style which culminated in the music of JS Bach.

Tunder was also formative in the development of the  Choral Cantata and one of his initiatives was to develop the Abendmusiken series of free concerts at the Marienkirche in Lübeck.

Originally formed as a quartet at the Royal Academy of Music in 2010, Musica Poetica has given concerts in settings ranging from Cadogan Hall to Upstairs at the Gatehouse, and appeared at the Brighton Early Music Festival under the 2012-13 Early Music Live! scheme.

Join The Voices and Viols of Musica Poetica on 25 May at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate for INTO THE LIGHT.


Performer Focus: Oliver John Ruthven

One of the founding members of Musica Poetica, Oliver John Ruthven tells us more about his musical life and career…

Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself, your instrument and your training to date?

My musical life started with the violin, and until I was at University, my heart was set on becoming a professional violinist – but this wasn’t to be. At the age of 7 I became a chorister at Westminster Abbey, and this was really the catalyst for what I do now – the training at the Abbey was of the highest standard, and, even at a very young age, I was expected to deliver professional performances on a daily basis. It was the rigour and discipline of this early training which has enabled me to become a professional musician.

I first encountered the harpsichord when I was in my teens which I studied alongside the violin as my second study. By the time I reached the end of my time at Manchester University, I realised that I was also passionate about conducting, particularly in the field of early music.

On returning to London as a freelance musician I became Musical Director of Hampstead Garden Opera. During a production of Blow’s ‘Venus & Adonis’, one of the cast asked me to accompany her for a coaching session with John Eliot Gardiner. John Eliot subsequently asked me if I’d be interested in the Monteverdi Choir Apprenticeship. For a year in 2010, I was their keyboards apprentice playing harpsichord and chamber organ in the English Baroque Soloists. Without a doubt, this was the most challenging and exciting experience of my musical life.

Oliver John Ruthven

What other music ensembles/orchestras are you currently involved with?

I continue to work with John Eliot Gardiner and as a member of English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir. I also played continuo with His Majesty’s Sackbuts & Cornetts, the Little Baroque Company, the London Mozart Players and the Orpheus Sinfonia. I’m very excited to be playing continuo with Stile Antico in 2017, including a concert at the Wigmore Hall in May.

Tell us about some of your more memorable performing experiences…
This has to be during my first time at the BBC Proms in 2010. I was playing harpsichord and chamber organ in the Monteverdi Vespers with John Eliot and the EBS and it was televised and broadcast on the radio. All was going well until I had to leave the stage to climb up the many stairs to the top of the Albert Hall. Up there was placed a small chamber organ and the boys choir of Cardinal Vaughan School. This was for one verse of the Ave Maris Stella, a matter of seconds, but the small organ was to be the only instrument accompanying the boys choir – my presence up there was fairly crucial!

Having got to the allotted door with plenty of time to spare, and went to open it and found that it had been locked. After a lot of frantic searching, I managed to find an open door on the opposite side of the circular gallery. Taking off my noisy wooden heeled shoes so as not to disrupt the performance, I raced around the gallery and made it to th
e organ in the nick of time. There were some bemused faces amongst the Prommers in the gallery as I weaved my way through them in my tails and socks!

And finally, what are some of your ambitions in the musical world?

I am delighted with the progress Musica Poetica has made over the last couple of years. My ambition is that we establish ourselves as an early music ensemble of renown and quality, which stands the test of time. It is a great inspiration to see several superb early music groups making great waves in the musical world – I hope we can do the same.

Hear Oliver John Ruthven and Simon Lloyd perform music for keyboards from the early Baroque as part of Tunder World 2017 on Thursday 27 April at 1.10pm


Crown of Thorns

Crown of Thorns

In the next free concert in the 2017 series the Musica Poetica Consort present a beautiful programme of a cappella vocal music. Join us at 1.10pm  on Thursday 30 March in the tranquil setting of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in the heart of the city of London. 

Crown of Thorns

Music by two exact contemporaries will be showcased in this event: the all-but-forgotten Johann Christoph Demantius and the never-to-be-forgotten Claudio Monteverdi, both composers living from 1567 to 1643. 

Demantius’ music represents a transitional phase in German Lutheran music from the Renaissance to the Early Baroque. His St John Passion is a fascinating example of the German “motet Passion”, and his motet for six voices Und wie Moses in der Wüsten (And like Moses in the desert) nods to the Italianate style which so inspired Tunder.

In contrast, Monteverdi’s immense output and musical influence through his instrumental and vocal works have placed him as a towering transitional figure between the Renaissance and the Baroque in the annals of musical history.

Nowhere is this transition from the older polyphonic style to the new concertante style displayed more clearly than in his glorious Missa in illo tempore for six voices. Dating from 1610, this was dedicated to Pope Paul V. 

Join Musica Poetica and six of the UK’s best consort singers for this atmospheric Lenten programme as part of the Tunder World 2017 series.