Season 2022-23 Final Concert: Tuesday June 6th 2023 Theatre by the Lake – Review by Steve Matthews of Measure for Measure – the Music of Shakespeare’s Time performed by PIVA, The Renaissance Collective.

“Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!” cries King Lear in the storm on the heath, and the wind players of PIVA certainly blew with very swollen cheeks to create the sounds of Shakespeare’s theatre. Keswick Music Society‘s concert at Theatre by the Lake on Tuesday evening attracted a large and enthusiastic audience for the music of Renaissance England.
We entered another musical world, a world of shawms and curtals, crumhorns, cornetts and viols and English bagpipes and recorders in sizes you’d never seen before. There were six players and over forty instruments scattered across the green baize of a long table with recorders and pipes standing in groups like little copses all ready to make their contribution to the rhythmic, noisy and very musical entertainment.

This, as Jane Moulder told us, was Measure for Measure, the rumbustious world of Shakepeare’s time filled with the energy of music making. Three thousand rowdy people jostled together in the confines of the Globe Theatre – a penny standing, two pence seated and three-pence cushioned for the five hour duration of the play.

Keswick Theatre was almost as packed but the audience were far less rowdy. They were absorbed and fascinated by the sound. David Jarrett-Knock began the arresting opening fanfare on his natural trumpet which led into a spirited round of Pavanes and Galliards and Almaynes. This was the music of both the court and the street. It reached its high point with the sprightly Jude Rees and the sweet-voiced Mary Mohan selling their Fine Knacks for Ladies.

After invoking and imbibing Bacco Bacco at the interval as instructed, we were treated to the windy Earl of Oxford’s March and the lively, legal entertainments of Gray’s Inn before William Kemp’s jig as he danced his way from London to Norwich. This was followed by a prancing Moresco, a Gagliarda and a Zoppa among others.

Three of the members of PIVA, Eric Moulder, his wife, Jane, and Tony Millyard, make period instruments and their absorption in this music, their delight, enthusiasm and scholarship, their love for this music was transmitted to the audience.

And did they crack their cheeks? No. The concert ended with these winds blowing even more lustily and robustly than they had done in that first fanfare.