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London Music Guide

London Classical Review

Lunchtime Recital Series

Royal Festival Hall
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX
T: 020 7921 0600
Tube: Waterloo

1/month; UKP7.50

A Shostakovich Sandwich
An intimate setting and small crowd produce an invigorating musical encounter during an otherwise humdrum mid-week afternoon.

PURCELL room is narrow and tall, with wood panelling chucking any and every sound upward to bounce about the gods and drop back down to the audience. Cushy leather chairs and the warm light glinting off the wooden finish make a snug place for a concert – a show of music designated for the audience to rest and rejuvenate simultaneously.

On November 25th’s concert, London Winds weaved an afternoon of plucky charm by juggling Schumann’s Fanasiestücke, Op.73, a trio by Poulenc, Cinq Pièces en Trio by Ibert, and Beethoven’s Quintet in E flat. Each piece, as in the whole, began spirited and transformed into pensive and quiet, before jumping triumphantly into an allegro end. The audience was transfixed and energetic as well – a generally older crowd mixed with a few tourists and some work-lunch-break viewers –genuinely appreciative of the performance.

The Lunchtime Recital Series, happening one Thursday every month, generally offers a slice of classical music brought by international and London-centric performers. A popular series for about ten years, the lunchtime concerts draw a diverse audience - for classical - and allow a small period of rest during the day. Although the concerts range in instrument from recorder and guitar to string quartets, and the composers from Bach to Shostakovich, the music withholds an energetic, uppity air. Dark, tribulation pieces and low, regal fare are never offered on these afternoons.

Megan M. Retka

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