2017 Programme

Ensemble Buxtehude presented three concerts of sparkling Baroque music in the idyllic settings of the two local churches.

The Festival began with solo and trio sonatas for strings and continuo by JS Bach, his teacher Buxtehude and good friend Telemann, all in the beautiful 10th century lakeside church dedicated to St Bega.

On Saturday lunchtime Festival Artistic Director David Gibbs gave an organ recital on the theme of the Ground Bass, concluding with Bach's mighty Passacaglia in C minor.

That same evening a full Ensemble concert for voices, strings and continuo filled the lovely acoustic of St John's Church and featured two cantatas by Buxtehude and Reinhard Keiser's St Mark Passion (1705), on which Bach modelled his own Passion settings.

Bach, Buxtehude and Telemann

Sonatas and fantasias for violin and continuo by Bach, Buxtehude and Telemann


The Ground Bass

Organ music by JS Bach and Purcell arias


Buxtehude cantatas and St Mark Passion by Keiser (1674 - 1739)

for voices, strings and continuo


2016 Programme

Our 2016 programme gave pride of place to the great Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707), the composer from whom our Ensemble takes its name.

The Festival began with a concert of chamber music in the intimate and beautiful setting of St Bega's Church on the lakeside. The evening featured sonatas by JS Bach, Buxtehude and Telemann for various combinations of oboe, viola, cello and chamber organ; the lunchtime concert featured our Festival director David Gibbs, who gave a recital on the main organ at St Bega's of music by our hero Buxtehude, once again, together with works by Franz Tunder, his father-in-law and predecessor at Lubeck, and Nicolaus Bruhns, one of his finest pupils.

Finally on Saturday evening, in the lovely acoustic of St John's Church, Bassenthwaite, we revisited a ravishing work by Buxtehude that immediately won the hearts of our audience when we last performed it in 2006. Membra Jesu nostri, composed in 1680, is a cycle of seven cantatas, each a highly personal and moving meditation on the figure of the suffering Christ. The evening's programme also included a mix of gentle and lively choral and solo cantatas by Tunder, and by Johann Rosenmuller who worked in Italy for many years and helped bring Italian musical styles to the north of Europe.

JS Bach, Buxtehude and Telemann

Chamber music for oboe, viola, cello and continuo


Organ recital

Tunder, Buxtehude, Bruhns


Buxtehude, Tunder and Rosenmuller

Buxtehude Membra Jesu nostri

Cantatas by Tunder and Rosenmuller for voices, strings and continuo


2015 Programme

Our 2015 programme was given over to the the work of arguably England's greatest composer, Henry Purcell.

At the heart of the festival was a performance of Dido and Aeneas, Purcell's first opera as such, and a work that proved to be so influential among his contemporaries as well as those in the music scene that followed. The first half of the programme introduced two of Purcell's lesser-known symphony songs: See where she sits and the ode Raise, raise the voice, which was originally considered to be one of three odes to Saint Cecilia by Purcell, but now regarded as a stand-alone court work.

Our lunchtime concert saw the welcome retrn of our resident cellist, Ed Pendrous, and includes three Italian cello sonatas by Lanzetti, Geminiani and Vivaldi.

On Saturday evening a broad selection of Purcell's solo songs and duets were presented alongside works by his contemporaries such as his brother, Daniel, the theatre musician John Eccles, the violist Gottfried Finger and, most notably, John Blow, who both preceded and succeeded Purcell as organist at Westminster Abbey. A wide range of moods is explored from the pastoral frolics and sature of the duets, through the mad songs (the theatre composers of the day were often seemingly preoccupied by the asylum) to the plaintive grief of the three elegies in remembrance of their lost Queen.

