English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble

Gawain Glenton - cornett
Sam Goble - cornett
Emily White - sackbut
Tom Lees - sackbut
Adrian France - bass sackbut
Andrew Harwood-White - bass sackbut
Robert Howarth - organ

The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble is a virtuoso period instrument ensemble at the forefront of the early music scene.

Since its formation in 1993, ECSE has performed at many major music festivals in the UK and abroad including the Bath International Festival, Spitalfields Festival, La Folle Journée, Grundton D, International Izmir Festival, as well as sell-out concerts at London's Wigmore Hall, St John's Smith Square and the Purcell Room. ECSE has toured France, Canada (2001 and 2008) and Israel twice (with assistance from the British Council). In 2011 ECSE visited Turkey and Florence with the renowned solo-voice ensemble I Fagiolini, as well as perfoming music from Monteverdi's Selva Morale with Cantus Cölln in a concert celebrating the re-opening of the gothic cathedral in Trier, Germany.

Following the success of its debut CD Accendo (2001) (which achieved three 5-star awards) ECSE has been involved in many quality recordings, including The Madrigal in Venice, a large-scale recording of Andrea Gabrieli's madrigals with I Fagiolini, described as 'one of the most enthralling madrigal anthologies on the market'. Its discography also includes a world premiere of Francesco Scarlatti's 'Miserere' with Emma Kirkby and the Armonico Consort, a critically acclaimed Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 and a CD of music by the Flemish composer Philippe Rogier with the choir of King's College London.

In 2012 ECSE gave solo recitals at the York Early Music Festival and at Dartington International Summer School and released a trio of brand new recordings: Byrd's Great Service with Musica Contexta (Chandos), Philips double-choir motets with the choir of Royal Holloway (Hyperion) and the follow-up to the Striggio disc, 1612 Italian Vespers with Robert Hollingworth and I Fagiolini (Decca) which was performed at this years BBC Proms.

The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble regularly accompanies leading professional chamber choirs and ensembles, including I Fagiolini, Cantus Cölln, The Monteverdi String Band, The Dunedin Consort, Trinity Baroque and the Armonico Consort. They have also performed joint vocal and instrumental programmes with choral societies throughout Britain, including many performances of Claudio Monteverdi's magnificent 1610 Vespers.

In addition to their work with ECSE, our members perform individually with some of the worlds leading period instruments groups such as l'Arpeggiata, The Taverner Consort, Concerto Palatino, The Gabrieli Consort & Players, The English Baroque Soloists, The King's Consort, Ensemble La Fenice, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Tafelmusik, as well as providing music for the plays at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on London's Bankside.

English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble

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  • “The whole ensemble seemed to float like those gravity-defying consorts of angels one sees in medieval religious paintings - their combined impact was like a cast of thousands.”
    The Scotsman
  • “...sackbuts provided a wonderfully sonorous and lyrical foundation...cornettists excelled at moulding the melodic line and adding unobtrusive ornamentation...an excellent concert by an impressive group.”
    Early Music Review
  • “...played with disarming ease ... The Ensemble lifts this music to an intensely expressive level with taut intonation throughout and thoughtful ebb and flow of contrapuntal lines.”
    BBC Music Magazine
  • 1612 Italian Vespers
    1612 Italian Vespers
    Robert Hollingworth directs poly-choral Vespers music by Viadana, Monteverdi and Gabrieli in a rich mixture of voices and instruments.
  • Byrd: The Great Service in the Royal Chapel
    Byrd: The Great Service in the Royal Chapel
    William Byrd's sacred masterpiece is recorded for the first time using cornetts and sackbuts alongside voices, transporting the listener back to the sound-world of Elizabethan England.
  • Le Divin Arcadelt
    Le Divin Arcadelt
    ECSE's first collaboration with Musica Contexta includes music by Arcadelt, de Silva and Palestrina, taking the listener on a musical journey to Rome on a February day, at the end of the 16th Century.
  • Alessandro Striggio: Mass in 40 Parts
    Alessandro Striggio: Mass in 40 Parts
    ECSE is a featured ensemble on this epic World Premiere recording with I Fagiolini, directed by Robert Hollingworth.