Early Music by Candlelight Summer Festival

Chamber music from the age of elegance performed by Charivari Agréable
Exeter College Chapel, Exeter College, Turl Street, Oxford OX1 3DP, Sun 9 July - Fri 18 August 2017

We're very lucky in Oxford that although the city is small it is home to people at the top of all sorts of fields, not least classical music. Kah-Ming Ng runs a summer concert series, focussing on Baroque works.

Every series consists of 7 or so different concerts, repeated a couple of times each. Ng picks pieces to fit a theme, and then chooses ensembles from among his enormous list of talented musicians, with readings or introductions which tie the pieces together. They're laid back and professional, irreverent and learned, and make for an evening that's both calm and stimulating. It is a pleasing irony that these concerts are Oxford institutions, organised by someone with such an international background: Ng was born in Malaysia and came to Oxford by way of Melbourne and Frankfurt.

This year's series includes Game of Queens, a concert exploring 16th-century female monarchs, consorts, and regents, and the relationships between England, Scotland and France. It features music by Attaignant, Arbeau, Bataille, Caccini, Dowland and Guedron, played on recorders and viols, and readings from contemporary correspondence plus Shakespeare sonnets. I don't share Ng's love of the counter-tenor, but in all other aspects this series is perfect.

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