One of the nicest things about this year’s Lunchtime recital series is the diversity of instruments, musical genres and expertise on offer. It’s also been good to see that whereas some events appear more formal, others feel more casual – and something especially well-suited to a passing audience popping by for something to eat, or to catch up with friends afterwards.
When an organ recital opens with a piece called Exit, two piano solos find their way onto the programme, and the church organist – usually heard but not seen – imparts erudite knowledge with the delivery of a stand-up comedian, you know you’re in for something special.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, organ recitals have been the most frequent events in this year’s St Andrew’s Lunchtime Series. They give the instrument a regular workout, while encouraging each artist to bring something different to the table, programme-wise.
Levowan might be one of Cornwall’s smaller, and certainly newest vocal ensembles, but it kept its large audience spellbound with almost an hour’s uninterrupted singing, as part of the ongoing Lunchtime Recital Series at St Andrew’s.
Although six of this season’s lunchtime recitals involve solo organ, each one individually reflects the personality and playing style of the performer.
It’s no surprise that almost half of this year’s Summer Lunchtime Recitals at St Andrew’s involve the church’s impressive organ, since it’s one of the largest in the South West.
The two most appealing things about summer lunchtime recitals at St Andrews are the diversity of styles on offer, and the range of musical expertise of the performers, from professional to amateur, and well-seasoned, to primary-school novices.
The city has always been fortunate to have an amateur orchestra of the size and quality of Plymouth Symphony Orchestra on its doorstep.
There couldn’t have been a better way to kick off this season’s series of Summer Recitals than Ed Jones’s outstanding performance at the splendid St Andrew’s organ.
A packed church was ready to greet their relative next-door neighbours for what was an exciting and highly-enjoyable concert, given as part of Tavistock’s ongoing Arts Festival.
Orchestral concerts often include one concerto, but two are unusual, unless you’re talking shorter works from the Baroque. Three is virtually unheard of unless you happen to be Torbay Symphony Orchestra (TSO), who not only played the first three Beethoven Piano Concertos on one night, but followed this with the Fourth and Fifth the next day.
Picking a lunchtime recital programme is not unlike planning a midday meal. Shorter and immediately appealing items are generally better tolerated than something heavy and ponderous, and which then might need the rest of the afternoon to digest.
Although the forecast balmy weather hadn’t materialised, there were more than enough pyrotechnics allied to a gloriously warm tone to ensure the heat was well and truly turned on throughout this very enjoyable and varied recital of music inspired by the Mediterranean, and from composers in its vicinity.
The Ten Tors at Tavistock isn’t just mere alliteration – it’s a well-established annual event that truly marks the final countdown to Christmas, in a delightful moorland setting.
Playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw wasn’t overly impressed by Mendelssohn’s Elijah, when he wrote that he’d sat through a performance as an act of professional devotion.
When the University of Plymouth Choral Society presents its annual Christmas Concert, you can always expect a varied programme of shorter, and often less-familiar works, excellent young soloists, and, most important, a tangible feeling of genuine enjoyment from the choir.
Nordic Waves might sound more like the name of a deodorant, but it proved the ideal title for this delightful programme of chamber music from Northern Europe,
A light and frothy performance of Mozart’s effervescent Marriage of Figaro Overture provided the perfect opener, with especially neat articulation from upper woodwind, and strings, led with usual aplomb by Mary Eade.
You always get an adrenaline rush when you’ve enjoyed a really good concert, either as performer or audience member.
Strings are generally regarded as the backbone of any orchestral ensemble, and this quite superb concert by the Ten Tors Strings under conductor Simon Ible not only attested to the skill of the players, but also confirmed why the orchestra, in full rig, can make such a fine sound, too.
Music has that wonderful ability to transcend political oppression, and indeed, in the case of the Boyan Ensemble, to crank up the emotions, particularly in the second half of this highly-enjoyable concert, when the singers featured folk music from their native Ukraine.