Thursday 4 October 2012

Autumn Festival in Queen Anne's Footstool.

Queen Anne's footstool
St. John's Smith Square (aka Queen Anne's Footstool), is having an Autumn Festival from 10 to 14 October, with a wide variety of events from song recitals and harmonie musik, to a folk duo and African jazz fusion. There are two events per evening, with a late night one at around 10pm with unreserved seating, plus some daytime events. There's even a Come and Sing Dream of Gerontius with Adrian Partington.

They kick off on 10 October with the Songsmiths (Elizabeth Watts, Anna Huntley, Andrew Tortise and Marcus Farnsworth with Audrey Hyland, piano) in a programme called Since We Have Loved... Probably just an excuse to sing favourite songs, but as the composers include Finzi, Ireland and Hahn, who is complaining. The late event (at 10pm) that day is the Anemoi Ensemble in Mozart's Gran Partita, tickets just £10 a superb way to end the evening.

Thursday 11 October there is a lunch time organ recital from Martin Ford, then in the evening its Mbabula (meaning 'container of fire' in Zulu), who are described as an incendiary alliance of African and Western Jazz musicians directed by Paul Bartholomew. The evening also features The Smith Square Township Choir. Go one, admit it, you are curious already. The later evening concert is Gawkey, a fiddle and accordion modern folk duo. Certainly not the style of music normally associated with St. Johns and nice to see people letting their hair down.

Friday 12 sees things get more rigorous, the Smith Quartet play the complete Philip Glass quartets. These will be performed in the round with unreserved seating. The late evening concert is jazz pianist Matthew Bourne on solo piano, in Montauk Variations, part of his World Tour of London.

Saturday 13 is the day I really regret missing (I'll be performing myself at the Herne Hill Music Festival). Its a Come and Sing Dream of Gerontius. For those who can't sing, in the morning there's a Come and Play session with the Smith Square Community Orchestra, with coaching from players from the major London orchestras and conducted by the director of St. Johns, Richard Heason.

2pm is Come and Sing The Dream of Gerontius with Adrian Partington, Director of Music at Gloucester Cathedral, Artistic Director of the BBC National Chorus of Wales. There will be an orchestra made up of members of the Philharmonia with students from London music colleges. The soloists are Kitty Whately (one of this blog's favourites), Andrew Goodwin and Duncan Rock. The performance is in the evening at 7.30pm and you can pay to attend, but I'm sure you'd rather sing.

The late evening concert on Saturday is Leigh O'Hara in a piano recital in the round, playing Schumann, Daniel March, Howard Skempton and Kate Pearsons.

Finally, on Sunday 14 October, La Nuova Musica perform a programme which mixes sacred and secular music by Monteverdi with poetry by his English contemporary John Donne. Finally, Fantasia with Rolf Hind on piano, directed by Richard Heason play Cage, Jonathan Harvey and Kurtag.

Many of the tickets are only £10 and even the more expensive ones are only £20 (with the usual concessions), so its well worth a punt if you are in the area, and the restaurant and bar in the crypt are delightful.

Further information from the St. John's Smith Square website.

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