Sunday, 30 November 2014

An evening in Queen Anne's Footstool

St John's, Smith Square - nicknamed "Queen Anne's Footstool"

Completing a succession of evenings out this week - Polari, Sondheim's Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory, the "Fantasy Egypt" night at the Petrie Museum - our little gang went for a bit of classical culture yesterday evening: a concert of Bach, Wagner and Schoenberg by the Fulham Symphony Orchestra at the beautiful St John’s, Smith Square in Westminster.

The concert opened with J.S. Bach (orchestrated by Stokowski) – Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, a beautiful baroque piece in perfect keeping with the sumptuous surroundings of Thomas Archer's 1728 masterpiece. Melodramatic and emotional in turn, it was lovely.

An even bigger treat was, however, their excellent second piece - preceded by a lengthy exploration by conductor Marc Dooley of the concept of the leitmotif, as heavily used by Wagner and later by Schoenberg (far better explained by the legendary Anna Russell, incidentally) - the final scene (Leb’ Wohl) from Die Walkure, part III. The part of Wotan was beautifully sung by bass-baritone Stephen Holloway:

[If the player doesn't work, visit Mr Holloway's website - link above - to listen]

It was very helpful of Mr Dooley to do the "compare and contrast" between Wagner and Schoenberg, we found, for it merely helped convince us that none of us really wanted to stay for Pelleas und Melisande; modernist "symphonic poems" not really being our favourite style of music. So we buggered off to the pub instead.

However, what we heard (even if there were a couple of slight technical "ouch" moments) was splendid enough to make for a very enjoyable experience.

Fulham Symphony Orchestra website.


  1. What a fabulous week indeed! Of course, I'd expect nothing less.

    1. ...and that's just November! Oh, the trials of being a "social butterfly" :-)



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