Event 11
Saturday 21st October, 8:00pm 
Little Missenden Church

Fantastic music in the fantastic style
Heinrich Biber
The Annunciation (from the Mystery Sonatas)
Sonata 3 in F major
John Jenkins
Fantasia Suite in G minor
Fantasia in D minor
Georg Muffat
Ciaccona in G major
Gottfried Finger
Sonata no3 in A major
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer
Sonata Quarta
Henry Purcell
Trio Sonata in G minor

This is an archived event from the 2017 Programme.

Rie Kimura baroque violin  Robert Smith viola da gamba  Guillermo Brachetta harpsichord



This wonderful trio is fantastic by name and nature. Fantasticus play period instruments and offer ‘intense expression and an affinity with bold, extravagant music.’ 

The mysterious instrumental music which emerged from the middle-Europe of the 17th century is remarkable for its abstraction, free form and quasi-improvisatory virtuoso playfulness. It flourished when musicians realized that they were now allowed to compose and play purely instrumental music and were suddenly freed from playing simply as backing for vocal texts.

The tonal system developed accordingly, with enriched harmonic possibilities; new forms like sonatas and suites proliferated; both the baroque  and the stylus fantasticus were born. As the scholar Athanasius Kirchner wrote at the time, ‘the fantastic style is especially suited to instruments. It is the most free and unrestrained method of composing, it is bound to nothing, neither to any words nor to a melodic subject, it was instituted to display genius and to teach the hidden design of harmony and the ingenious composition of harmonic phrases and fugues.’



The German/Moravian composers featured in this programme spent the majority of their working lives in Vienna and Salzburg. They strongly influenced each other - first Schmeltzer on Biber and then the latter on Finger. And finally, Muffat, who worked more in an ecclesiastical than courtly environment, benefited from the work of all three.

Although the English tradition of writing for the viol consort grew up earlier and completely independently, Jenkins similarly pushed the boundaries. In his case it was the introduction of ‘divisions’ - or variations above a ground bass or simple melody - which provides similar scope for players to demonstrate their virtuosity.

If the English viol consort tradition had to come to an end, it was perhaps fitting that it was in the work of its finest ever exponent, Henry Purcell, the master of the trio sonata.

Based in Amsterdam, all three members of Fantasticus are prize winners of important early music competitions (Bruges, Van Wassenaer, Premio Bonporti) and play with highly regarded orchestras (Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, De Nederlandse Bachvereniging and Bach Collegium Japan). Having learnt their craft at the conservatoires in The Hague and Amsterdam they are now at the heart of the Baroque music movement in Europe. 


Fantasticus play Sonata no1 in D Minor by Gottfried Finger