There’s not much to envy – even among the rich – about life in medieval Europe where plagues and violent death were commonplace. But, as historical ensemble Blondel showed at St Luke’s, Charlton, the music was fantastic.
Using drums, recorders, shawms, gittern, fiddle and bagpipes, the quartet of Belinda Paul, Emily Baines, Lizzie Gutteridge and Arngeir Hauksson gave us a one-hour recital of songs popular in the royal courts of Spain in the late 1400s.
Many of the tunes were from the Iberian peninsula itself. But there were also tunes from the Low Countries and from England.  To my ear, one of all music’s finest noises is the haunting tone of a shawm. The only thing better is medieval pipes – and there were three sets giving it their all during this fabulous, if eccentric, little concert in this fabulous, if eccentric, little church. The Royal Greenwich International Early Music Festival returns to Blackheath Halls a mile away in November. This was a great taster for it. 


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