Henry Purcell

  • Sonata in F, The 'Golden Sonata', Z.810
  • See where she sits, A Symphony Song for Soprano & Bass, Z.508
  • Chacony, Z.730
  • Raise, raise the voice, An ode for Soprano, Tenor & Bass, Z.334
  • Dido and Aeneas

Lunchtime Concert

  • Sonata No.5 in A minor, Lanzetti
  • Voluntary in F major, Bassani
  • Sonata in A minor, Geminiani
  • Canzona in G minor, Zipoli
  • Sonata No.5 in E minor, Vivaldi

Purcell and his Contemporaries

  • Come, let us leave the Town, Z.629, Purcell
  • If music be the food of love, Z.379, Purcell
  • When Myra sings, Z.521, Purcell
  • Sonata in F, Daniel Purcell
  • From silent shades, and the Elizium groves, Purcell
  • Morpheus, thou gentle god, Daniel Purcell
  • I burn, my brain consumes to ashes, John Eccles
  • Bacchus is a pow'r divine, Z.360, Purcell
  • Since times are so bad, Z.528, Purcell
  • Why my Daphne, why complaining?, Z.525, Purcell
  • Sonatina in A major, Finger
  • Three Elegies on the death of Queen Mary, John Blow and Purcell

2014 Programme

In 1723 JS Bach was appointed director of St Thomas's Boys' Choir in Leipzig, the seventeenth holder of the post since the choir's foundation in 1212. The first concert of this year's Bassenthwaite Festival featured choral motets by Bach and five of his predecessors as Thomaskantor. Also in 1723, in London, English virtuoso organist John Stanley took up his first salaried post at the age of eleven. Virtually blind, he also made his mark as an outstanding violinist and composer, and was later appointed Master of the King's Musick: the Saturday lunchtime concert presented some of his vocal and instrumental works. Our closing Festival concert took us to Italy and back to Germany, and included a transcription by Bach of one of Pergolesi's final compositions.

Motets by the Cantors of St Thomas', Leipzig

  • Furchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir, J.S. Bach
  • Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, Calvisius
  • Unser Leben wahret siebzig Jahr, Calvisius
  • Prelude in E flat, J.S. Bach
  • Zion spricht: Der Herr hat mich verlassen, Schein
  • Drei schone Ding sind, Schein
  • Siehe, nach Trost war mir sehr bange, Schein
  • Erforsche mich, Gott, Knupfer
  • Ach, mein herzliebes Jesulein, Schelle
  • Gott hat uns nicht gesetzt zum Zorn, Kuhnau
  • Tristis est anima mea, Kuhnau
  • Fugue in E flat, J.S. Bach
  • Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf, J.S. Bach

John Stanley

  • Cantata I, Opus 9, No 1
  • Sonata in D minor for Organ, Opus 5, No 8
  • Cantata II, Opus 9, No 2
  • Sonata in G for Violin & Continuo, Opus 1, No 3
  • Cantata III, Opus 9, No 3

Vivaldi & Bach

  • Laudate Pueri, RV 600, Vivaldi
  • Nisi Dominus, RV 608, Vivaldi
  • Tilge, Hochster, meine Sunden, J.S. Bach


2013 Programme

We started with an evening of Telemann, performing a tiny proportion of the huge output of this prolific 18th century German composer. Telemann was self-taught and played a vast array of instruments, including, we believe, bass trombone. He was a friend to Handel and Bach, and godfather to one of Bach's sons, CPE Bach.

On Saturday the music moved to France: lunchtime at St Bega's featured Francois Couperin's famous organ work of 1689 Messe pour les couvents, with plainchant couplets from our male singers; and later in St John's Bassenthwaite, all of Ensemble Buxtehude, including a 5-part choir, performed Miserere mei by Charles-Hubert Gervais of the Chapelle royale, and Requiem by Jean Gilles of Toulouse Cathedral. This was first performed at Gilles' own funeral in 1705, and later at those of Rameau and Louis XV, no less!

