News from HMSC

40th Anniversary Concert

We are celebrating 40 years of HMSC on Sunday 7th May 2023 at the Holywell Music Room in Oxford at 8pm. Tickets are available here until Friday 5th May, then on the door from 7pm on Sunday 7th. We are looking forward to seeing friends old and new!

In Chains of Gold Volume 3

We are starting our preparations for the recording of our sequel to the very well received "In Chains of Gold" series. As with the previous productions we can not  succeed without the generous contributions of our sponsors. Please donate




In Chains of Gold, Volume 1: the complete consort anthems of Orlando Gibbons, was released in November 2017 and voted ‘Critic’s Choice’ for 2017 in Gramophone Magazine:

This is the finest recording of this quintessentially English music that we are likely to have, and I urge everyone to start collecting these volumes as they appear over the coming years ... a real treat (Early Music Review, February 2018)

In Chains of Gold, Volume 2: William Byrd to Edmund Hooper: Psalms and Royal Anthems was released in June 2020 to similarly wide acclaim:

This is music-making of the highest calibre, steeped in emotional intelligence and affective balance (Gramophone, September 2020) a really fascinating programme ... a very, very special recording (Radio 3 Record Review, June 2020)

This ongoing project brings together three highly distinguished ensembles: Magdalena Consort, Fretwork and His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts. The time that has passed since the release of our second CD has been bleak for all of us, not least for musicians, and has prevented us until now from continuing our work. But, by way of compensation, we now find ourselves in a rich seam of full and ‘half’ centenaries, celebrating some of the greatest composers who contributed to the wonderful and uniquely English idiom of the verse anthem. William Byrd and the hitherto little known Edmund Hooper, featured in our last CD, died in 1623 and 1621 respectively. Orlando Gibbons, to which our first was devoted, died in 1625. Thomas Tomkins, the towering figure from whom we have not yet heard, was born in 1572 (and, in double qualification, published his great collection of madrigals in 1622). This third CD will contain two huge verse anthems by him, both partially incomplete. Know you not, was written for the funeral of Prince Henry in 1612 (making 2022 therefore the 410th anniversary!), an event of national catastrophe that inspired countless artistic outpourings of lamentation, of which this is surely the most magnificent. The other work, O God the heathen are come into thine inheritance, is the longest in the verse idiom so far unearthed, a strikingly emotional reaction to the horror and disruption of natural order wrought by the Civil War. It survives only in reduced manuscript parts and has been brought to life in a vituosic feat of reconstruction by John Milsom. Both are highly rhetorical and dramatic, revealing the true soul and purpose of the verse anthem form, that places it arguably amongst the finest artistic products of the English Reformation. Alongside these Tomkins masterpieces are several anthems on a more domestic scale such as John Amner’s poignant Consider all ye passers by, Richard Nicholson’s When Jesus sat at meat and fine works by many composers that have remained unheard since the 17th century .

The major fund-raising campaign that made our first two recordings possible needs now to be repeated. Projects such as this, of real cultural importance but out of the classical mainstream, can only be made with the help of private donations, if the music is to be performed by the best available singers and players. The cost will be in the region of £50,000. If you feel inspired to help us, we would love to hear from you at the address shown below. We shall be posting updates about the progress of our campaign on our project website and in social media. All donations can be made through the registered charity His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts and Gift Aid donation forms are available. Thank you very much for your interest!

Facebook: Orlando Gibbons Project Twitter: gibbons_project

Bill Hunt, The Gibbons Project, 16 Teddington Park Road, Teddington,
Middx TW11 8ND

(07717 474263, 


'HMSC: They're unbelievable!'

Audience member, USA


'If there was any question that HMSC is the pre-eminent early brass group, that question should have been laid to rest. It was like watching one brain in 8 bodies! Very impressive.'

Audience member, Berkeley


'The qualities of His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts have been established for many years, particularly in relation to sound-quality and agility in the improvised ornamentations. The ensemble generates a real sensation of splendour'
Early Music

About HMSC

His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts is a group of virtuoso wind players who specialise in playing Renaissance and Baroque music in historically appropriate styles on original instruments.


The noble sound of cornetts and sackbuts was among the most versatile instrumental colours available to composers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It was heard in many musical contexts: in consort or in alternation with voices in the extravagant liturgy of the great Italian and Spanish churches - above all the Basilica of St Mark's in Venice; in aristocratic entertainments such as the intermedii of northern Italy or the masques of Jacobean England; and in the ceremonial and devotional music for the courts and free cities of Lutheran Germany.


Where to find us

HMSC Ltd & SFZ Music 

2 Whitworth Road

London, SE25 6XN

United Kingdom


Phone: +44(0)1444 441 837


General Manager: Stephen Saunders


Registered charity no. 1114376

Trading as His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts

Registered in England and Wales 5792198







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