At St John's Smith Square in Westminster, with its elegant architecture and perfect acoustic, 14 concerts devoted to Baroque composers feature JS Bach and Vivaldi, of course, but also other masters of their times.
Distinguished artists include the cream of British music-making, including pianist Joanna MacGregor, who performs Bach's beguiling Goldberg Variations (Fri 20 May, 7:30PM), and violinist Rachel Podger with her ensemble Brecon Baroque, playings Vivaldi's atmospheric The Four Seasons (Sat 21 May 7:30PM).
Other highlights include a talk by Erlend Vestby on JS Bach's virtuosic six Cello Suites (Sat 14 May, 11.30AM) and a performance of the Cello Suites Nos 1 and 2 by Vestby later that evening (Sat 14 May, 9:45PM).
Southbank Sinfonia, whose Baroque orchestra plays on 18 May
Between the Land and the Sea is the title of this year's festival, a reference to Venice and its important role in this sublime musical era. The festival opens with Paul McCreesh and the singers and players of Gabrieli in a lavish programme, A Venetian Coronation. This musical re-creation of the Coronation Mass for the Venetian Doge Marino Grimani evokes the grand pageantry of what would have been a magnificent event (Sat 13 May, 7:30PM).
Only a short distance from its original performance, listen out too for Handel's Water Music played by Southbank Sinfonia Baroque along with music by Telemann, Locatelli and contemporaries (Wed 18 May, 7:30PM). The next evening is a Venetian classic: Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610, performed by the Choir of Westminster Abbey and St James's Baroque (Thurs 19 May, 7PM).
Whichever concerts you choose, we defy you to come away without a new spring in your step. And a fancy to visit Venice...
|What||London Festival of Baroque Music, St John's Smith Square|
|Where||St John's Smith Square, 30 Smith Square, London , SW1P 3HF | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Westminster (underground)|
13 May 22 – 21 May 22, 14 daytime and evening concerts. Start times and duration vary
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|