Having celebrated its 30th birthday in 2012, His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts continues in the same spirit as always: aiming to bring the sound of its noble instruments, through pan-European repertoire from the 16th and 17th centuries to the 21st century, attracting new audiences via recordings, radio, television and (best of the lot!) live performance.
The group’s illustrious-sounding name is taken from Matthew Locke’s “five-part tthings for His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts” that were probably played during the coronation celebrations for King Charles II in 1661. Essentially a recital group comprising three cornetts, three sackbutts and chamber organ / harpsichord, HMSC often joins with singers and string players, and is frequently asked to take part in projects with choirs: Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Monteverdi Choir, the BBC Singers, Ex Cathedra, the choirs of Trinity, King’s and St John’s Colleges, Cambridge, as well as those of Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s and Westminster Cathedrals, London.
Activities over the group’s thirty year history have been diverse, including appearances in the Salzburg Festival, St. Mark’s, Venice, the Sydney Opera House and at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall.