The lovely recital space in Kings Place, up York Way from King's Cross/St Pancras, plays host to the London Chamber Music Society most Sunday evenings between October and May - a perfectly timed 6:30 pm end to the weekend. The opening of their 2016-17 season was this last Sunday, a most enjoyable programme of Mozart, Bartok, and Beethoven string quartets by the venerable Chilingarian Quartet.
The 420 seat recital hall (the bigger of the two performance spaces in Kings Place) has a delicious acoustic perfect for chamber music and good for voices too. So it is versatile and this is reflected in the broad range of the programming. When it opened in 2008 it was a most welcome addition to the list of venues in London where good music is made! It also has good catering facilities........so such are the riches in live music to be found in this great city!
The Barbican concert hall, which opened in 1982, is the the home of the London Symphony Orchestra. But it was to the Academy of Ancient Music's season opener that I went to last night - Henry Purcell's The Fairy Queen. In contrast with the very expanded version of the piece seen at Glyndebourne some seasons back we had just the wonderful music, really well sung and played, and the great Timothy West giving us some Shakespeare - two sonnets, Now the hungry lion roars from the Dream, bits of The Tempest (including Our revels now are ended) and Cymbeline etc. But the music was the thing in Daisy Evans' staging - always a trick to bring off.
Amongst the singers I was struck by the delightful Rowan Pierce, the peerless Iestyn Davies, and the consistently energetic and charming up and coming tenor Gwilym Bowen. But in truth it was a fine ensemble and splendidly directed of course by the AAM's Richard Egarr. A most enjoyable evening - just two hours of blissful Purcell.
There is more Purcell tomorrow - Dido chez Helios at King's College.