Historic music night is not for faint hearted

Mr Simpon's Little Consort - right to left - Cate McKee (singer), Piers Snell (viol), Sue Snell (viol and voice flute), and Phoebe Butler (voice flute)

Mr Simpon's Little Consort - right to left - Cate McKee (singer), Piers Snell (viol), Sue Snell (viol and voice flute), and Phoebe Butler (voice flute)

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The salacious private life of Samuel Pepys will form the backdrop for a performance by Mr Simpson’s Little Consort at the Old Gaol in Buckingham next month.

Pepys served as a naval administrator and member of parliament, but is most remembered for his diaries which gave a unique insight into the period.

At 8pm on Saturday, May 11, John Alexander from Wingrave, familiar to local musicians as a choral conductor, will assume the role of the diarist to present a selection of readings, accompanied by the consort in the show entitled Ayres and Graces.

Musician Piers Snell said his wife Sue came up with the idea after downloading the diaries for free from the internet. The consort specialises in 17th century music and the instruments of the period including viols, voice flutes and theorbos.

Mr Snell said: “Our first love is music of that period and those instruments are fundamental, just as violins are fundamental to the music of the 19th and 20th centuries.

“As far at Pepys would be concerned a theorbo would have been a completely normal thing and as soon as Sue read the diaries, the thought crossed her mind, this fits us like a glove.”

Mrs Snell said: “Far from being a dry record of historical events, Pepys chronicles his day to day life through the restoration, plague and great fire, in shorthand with no holds barred when it comes to his many extra-marital affairs.

“Pepys was a passionate musician; he composed, sang and played the lute, theorbo, viol and keyboard.

“The readings are salacious and often profane, therefore unsuitable for children or those with the vapours!”

The number of seats is limited and booking is advisable. Tickets cost £12 and can be reserved over the phone on 01908 501942, or via email sue@pierssnell.force9.co.uk.