St Martin-in-the-Fields Church on Trafalgar Square, London was partially lit by candle light for this lively concert of Baroque music given by LMA Orchestra conducted by John Landor.

The warm welcome and warmth inside the church was a contrast to more bitter weather outside. The Mozart Divertimento in D, K136 is familiar and was a great opener, despite some noisy latecomers. The sixteen-year old Mozart showing complete confidence in the classic form that he would take forward.

Pachelbel‘s Canon and Gigue, the only work he is known for widely, was a relief to hear in the authentic acoustic of  Wren church although I’m sure I’ve heard more sense made on record of the counter-point.

Handel’s Concerto Gross in C 'Alexander's Feast' was the lively conclusion to the first part. Handel is noted as having played the organ in this very church but presumably not this piece. The LMA Orchestra offered us a good serious account with splendid virtuosity particularly from the front desk of the second violins (George Hlawiczka).

The interval offered the twin attractions of the crypt café and a brief exploration of Vivaldi’s “The Seasons” with examples played by the orchestra. John Landor’s notes included “Meet the Music” with the musicians playing examples from the nave whilst members of the audience held their music! Good showmanship and a unique presentation making good use of the space.

The performance of Vivaldi’s “The Seasons” was mixed: there was some brilliant interplay between Ofer Falk (solo violin) and Emma Shepherd (solo cello) but the performance only really settled down for the last of the four themed concerti, “Winter”.

I visited with a friend and my Aunt as her eightieth birthday treat; they were well satisfied with the programme and the novelty of hearing live and complete music which is over-familiar as background. They enjoyed the closeness to the performers, the informal approach but not the noisy latecomers. The introduction by the LMA's manager was unexpected, though it was interesting to note that more than half the audience identified as non-UK residents in a show of hands…

A number of the audience stood up for the final applause but there was no encore although it was in some ways a short programme: perhaps a reprise of Pachelbel‘s Canon would have been appropriate?

Mozart - Divertimento in D, K136
Pachelbel - Canon and Gigue
Handel - Concerto Gross in C 'Alexander's Feast'
Vivaldi - Four Seasons, Op 8

London Muscial Arts Orchestra
John Landor, Conductor

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