untune the sky began in February 2017 with a performance of Buxtehude's Lenten cantata cycle Membra Jesu Nostri alongside music by Bach and Kuhnau. The ensemble has gone on to perform in a variety of other styles and locations, featuring music from the 15th to 21st Centuries in venues including the cathedrals of Oxford, Bristol, and Clifton.
Made up of an ever-shifting group of musicians, our general purpose could be summed up as "interesting music, done interestingly". Our diverse range of programming reflects the wide-ranging interests of the members of the ensemble, and our programmes are developed collaboratively and organically. More than anything, we believe that live performance has a special quality that recording cannot quite capture. Through the joy of engaging, dramatic performances, we hope to introduce audiences to music that they've never heard before and leave at the end of a performance loving it like an old friend.
The ensemble's name is taken from the last stanza of John Dryden's poem "A Song for St Cecilia's Day, 1687",
As from the pow'r of sacred laysThe spheres began to move,And sung the great Creator's praiseTo all the bless'd above;So when the last and dreadful hourThis crumbling pageant shall devour,The trumpet shall be heard on high,The dead shall live, the living die,And music shall untune the sky.
reflecting the fact that the powerful relationships between music and language lie at the heart of our artistic vision.