All the Kings' Men
Suite in d minor John Jenkins (1592–1678)
Dances a3 in C Major
Fantasia a4 No 5
Charles I was King of England from 1625 until his execution in 1649. After the Wars of The Three Kingdoms there followed an interregnum, until the period known as The Restoration, which began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II.
John Cooper (who later became Giovanni Coperario) was a composer, viol player and lutenist who served the Prince of Wales from 1622, and for whom he continued to work when he ascended the throne as Charles I. Coperario taught William Lawes, and presumably also knew John Jenkins, the earliest record of whom is amongst the musicians who performed the masque The Triumph of Peace at court in 1634. After the Restoration Jenkins worked as a musician to the royal court, and played the lyra viol for Charles II.
Lawes was apprenticed to John Cooper, and as a result must surely have come to the attention of the Prince of Wales, because when Charles became King, Lawes was appointed to the royal court, where he remained for the rest of his life. He fought in the King’s army in the Civil War, and died in the siege of Chester.
Matthew Locke was Composer in Ordinary to Charles II, and organist of the chapel of Her Majesty Catherine of Braganza, Charles II’s Portuguese wife. Locke also served King Charles as Composer of the Wind Music, an Composer for the Violins, in which post he was succeeded by Henry Purcell. Purcell was also organist of the Chapel Royal, and simultaneously at Westminster Abbey.
Chelys was established in 2007 and in the same year successfully auditioned for the Brighton Early Music Festival’s Young Artist Scheme, BrEMF Live! The founder members trained at Trinity College of Music, London, and all are now experienced and enthusiastic players and teachers. The word 'Chelys' is derived from the ancient Greeks and referred to a bowed lyre, said to have been invented by the god Hermes. It was also used by the great English violist and theorist Christopher Simpson, on the title page of his treatise 'The Division Viol' in 1665.
In March 2013, Chelys began a series of recitals in each of London’s Hawksmoor churches, with a diversity of programmes ranging from consort songs to the rather more unusual line-up of four 7-string basses. Chelys play both on their own with 4-part instrumental programmes and also frequently with singers, particulalr highlights of this year's schedule being two pieces composed newly for them, one a Nunc Dimittis with vocal quartet, and the other an 8-part setting of the Latin text of Zadok the Priest with chamber choir. Another exciting forthcoming project is the recording of Christopher Simpson's Airs for 2 trebles and 2 basses, which takes place in Cambridge in July, with Dan Tidhar on chamber organ.
The members of Chelys are active in the wider Early Music world, playing with leading ensembles such as the Rose Consort of Viols, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Charivari Agréable. They teach on courses around the UK and abroad, including the Benslow Trust, NORVIS, the Irish Recorder and Viol Summer School and the Easter Early Music Course in Ascot.