Anthony Marwood, James Crabb & Graham Mitchell, followed by Patricia Hammond and The Versatility Serenaders, Wigmore Hall, 10 July 2015

After the chaos of the Alexander McQueen at the V&A – click here, the Wigmore Hall felt like a sanctuary.

We had arranged a cold plate supper in advance, which worked fine, then enjoyed this excellent late night concert of violin, accordion and double bass music.

Click here for Wigmore Hall stub that explains it all.

The  main concert was excellent – we particularly liked the Piazzolla but it all worked well, even the Bach. Very relaxing and enjoyable.

I liked the Patricia Hammond & The Versatility Serenaders more than Janie; she finds early and pre-jazz not quite to her taste. Still, we stuck around for a while before heading home.

O/MODƏRNT: Monteverdi to Tango & Monteverdi in Historical Counterpoint, Wigmore Hall, 3 July 2015

Two related concerts in one evening, both of which looked right up our street:

On the first stub, as indeed it read in the Wigmore Hall brochure, it says:

The Wigmore Hall Restaurant will serve dinner after the concert. Please contact the Box Office on 020 7935 2141 to make your table reservations.

This absolutely clinched it for us. The food at The Wig is pretty good these days and we know that they can deal with the sort of meal they can serve between concerts.

But what a palaver we had booking the meal.

“We’re not sure that we’ll be open still at that hour on that evening…”

“…but it says in the brochure that you will be open…”

“…ah, well if it says it in the brochure then we will be open…

“…great, we’d like to book please…”

“…I can’t take bookings yet, because I can’t be sure we’re going to be open…”

It all came right on the night (indeed before the night) of course.

The whole thing was part of a festival project named O/MODƏRNT, which is explained on its website – click here.

The first concert, mostly blending Monteverdi and Piazolla, was an exceptional classical ensemble concert with several ensembles and soloists involved.

Then the relatively simple meal that Wigmore Hall can serve in these circumstances, all done with speed, efficiency and smiles in the end. We know many of the staff there; indeed any who stick around for a while.

The second concert was jazz with the Svante Henryson Quartet. We weren’t quite sure what Monteverdi had to do with it; perhaps some links in the musical themes being extrapolated. Still, it was very good jazz, although Janie, as usual in such circumstances, felt that it fell short of Tord Gustavsen, which is a tough, indeed perhaps unreasonable benchmark to set. But Janie has set that benchmark for all visiting jazz ensembles since Tord graced the Wigmore Hall with his presence some years ago – an event which I shall Ogblog in the fullness of time.

In short, our O/MODƏRNT evening was a great success and well worth the effort.

 

Manuel Barrueco, Wigmore Hall, 24 October 2010

This was an excellent Spanish guitar concert at the Wig, performed by the Cuban guitarist Manuel Barrueco.

The link below is a preview on Hispanic London, which includes the programme:

A celebration of Spanish guitar with Manuel Barrueco

(Preview scraped to here if the above link no longer works).

This concert was just the sort of thing we needed at the time – I think we had spent most of that weekend in Oxfordshire with Tony and Phillie.

One or two of the pieces were quite challenging but mostly it was relaxing classical guitar music of the highest order.

Here’s a short vid of the fella:

 

Scottish Ensemble, Wigmore Hall Coffee Concert, 17 October 2010

We fancied this concert, which melded Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with Piazolla’s Four Seasons Of Buenos Aires.

So despite its scheduling in the Sunday coffee morning slot, which throws our tennis plans awry, we gave it a try.

A different, wrinkly audience on a Sunday morning. Some perhaps as keen on the gratis coffee (or a glass of sherry if you prefer) as the music.

The music was performed serviceably (I think we’ve heard the Piazolla Seasons done with more flare since) and we were glad to have experienced the Wiggy Coffee morning thing…but it isn’t really our type of gig.

Joanna MacGregor and Britten Sinfonia, Reverb: Roundhouse, 23 January 2010

We went to two classical concerts with early music leanings at the Roundhouse in the space of three days as part of the Reverb series; we loved both.

This was the first of the two, on the Saturday.

We hadn’t seen Joanna MacGregor before, although we had heard of her. I was aware that she had been a Gresham professor of music.

There was real flare and excitement to this concert; a really interesting blend of early music, south american music and contemporary and jazz themes.

In the moment, I bought a couple of Joanna MacGregor albums on the night:

We’ve listened to these albums a lot and had a lot of enjoyment from them, although they bear little resemblance to the music we heard that night.

Subsequently I bought another one, Play, which reflected at least a couple of the items we heard in the concert.

Here is an interesting video interview with MacGregor on the Telegraph website, made just before this concert.

Anyway, the concert was lovely and left us very excited ahead of the next one, a mere two days away.

Middlesex v Essex T20, Lord’s, Followed By Artemis Quartet, Wigmore Hall Lates, 26 June 2009

I often say that there are only two places remaining on earth where staff and stewards still call me “young man”: Lord’s and the Wigmore Hall.

So what better places to celebrate Janie’s birthday than both of those august institutions?

We’d probably booked the Wigmore Hall late night concert before we knew/realised that Middlesex were to play Essex in the T20 tournament at Lord’s that evening. Low marks to the cricket authorities for demographic matching for scheduling that fixture at that venue that night, but they probably won’t make that mistake again in a hurry.

Anyway, Charley “The Gent” Malloy was keen to see that fixture and suggested (once he knew it was Janie’s birthday and that we had a later evening engagement at “The Wig”), that we make that match a couples outing,  with Dot (Mrs Malloy) up for the idea of a T20 game and a picnic at Lord’s. So that’s what we did.

Cricket

Chas and Dot were able to get to Lord’s early, so they established a good spot at the front of the Tavern Stand for us. Their hopes and expectations for the match (as Essex supporters) were much higher than ours as Middlesex supporters. Essex had been doing well in the tournament that year, whereas Middlesex, despite being champions, had been consistently poor. So much so, I had written a scathing “futurology” MTWD match report of the Hampshire away match earlier in the week, before that match even took place.

But of course, as fate would have it, Middlesex played a rare decent match and spoiled Chas and Dot’s fun a bit:

Here is a link to the scorecard.

But it clearly only spoiled their fun a bit, as Chas said in a note the following Monday:

That was a super evening last Friday at Lords with all of us there; it was an absolute delight, although I suspect that the loss by Essex cost them dearly!

Music

The Wigmore Late concert was a real treat for Janie; she loves a bit of Piazzolla and this was a concert full of the stuff.

Here is a link to an interesting article from The Telegraph explaining why this quartet likes playing Piazzolla.

Dying for a Piazzolla?

It was a lovely concert.

It had been a long evening; I recall us going back to the flat feeling very tired but also very happy.

Tom Kerstens, Wigmore Hall, 27 May 2007

We were supposed to see someone else.  Was it Paco Pena?  Juan Martin? Yet another well-known guitarist?

Anyway, we weren’t supposed to see Tom Kerstens.

Had we known his relative quality, we’d have accepted the offer of our money back rather than persevered with a Sunday evening concert substitute.  But we thought, heck, give the fellow a try.  Oh dear.

Still, we’d had a corker of a month in the theatre and music department until this point.  Here’s the programme (yes, really) – let’s draw a veil.

Tom Kerstens