Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Belmont Ensemble of London – Peter G. Dyson, conductor. January 18, 2008.

Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London. Seat N9 (GP 18).


Mozart – Eine kleine Nachtmusik

Vivaldi – Spring from Four Seasons

Pachelbel – Canon

Mozart – Salzburg Symphony No. 3

Handel – Arrival of the Queen of Sheba

Vivaldi - Sinfonia 'Alla Rustica'

Purcell – 'Abdelazer' Suuite

Purcell - Chaconne

This is a very interesting church. It has been around for a very long time, and is well known for an orchestra (Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields). After several visits to London, I found out it also has a strong social program for the homeless (helps 6000 or so a year), and it holds both a Mandarin and a Cantonese service every week.

Today's program consisted of 10 pieces, some very short. A program would cost GP1.50. Again as a matter of principle I didn't buy one. The lighting was dim, so I couldn't quite make out the copy of the person sitting in front of me. I know some of the pieces (like Vivaldi's Four Seasons) but by-and-large was a bit lost. I continue to think the artists should protest this practice as many would not know who they are.

In any case, this was a so-so performance. There are about 10 plays plus a conductor. Some pieces called for a quartet, and the conductor would stay on. I am not sure that is necessary.

The soloist who was on the program couldn't play today, so a substitute was playing the Spring Season. She did okay, given the short notice, but not better than okay.

The church's acoustics are quite good. A bit too much resonance, though. Unfortunately the players were seated on the same level as the main sanctuary, so I didn't have a good view of them at all.

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