An evening of Telemann

  • Ouverture-Suite
  • Missa Brevis in B minor
  • Chorale Prelude: Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele
  • Veni Sancte Spiritus
  • Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden
  • Chorale Prelude: Jesu, meine Freude
  • Laudate pueri
  • Sonata for Cello & Basso Continuo
  • Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt

Organ recital: Messe pour les Couvents, Francois Couperin



Baroque from France, north and south

  • Pour un reposoir, Charpentier
  • Miserere, Gervais
  • Requiem (Messe de morts), Gilles


2012 Programme

Bassenthwaite goes Italian!

For this year's Bassenthwaite Festival, the musicians of Cumbrian chamber group Ensemble Buxtehude prepared an imaginative and entertaining all-Italian programme, beginning with works from the early Baroque by Giovanni Gabrieli, Monteverdi and Carissimi, including his oratorio Jonah where singers enjoyed taking on various roles, including sailors, Ninevites, Jonah of course, even God! Sadly though, no singing Whale...

The Saturday lunchtime recital was devoted to the music of Vivaldi, and in the evening we had an evening concert of solo cantatas by Albinoni, Lotti and more, all about love and passion - what else?

The Birth of the Baroque

  •  Jubilate Deo, Giovanni Gabrieli
  • O magnum mysterium, Giovanni Gabrieli
  • Beata es Virgo, Giovanni Gabrieli
  • Toccata avanti la Messa della Domenica, Girolamo Frescobaldi
  • Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610), Claudio Monteverdi
    Hymn: Ave maris stella
    Psalm: Lauda Jerusalem
  • Dixit Dominus, Giacomo Carissimi
  • Jubilemus omnes et cantemus, Giacomo Carissimi
  • Toccata cromatica per le levatione, Girolamo Frescobaldi
  • Canzon post il commune, Girolamo Frescobaldi
  • Jonas, Giacomo Carissimi

Lunch with Antonio

  • Concerto in A minor for Two Violins and Orchestra (RV 522)
    Transcribed for organ solo by J.S. Bach (BWV 593)
  • Largo from Concerto in F minor 'Winter' for solo violin and orchestra (RV 297)
  • Tenero fanciuletto from La Gloria e Imeneo (RV 687)
  • Sonata in D minor for violin and continuo (Opus 2, No. 3)
  • Domine Deus & Qui sedes from Gloria (RV 589)
  • Concerto in G for Two Mandolins and Orchestra (RV 532)

An Italian Love Affair

  • Ecco, Silvio, colei che in odio hai tanto (Monteverdi)
  • Adagio from Concerto in D minor for oboe & orchestra (Marcello)
  • Senza il core del mio bene (Albinoni)
  • Dubbio affetto il cor mi strugge (Albinoni)
  • In lontananza della sua donna (Vinaccesi)
  • Filli, un solo tuo sguardo (Vinaccesi)
  • Sovra molle origliere (Albinoni)
  • Sonata VII in D for violin and continuo (Albinoni)
  • La Speranza (Caldara)
  • La vita caduca (in una siepe ombrosa) (Lotti)

2011 Programme

Another feast of Baroque music was held at the 2011 Bassenthwaite Festival. St John's was filled with the virtuosic creations of Czech composer Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745). He was held in high regard by J S Bach for his mastery of counterpoint, his daring harmonic twists and extensive use of syncopation. Bach and Buxtehude’s works took pride of place in Saturday’s concerts, together with motets by J S's cousin Johann Ludwig, Kirnberger, Krebs and Homilius.

Psalms and Lamentations of Zelenka

  • Lamentatio I zum Gründonnerstag, ZWV 53, No.1
  • Responsoria: In monte Oliveti, ZWV 55, No.1
  • Lamentatio II zum Gründonnerstag, ZWV 53, No.2
  • Responsoria: Tristis est anima mea, ZWV 55, No.2
  • Confitebor tibi Domine, ZWV 71
  • Beatus vir, ZWV 76
  • In exitu Israel, ZWV 84
  • Magnificat in C major, ZWV 107


Lunch with Dietrich

Organ and cello music by Buxtehude, plus a cantata for soprano solo, violin and continuo

