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The Parley of Instruments


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The Parley of Instruments takes its name from some of the earliest public concerts in the world, given in London in 1676 by the violinist John Banister. The core group consists of Judy Tarling and Theresa Caudle (violins), Mark Caudle (bass viol, cello and bass violin) and Peter Holman (harpsichord and chamber organ).

The Parley was founded in 1979 to play the rich repertory of Renaissance and Baroque string consort music, and it subsequently created the first Renaissance violin consort in modern times. With light internal construction, plain gut strings and short bows, Renaissance violins produce a more blended, viol-like sound than the more familiar Baroque models. The Parley now offers a complete orchestral Renaissance violin band, suitable for the music of Praetorius, Monteverdi, Lully, Biber, Purcell and many others.

The Parley’s trail-blazing work in English eighteenth-century music has led to the formation of a Baroque and Classical orchestra, and to collaborations with famous soloists such as Catherine Bott, Michael Chance, Ian Patridge, Stephen Varcoe, Crispian Steele-Perkins, Elizabeth Wallfisch and Paul O’Dette. In 1996 the Parley moved into the nineteenth-century with performances and recordings of English parish church music in the ‘gallery’ tradition with the choir Psalmody.

The Parley tours regularly in Britain and abroad and has made over 60 broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and numerous critically acclaimed recordings for Hyperion Records. Peter Holman is an acknowledged authority on the early violin and its music and the group has given hundreds of first modern performances of pieces edited by him.

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