Goldberg Variations, Joanna MacGregor, Followed By Jazz, Wigmore Lates, 9 May 2014

We rather like these Wigmore Lates concerts, although we do sometimes find it hard to drag ourselves from the comfort of my lovingly prepared dinner at the flat to the concert hall, albeit a mere couple of miles up the road.

We’d been very keen on the idea of this one when we booked it, but I do recall that fatigue factor coming into play as we set off for the Wigmore Hall.

But by gosh this one was worth it.

Here is a link to the Wigmore Hall diary page for this concert.

We’d enjoyed Joanna MacGregor playing interesting fusion music some years earlier, at the Roundhouse – click here or below… 

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

…but had never seen her perform solo before.

Her interpretation of the Goldberg Variations was a fine one. Not overly flash or unusual; perhaps the odd flourish that nodded to her breadth of influences. Very relaxing.

Did either Janie or I nod off during the performance, I hear you ask? That is between us and our consciences, but in any case, with the Goldberg, it almost feels compulsory to do so, at least for a short while, in honour of the great composer’s original purpose.

We certainly didn’t nod off in the bar afterwards where we heard the Julian Bliss Quintet play some swinging jazz. We both like that style, as does Joanna MacGregor, it seems, as she joined a fairly sizeable late night swing contingent in the bar for quite a while.

I think Janie and I slipped away just before midnight – we normally do – don’t want anyone to see our carriage turning into a pumpkin or anything like that.

A very enjoyable late evening at the Wig.

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.