  • Praeludium, Fuge & Ciaccona in C for Organ, BuxWV 137
  • Jubilate Domino for alto, viola da gamba & continuo, BuxWV 64
  • Passacaglia in E minor for organ, BuxWV 160
  • Sonata in D for viola da gamba & continuo, BuxWV
  • Singet dem Herr ein neues Lied for soprano, violin & continuo


Jesu, meine Freude: Motets from the German Baroque

  • Das ist meine Freude (JL Bach)
  • Gedenke meiner, mein Gott (JL Bach)
  • Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 654 (JS Bach)
  • Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 227 (JS Bach)
  • Kommt her und sehet an die Wunder Gottes (Homilius)
  • Herr, wenn Trübsal da ist (Homilius)
  • Ich freue mich im Herrn (Homilius)
  • Ach Herr, mich armen sünder (Krebs)
  • Erforsche mich, Gott (Krebs)
  • An den Flüssen Babylons (Kirnberger)
  • Trio in F major (Krebs)
  • Herr, lehre mich tun nach deinem Wohlgefallen (Homilius)
  • Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt (Homilius)

2010 Programme

A Family Affair

After the turmoil and hard reconstruction work following the dramatic floods in November, we took time for some TLC in the form of a weekend of music from one of the greatest musical dynasties of all time: the 2010 Bassenthwaite Festival of Baroque music was a family affair, featuring cantatas, motets, trio sonatas and concertos by various Bachs, and central to it all, the great Johann Sebastian.

Cantatas by the Lakeside

J S Bach cantatas for solo voices with string quartet

  • Das neugebor'ne Kindelein, BWV 122
  • Selig ist der Mann, BWV57
  • Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind, BWV 153
  • O heil'ges Geist- und Wasserbad, BWV 165
  • Der Friede sei mit dir, BWV 158
  • Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde, BWV 53
  • Der Herr denket an uns, BWV 196


Chamber music by J S Bach for violin, cello and continuo


Motets by three generations of Bachs

  • Komm, Jesu, komm! BWV 229 (J S Bach)
  • Sei nun wieder zufrieden, meine Seele (Johann Bach)
  • Chorale Preludes from the Neumeister Collection: (J M Bach)
  • Der du bist drei in Einigkeit
  • In dulci jubilo
  • Meine Seele erhebt den Herren
  • Sei, lieber Tag, willkommen
  • Furchtet euch nicht
  • Ehre sei Gott in der Hohe
  • Meine Seele erhebt den Herren BWV 733 (J S Bach)
  • Ich lasse dich nicht BWV159a (J S Bach)
  • Das Blut Jesu Christi (J L Bach)
  • Ich habe dich ein klein Augenblick verlassen (J L Bach)
  • Chorale Prelude: Ach Herr, mich armen Sunder (J C Bach)
  • Unsere Trubsal, die zeitlich und leicht ist (J L Bach)
  • Uns ist ein Kind geboren (J L Bach)
  • Chorale Prelude: Herzlich lieb hab ich dich O Herr BWV 1115 (J S Bach)
  • Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden BWV230 (J S Bach)


2009 Programme

Ensemble Buxtehude with Director David Gibbs presented three carefully crafted programmes of sumptuous and virtuosic works for various combinations of strings, organ, harpsichord, chorus and solo voices by the giants of 17th and 18th century western European music. Among them the great J S Bach, his contemporary Handel and two French predecessors: Francois Couperin, organist and composer to the Sun King and harpsichord virtuoso, and Marc-Antoine Charpentier, a master of sacred vocal music.

