Handel at Lammermuir Festival

Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (1707) is a young Handel’s brilliant take on the timeless tale of the fleeting nature of Beauty. Pursued by Time, she turns away from ephemeral Pleasure towards Enlightenment. Il Trionfo contains music of irresistible invention, daring virtuosity and technicolour brilliance.

This is also is a landmark in baroque music. It is the first of Handel’s oratorios, showcasing the astonishing flowering of his genius in Italy in his early twenties. At the first performance, Corelli led the orchestra.  It was a touchstone for Handel, who would later mine Il Trionfo for many of his Italian operas, notably ‘Lascia la spina’ (‘Leave the thorn, gather the rose’) – later reborn as ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’. The final movement  – a duet for Beauty (soprano) and violin – remains one of the most exquisitely ravishing things he wrote.

St John at the PROMS

The climax of the Proms Reformation Day is a complete performance of Bach’s St John Passion.

‘More daring, forceful and poetic’ than the St Matthew Passion, according to Schumann, this is a work of almost operatic vividness that brings both a humanity and a painful immediacy to the Passion narrative.

Bach specialist John Butt and his Dunedin Consort make their Proms debut in a performance that offers the audience the chance to join in the chorale-singing, reflecting how the work might originally have been heard in a church setting.

This concert will be broadcast live on BBC.

Seeds of Venice – Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh’s own Dunedin Consort, under scholar and charismatic director John Butt, is fast becoming one of the UK’s most respected early music groups, renowned for its vivid, passionate performances that crackle with energy.

They bring a sense of enormous excitement to the launch of the 2017 Queen’s Hall concerts – with the modern-day premiere of a recently rediscovered work by Claudio Monteverdi and Heinrich Schütz.

Combattimento is German composer Schütz’s transcription of Monteverdi’s bewitching Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, a remarkably expressive mini-opera in which a Christian knight from the Crusades mistakenly kills the Saracen woman he loves.

Joined by two masterful young soloists, Butt and the Dunedin players pair this electrifying new discovery with scintillating gems by Monteverdi, Schütz and Buxtehude.

This concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3