tempus fugit : time flies
By 1780, the East India Company had transformed Calcutta into a small English city. Musicians travelled from London to India, bringing the music of Corelli and Handel with them. Others played their harpsichords with local groups of Indian classical musicians, and transcribed Indian music into European notation.
Explore music from the streets and soirées of a young Calcutta, where performers wound melodies from many cultures into their own traditions. Ensemble Tempus Fugit melds this unusual combination of period music and Indian song with shadow puppetry, dance and drama to tell a story of a traveller making his way to the musical heart of the City of Palaces.
Repertoire includes music by Playford, Purcell, and Locke; music for sitar and voice; period transcriptions of Hindustani and Bengali songs.
Randall Scotting, counter-tenor
Debipriya Sircar, Indian classical vocalist
Jamie Akers, lutes
Sophie Creaner, early winds
Lucia Capellaro, viola da gamba
Ellen Bundy, Baroque violin
Katie De La Matter, harpsichord & creative direction
and Jasdeep Degun, sitar
Zulaiha Sheikh (DSM), Saiful Islam,
and Jabari Ngozi (Asst. Director), actors & movement
Puppets by Emily Dyble, Lori Hopkins & Amy Rowe
Design by George Chaffey
Stage direction by Francesca Bridge-Cicic
Our successful 2018 tour reached audiences in London’s Tara Arts & a sold-out Wilton’s Music Hall, Brighton’s Refugee Week & Leeds’ 2018 Opera Festival !
For future dates, watch this space…
the calcutta revival tour: origins
Questions like these led us to make Calcutta, a unique theatrical show exploring period crossover between European Baroque & Indian Classical musicians in the 18th century.
After years of preparation, we revived and reinvented this show for a tour: we took an amazing cast and band to perform at the Brighton Early Music Festival on 5 November 2017, did a successful run at Tara Arts, a multicultural theatre in London, in April 2018, and took part in Brighton Refugee Week on 21 June!
August brought a sold-out show in Wilton's Music Hall, followed by a debut at Leeds 2018 Opera Festival.
We couldn't have done it without your support!
what's the history behind the project?
We created Calcutta for the Brighton Early Music Festival's 'BREMF Live Scheme'. Our research led us to a group of wives of East India Company officers in the 18th century: one, Margaret Fowkes, invited local Indian classical musicians into her front room to jam. Another, Sophia Plowden, asked a European musician friend to write down some Indian tunes they played.
This should not have worked. European and Indian Classical music are totally different musical languages. And yet it did.
That caught our imaginations. We were inspired by this early crossover between musicians, who - for a moment - were exploring one another's traditions with an equal curiosity, despite the colonial context.
So we created a story of a journey, to link all the different music together. We brought in puppeteers to help us travel over the sea. And we wove it through with our experiments with these jam session tunes, as well as crossover in the other direction (the song in our video is a British folksong set in Sanskrit in the late 18th century!)
We won sponsorship from the Arts Council in 2009, and the end result was two beautiful sold-out evenings, including one in the vast ornate space of St. Bartholomew's Church in Brighton. We were really excited to be booked there again, as well as in Tara Arts, which puts on outstanding multicultural theatre in west London.
why a revival?
We've also just incorporated, and are ready with more innovative concerts up our sleeves. This project is a launchpad for so much more.
in the pipeline...
In eighteenth-century Germany, the musical key a piece was written in could spark all kinds of emotions. Johann Mattheson, a friend of Handel, described keys full of ‘desperate, fatal sadness’, or ‘like someone gorgeous wandering through the room’.
Unlocking the language of German Baroque music
The acclaimed 4160Tuesdays joins Ensemble Tempus Fugit to use scents inspired by Mattheson’s descriptions to colour the keys of chamber music by Bach, Telemann, and others.
Explore your own responses to the deepened dimensions of scented music, all performed on period instruments.
Repertoire includes trio and solo sonatas by Telemann, Handel, Bertouch, Fasch & Bach
Persephone Gibbs, violin
George Clifford, violin
Katie De La Matter, harpsichord
Jonny Byers, cello
Francesca Bridge-Cicic & Lina Pettersson, dance
Featuring perfumes by Sarah McCartney of 4160Tuesdays
Shooting the Breeze
Not one to fall out of touch, Telemann kept up with his old school chum Fasch, his godson C.P.E Bach, and traded letters and presents with Handel throughout his life: listen in as all four correspondents finally meet in a concert of rarely-performed music for winds from Handel’s distant homeland.
Fenton House, London — SOLD OUT
& St. Michael's Battersea
Shall we Dance?
A cosmopolitan collection of the music, songs, and dances found in the courts and homes of seventeenth-century England, all underpinning the story of a mod prince and his court of rocker musicians.
Arbeau: Belle qui tiens ma vie
Locke: Suite from Musick for Severall Friends
Campion: ‘Beauty since you so much desire,’ ‘Come you pretty false-ey’d wanton’
Praetorius: Branle de la Torche
Caroso: Cascarda chiara stella
Purcell: ‘Take not a woman’s anger ill’
Playford: ‘Mr. Beveridge’s Ground,’ ‘Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot,’ ‘Emperor of the Moon,’ and an Irish adaptation of ‘Stingo’