An evening with Handel (1685-1759)

  • O Praise the Lord (Chandos Anthem no. 9), HWV 25
  • Sonata No. 5 in F major for Violin and Continuo, HWV 369
  • Nisi Dominus, HWV 238
  • Organ Concerto No. 13 "The Cuckoo and the Nightingale", HWV 295
  • Dixit Dominus, HWV 232

Chamber music by Bach
for violin, cello and harpsichord/continuo

  • Suite No. 2 in D minor for solo Cello, BWV 1008
  • The Italian Concerto, BWV 971
  • Sonata No.2 in D major for Viola da gamba and Harpsichord, BWV 1028

French Baroque

  • Trois leçons de Ténèbres (François Couperin)
  • Sixième couplet de Gloria (from the Messe pour les paroisses)
  • Elévation (from the Messe pour les couvents)
  • Magnificat à 3 (Nicolas Clérambault)
  • Pièces en concert (François Couperin)
  • Le reniement de St Pierre (Charpentier)

2008 Programme

Das Jüngste Gericht

Wacht! Euch zum Streit gefasset macht, Dietrich Buxtehude


Recital by David Gibbs (organ)

with Patricia Rees-Jones, Darren Williams, Ian Wright and David Rees-Jones

  • Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott, BWV 651 (J S Bach)
  • Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 706, 730, 731 & 633 (J S Bach)
  • Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BuxWV 211 (Buxtehude)
  • Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659, 660, 661 (J S Bach)
  • Ich ruf dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 (J S Bach)
  • Allein Gott in der Höh sei Her, BWV 664 (J S Bach)
  • Valet will ich dir geben, BWV 736 (J S Bach)

Bach and Buxtehude

  • Nichts soll uns scheiden BuxWV 77 (Buxtehude)
  • Ach bleib' bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 6 (J S Bach)
  • Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo BWV 1021 (J S Bach)
  • Lobe den Herren, der Alles so herrlich regieret BWV 137 (J S Bach)
  • Salve Jesu, patris gnate unigenite BuxWV 94 (Buxtehude)
  • Cantate Domino BuxWV 12(Buxtehude)
  • Ich habe genug! after BWV 82(J S Bach)
  • Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid BWV 58(J S Bach)

2007 Programme

Sacred Cantatas with instrumental interludes

  • Befiehl dem Engel, dass er komm (Buxtehude)
  • Sinfonia from Cantata 76 (J S Bach)
  • Gott sei mir gnadig (Kuhnau)
  • Trio Sonata No 3 in D minor BWV527 (J S Bach)
  • Singet dem Herrn (Krieger)
  • Sinfonia from Cantata 21 (J S Bach)
  • Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir BWV131 (J S Bach)


Buxtehude Trio Sonatas

  • Trio Sonata in B flat Opus 2, No 1, BuxWV 259
  • Praeludium in F sharp minor, BuxWV 146
  • Trio Sonata in A Opus 2, No 5, BuxWV 263
  • Passacaglia, BuxWV 161
  • Trio Sonata in F Opus 2, No 7, BuxWV 265


Victoria Requiem Mass for 6 voices

  • Missa pro defunctis & settings for the office of the dead (Victoria)
  • Suite No 1 for Violoncello solo (1956) (Bloch)
  • Fantasia from Sonata for solo Violoncello (1955) (Crumb)
  • Suite No 3 for Violoncello Solo (1957) (Bloch)

2006 Programme

German and French Baroque

  • I was glad (Purcell)
  • Lord, how long wilt thou be angry? (Purcell)
  • Adagio in A minor, BWV 564ii (J S Bach)
  • Missa Brevis in A minor (Buxtehude)
  • Fuga, BuxWV 174 (Buxtehude)
  • Cantate Domino, BuxWV 12 (Buxtehude)
  • Pieces en concert (Francois Couperin)
  • Le reniement de St Pierre (Charpentier)


Bach for Violin, Cello and Keyboard

  • Two-part invention in C major
  • Partita in D minor for solo violin, BWV 1004
  • Prelude X in E minor, BWV 879 from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II
  • Suite No.6 in D major for solo cello, BWV 1012



  • Magnificat anima mea
  • Sonata in G, BuxWV 271
  • Also hat Gott die Welt geliebet, BuxWV 5
  • Membra Jesu Nostri, BuxWV 75