Faronel perform music from the late Medieval and Renaissance periods on a variety of period instruments, including recorder, crumhorn, cornamuse, rackett, kortholt, curtal, shawm, rebec, bagpipes, medieval fiddle, harp, hurdy gurdy, symphony, organ, harpsichord and percussion. We also include vocal music in our programmes, both a capella and with instruments.
Our repertoire includes works ranging from the 11th century through to consort music of the early 1600s. We edit much of the music ourselves, often consulting the original sources, and we pay particular attention to performance practice in order to make sure that we are getting as close as is reasonably possible (given the many uncertainties!) to the original instrumentation and character of the music.
In particular, we specialise in concerts that introduce audiences to early music with the aid of explanations of the instruments, the repertoire and the contexts of the music. We often find that concert-goers have previously found the prospect of early music (particularly the medieval repertoire) somewhat daunting, and they appreciate our entertaining and informative explanations: by demystifying the music we enable them to enjoy it with understanding and insight. We also usually invite the audience to talk to us and look at the instruments in the interval or afterwards if they wish – this means we normally don’t get much of a break in the concert, but we feel it’s worth it to meet people and answer their questions!
We have given concerts at numerous music festivals, churches, halls, schools and private venues, and we have also recorded for BBC radio. See the page about our music for a description of our current programmes – and we are always happy to discuss ideas for new ones.
David Force. David read music as an organ scholar at the University of Durham; he subsequently gained an MA with distinction in musicology and a PhD in English domestic music of the 17th century. David is Director of Music at Saint Ronan’s School in Kent, and a Visiting Fellow in music at the Open University. He has written many journal articles on topics relating to 17th century music and is currently preparing a book on the history and performance practice of the consort organ.
Ruth Force. Ruth was a choral scholar at the University of Durham and is now headteacher of a primary school in Sussex. A winner of the prestigious Bernarr Rainbow Award for her research in music education, she has been involved in developing the National Foundation for Youth Music’s work in primary schools. An experienced solo singer, she has also co-written and directed several children’s music theatre projects.
Michael Withers. Michael is a multi-instrumentalist and an experienced conductor, musical arranger and editor. His specialist area of research is English opera of the 17th and 18th centuries, in which field he has produced a number of performing editions of the works of Purcell’s contemporaries. Michael combines a career as a medical writer and web designer with a number of musical activities; he is a member of the Sussex Waits, conducts the Band of the Surrey Yeomanry, and is musical director of Heber Opera.