His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts is a group of virtuoso wind players who specialise in playing early music in authentic 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. In it's heyday the cornett was the undisputed king of wind instruments. Blown like a trumpet but fingered like a recorder, it is capable of both astonishing virtuosity and heart-rending vocal expression. In 1636 one writer compared it's sound in a church to 'a ray of sunshine piercing the shadows'. The sackbut is the direct forerunner of the modern trombone - indeed the Italians already called it trombone, or 'large trumpet' - but perfectly matches the vocal timbre of the cornett, thanks to it's relatively narrow bore and shallow mouthpiece. Despite it's slide mechanism, early composers often wrote for it in an amazingly florid manner. Our basic ensemble consists of two cornetts and three sackbuts with chamber organ (usually also doubling on harpsichord). This core line-up expands - or, occasionally, contracts - according to the requirements of the wide range of colourful programmes that we now perform. An A-Z for His Majestys... His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts has played at, for, in, on or with all of the following. And many more... Athens, BBC radio, tv & Proms, Canterbury Cathedral, Deutsche Gramophon, Edinburgh, Festspielhaus Salzburg, Granada, Hong Kong, Israel, John Eliot Gardiner, King's College Cambridge, Lufthansa Festival London, Melbourne, Nigel Rogers, Oslo, Paris to Perth, Queen's University Belfast, Roger Norrington, Sydney Opera House, Taipei, Utrecht Early Music Festival, Venice St Mark's, Westminster Abbey, EX Cathedra, York, Zaragoza A Little History... The original incarnation of His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts was founded in 1516, and for almost three centuries was the jewel in the crown of the English royal musical establishment. Some of the superb pieces written for this famous ensemble - including Matthew Locke's celebrated music 'For His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts' - can be heard in HMSC's concert and CD programme of the same name. The modern reincarnation of His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts was formed in 1982 and quickly established itself as the leading ensemble of it's kind. The group was immediately in demand with festivals and concert societies throughout the British Isles and in continental Europe. HMSC subsequently toured Australia and South-East Asia and to date has performed in more than a dozen European countries. The group has appeared on television and video, has broadcast live on radio, and has 15 recordings to it's credit. The group this year is launching it's own record label - sfz, and will be issuing two new discs early in 2007. HMSC is also ensemble in residence at the Royal College of Music, London.