Re:connect at the church where the chamber orchestra first formed, St Martin-in-the-Fields, off Trafalgar Square, unfolds from October to December on Saturdays with audiences welcome at both 5PM and 7:30PM. Guest artists include the tenor Toby Spence, pianist Huw Watkins and conductor Oliver Zeffman.
Each concert is named after a theme emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic, and each is is filmed. Streams will go live for 30 days on the Thursday after each live performance, at 7:30PM, on a pay-to-view basis. An initial concert, honouring victims of the pandemic, was given in memory of Martin Loveday, a former cellist with the Academy who died from the disease in April 2020. It is available to watch here.
Overcoming Distance (26 Sept) features music by JS Bach, Messiaen and James MacMillan, plus Aaron Copland’s Quiet City and Mozart’s Symphony No.29 (26 September).
Isolation & Friendship opens with an Elegy for solo viola written by a 16-year old Benjamin Britten. The programme also features two works by Huw Watkins: How – written during lockdown as part of a new music project Eight Songs From Isolation conceived and conducted by the concert’s conductor Oliver Zeffman and sung by Toby Spence – and a setting for strings of three Welsh folk songs. Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings and music by Prokofiev completes the programme on 10 Oct.
Jean Féry Rebel’s Chaos opens Regeneration (24 Oct), and is followed by pieces for flute by Saint-Saëns and Mozart – his Flute Concerto in D major. Copland’s optimistic Appalachian Spring closes the evening.
Violinist Joshua Bell directs the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Photo: Bill Phelps
The author Philippe Sands joins the Academy of St Martin in the Fields on 7 Nov in an evening of words and music, full programme to be confirmed.
Night (21 Nov) opens with Eleanor Alberga’s Nightscape for 13 musicians, conducted by the composer, and is followed by Mozart’s Serenade No 10 the Gran Partita.
Finally, Awakening (5 Dec), conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth, has Sibelius and Nielsen before Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and Mozart’s Symphony No 34.
After that musical journey, unwind with A Christmas Celebration on Friday 18 December, programme to be announced. Tickets are available here.
All concerts last around an hour, with no interval, and audience safety will be in line with regulations at the time.
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, one of the world’s finest chamber orchestras, was formed by Sir Neville Marriner in 1958, giving its first performance in St Martin's in November 1959. Film-lovers will know the ensemble from the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning film Amadeus. Today the Academy is led by music director and virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell, continuing the tradition of a small, conductor-less ensemble.
To hear the ASMF in its original home, live, and in both familiar and unfamiliar repertoire, will be a welcome treat.
|What||Academy of St Martin in the Fields, live autumn concerts|
|Where||St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, London , WC2N 4JJ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Embankment (underground)|
26 Sep 20 – 18 Dec 20, Two one-hour concerts a month, at both 5PM and 7:30PM
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|