During a busy Autumn I was absolutely delighted to be able to take part in the ongoing lunchtime recital series at the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields on the corner of Trafalgar Square. Like many London churches, it’s easy to walk past this building on your way to some other venue in the West End. Once inside though, its hard not to be impressed. The sizeable interior has a booming acoustic but this is can be dampened if there is a considerable audience. Many of those who attend concerts here are tourists and the typical programming of familiar works of the classical repertory reflect that.
On Tuesday I had come along with my pianist Chris Hopkins to perform what is, for this venue then, a rather unusual programme of largely contemporary music: Andrzej Panufnik’s Love Song (in this, the centenary year of his birth), Gustav Mahler’s Rückert Lieder and the cycle of songs by Stephen McNeff, Madrigali dell’Estate, that I recorded last year for Champs Hill Records.
We had a packed and attentive house: the quality of their attention suggested that many of them were German or Italian speakers and could follow the texts closely. One German audience member even approached me afterwards to ask where I had learned to speak the language.
Reassuring to know that the detailed language work we all need to do for such concerts is time well spent!