A SPRING Festival will take place thanks to Blackdowns Early Music Projects (BEMP).

Between May 19 and June 9, there will be four contrasting concerts in Somerset.

On May 19, at the Church of St John the Baptist in Wellington, BEMP will present a programme called Felix Austriae (Happy Austria) – Vienna & the Sound of Habsburg Power. The patronage of the Viennese Habsburg court enabled generations of musicians to flourish.

Gawain Glenton will direct the programme and he is a highly versatile musician, a specialist cornetto player whose work takes him all over the world. He is increasingly in demand as a coach for both singers and instrumentalists.

Two recitals are next, both at All Saints Church in Culmstock, a perfect venue for chamber music.

At 6.30pm on May 24, Lynda Sayce will play and demonstrate members of the lute family, using a millennium’s worth of music with ten contrasting lutes, ranging from an Arabic oud to a two metre theorbo.

Lynda is one of Britain’s leading lutenists and performs regularly with leading period instrument ensembles worldwide.

Somerset County Gazette:

At 8 pm on May 25, Lynda joins fellow members of the group Newe Vialles (Caroline Ritchie and Henrik Persson) to play a programme of dazzling music for two viola da gambas and theorbo.

This group gave an absolutely thrilling performance of French music for viols last May, they return to take the story further with music by Louis de Caix d’Hervelois, Roland Marais, Jean de Sainte-Colombe and Antoine Forqueray.

BEMP’s Spring Festival closes with their Principal Musical Director, JanJoost van Elburg, directing The Bartholomew Consort of Oxford on June 9 at 6.45pm in Wellington School Chapel, South Street.

The programme is entitled Komm, Heiliger Geist and includes music by Johann Walter and a succession of his pupils and their relatives – all by name of Bach!

Tickets cost £15.

To book or find out more please visit www.blackdownsearlymusic.co.uk or email blackdownsearlymusic@gmail.com.