Ensemble L'Arpeggiata

Purcell - Music for a While

Christina Pluhar


Ensemble L’Arpeggiata & Christina Pluhar On Instruments of the Period

Christina Pluhar and her ensemble of brilliant musicians recognise no boundaries, blurring the lines between the score and improvisation, classical and folk, and between old and new.

L’Arpeggiata performs the Baroque canon with a light touch – lithe readings of Monteverdi or Cavalli – but it is the evenings of ingeniously curated explorations that showcase the ensemble’s gift for joyous, spontaneous music-making. An exponent of the gorgeous bass lute called a ‘theorbo’, Pluhar founded L’Arpeggiata in 2000, creating a flexible group with an immediately distinctive sonority, a beguiling assortment of bass instruments, strings, the mellow trumpet-like cornetto and voice. It’s a combination that permits excursions to South America, Mexico, the Mediterranean and jazz, in addition to the familiar sound-world of Baroque Europe.

In this Melbourne Recital Centre exclusive, L’Arpeggiata pays homage to Henry Purcell, the most important English composer of the Baroque. Vivid and dramatic, serene and sacred, rollicking and bawdy, his music is the sound of the Restoration: a melting-pot of French, Italian and German influences with a uniquely English accent. It’s the kind of cosmopolitan music that inspires L’Arpeggiata, here joined by two renowned singers who capture the theatrical essence of Purcell’s art.

Marshall McGuire: ‘L’Arpeggiata is simply one of the finest and most fun period ensembles at work today. What makes them special is the love – but also the irreverence – they bring to Baroque music. They play the pop music of the 17th century in a way that makes it sing for 21st-century ears.’

‘Turning every concert into a party, Baroque ensemble L’Arpeggiata are performers in the truest sense.’ The Arts Desk

Join Ensemble L’Arpeggiata in the ground floor foyer for a post-concert CD signing.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre


Maurizio Cazzati

Henry Purcell
‘Musick for a while’ from Orpheus Britannicus
‘‘Twas within a furlong of Edinborough Town’ from The Mock Marriage

Nicola Matteis
La Dia Spagnola

Henry Purcell
‘A Prince of glorious race descended’ from Orpheus Britannicus
‘One charming night’ from The Fairy Queen
‘Ah ! Belinda’ from Dido and Aeneas
‘An Evening Hymn on a ground’ from Harmonia Sacra
‘Strike the viol’ from Orpheus Britannicus

Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger
Toccata L’Arpeggiata

Henry Purcell
‘When I am laid (Dido’s Lament)’ from Dido and Aeneas
‘Wondrous machine!’ from Hail! Bright Cecilia
‘Here the Deities approve’ from Wellcome to all pleasures

Canario Improvisation

Henry Purcell
‘Man is for woman made’ from The Mock Marriage
‘Hark ! how the songsters of the grove’ from Orpheus Britannicus


L’Arpeggiata (France/Italy)
Christina Pluhar theorbo/director
Céline Scheen soprano
Vinzenco Capezzuto alto
Doron Sherwin cornetto
Veronika Skuplik Baroque violin
Eero Palviainen lute/Baroque guitar
Boris Schmidt double bass
Sergey Saprichev percussion
Haru Kitamika harpsichord/organ
Francesco Turrisi harpsichord