Over the recent summer months, St Andrew’s has hosted its now annual Lunchtime Recital Series where, each week, audiences have been able to get a light lunch, while enjoying some forty or so minutes of musical entertainment by well over thirty different performers, from organ recitals and a school choir, to small brass and string ensembles, and more besides.
Medics aren’t usually best-known for blowing their own trumpet – except, that is, when they play the top two parts in a brass ensemble. Some three years ago, medical doctors Ben Dawson and Bruce Fox teamed up with academic doctors Debby Cotton (horn) and Matthew Watkinson (tuba) – educational researcher and geologist respectively – and professional trombonist Jamie Dove, to form Portland Square Brass Quintet.
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.
What a pity this thoroughly-entertaining recital could be enjoyed only by those lucky enough to be in the city centre around lunchtime, as it was really too good to miss.
With the variety of instrumentalists and singers taking part in this year’s series of Summer Recitals at St Andrew’s, it’s all too easy to forget that the church still has one of the largest, and indeed finest organs in the whole of the South West.
Over the years there have been many choral events in Plymouth’s Mother Church, but The Palace Theatre Choir and Orchestra’s concert was simply quite unlike anything else.
Having already commented on the piano tone, it was somewhat worrying to see it miked up this time, where every sound was now going to be amplified, and played back through the PA system – something that tends to make things worse, rather than better.
There is nothing more disappointing than going to hear a large choir sing something they’ve been working really hard on, only for the guest soloists to end up having all the best bits on the night.