Mr Simpson’s Little Consort love discovering the interesting bits of social history and creating performances of historically informed music with readings.   Our series of literary-musical performances are premiered each January at  “Stony Words”, our local literary festival.

220px-Christopher_SimpsonWhere does the name come from?

Christopher Simpson was a virtuoso viol player of the 17th century, and wrote a treatise on how to play the viol published in 1665 called “The division viol”.  Mr Simpson was the son of a theatre company owner, spent some time fighting in the army during the Civil Wars before becoming music tutor to the young Sir John Bolles where he composed some impressively virtuosic duets for bass viols which make a frequent appearance in our programmes.  Christopher Simpson also composed a piece of music called the “Little Consort”, which is known as “Mr Simpson’s Little Consort”….hence the name!


What sort of music do we play?

We try to explore repertoire relevant to the readings so our music will range from Josquin to Purcell.  Our wonderful singer, Cate, has a particular penchant for Purcell.  We are all viol players and try to represent that instrument in its many guises so will share the lovely consort music of, for example, Anthony Holborne, as well as carefully retuning to perform duets Lyra way, or feeling the pressure of performing the virtuosic duet divisions of Simpson or Jenkins.   We do like to talk to engage with our audiences and talk about the music and instruments we are playing.

Holborne Pavan and Galliard 37/38

Purcell – Strike the viol (Cate McKee)

Coperario – Fortune and glory

Telemann – Seele lerne dich erkennen

Coperario – When pale famine

Purcell – Charon the peaceful

Cima – sonata (Lucy playing violin)


Previous performances include:

  • St John’s Smith Square

Elizabethan Christmas consort songs, voice and viols

Le Style Francais

  • Aylesbury Festival at Claydon House:  

Music on the death of Prince Henry, 1612

Le Style Français – Charpentier, Couperin, Marais, Purcell

  • Wycombe Festival:  

Ayres and Graces;  an evening in the company of  Samuel Pepys

Fire! 350    On the anniversary of the Great Fire and Plague

Shakespeare:  readings and music for Shakespeare 400

  • Tilford Bach Society:

Le Style Francais   (The Eisenach Ensemble, our sister group)

Fathers of the Baroque  (The Eisenach Ensemble)

  • East Anglian Academy:  

Bach, Telemann and friends

Le Style Francais

  • Portsmouth music club: 

Ayres and graces: an evening in the company of Samuel Pepys

  • Finedon, St. Mary’s Church

Modern premiere of Croft anthem, inauguration of restored 1704 organ

Choral evensong

  • St Matthew’s Church, Northampton

Ye Sacred Muses, with Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor and the choir of St Matthew’s

  • The Organ Society
Music for viols and organ
 Stony Words:

Ayres and Graces:  an evening in the company of Samuel Pepys

Captain Hume’s Poeticall Musicke

Fire 350!

Shakespeare:  music and readings for Shakespeare 400

Cupid and the King:  the Kings’ Courtesans

An Elizabethan winter’s tale (2018)

  • Eyam Parish Church: 

The Plague and the fire.  Words and music for Eyam (350th anniversary 2016)

  • The Old Gaol:

Cupid and the King (2017)

Ayres and Graces: an evening in the company of Samuel Pepys

  • Buxton Festival Fringe 2017:
Cupid and the King – Award winners
  • Chantry Chapel, Buckingham (N.T.)

An Elizabethan winter’s tale (2017)

  • Westbury Arts Centre

A thousand twangling instruments.  A special programme for Heritage weekend

An Elizabethan winter’s tale (2017)

Purcell’s Sweet Torment












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