Concert Review

Holloway, Corelli, Vivaldi, Mozart. City of London Sinfonia Bishopsgate Hall, London, 11 January 2000

The City Music Society lunchtime concerts attract large audiences to the pleasant Bishopsgate Hall opposite Liverpool St. Station. Andrew Watkinson directed this concert (No. 1585!), beginning with Mozart's Divertimento K138 before he played Winter & Spring from The Seasons very stylishly, supported by some ten strings and harpsichord.

Robin Holloway's Serenade in G is militantly tonal and romantic, " - - deliberate pursuit of amiability and sweetness a direct result of hostile journalistic criticism". Holloway has made a niche for himself as neo-romantic and was present to enjoy this audience's warm response to a pleasant, well-crafted piece which takes the Strauss of the Capriccio sextet as an obvious starting point, and was a welcome foil in a predominantly baroque programme.

They finished with Corelli's splendid Concerto Grosso in F (op. 6 no.2) which can never again be heard on its own terms since it was incorporated into the Fantasia Concertante by Sir Michael Tippett, whose shade hovered benevolently in the background of this performance. A very pleasant way to spend a lunchtime in the City.

For its next fourteen concerts at Bishopsgate, a series has been planned to include an exploration of British music composed since the City Music Society was formed in 1943, some of the works selected (e.g. Rawsthorne's oboe quartet) having been commissioned by the Society. There will also be concerts at Goldsmiths' Hall. Details from the CMS website

Peter Grahame Woolf


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