Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wigmore in the East

Mrs The Millbrooker and I have been wandering to the far east for a small adventure. But before the adventure could begin, we needed to head northwards on the iron horse. Unusually for us, we made use of Cross Country trains (not unusual because there's anything intrinsically wrong with Cross Country - it's just that I work for the other team and so we normally take advantage of the free travel on offer from my own dear employers).

And lo! the five car sealed unit metal tube that Cross Country laughingly refer to as a train sped us through the familiar countryside and coastline of Devon and Somerset and plonked us off at Bristol, from whence it was but a short hop to Bath and the well known hotel of mum (or Millie and Tricker's pad, as I normally refer to it).

Millie and Trickers are nothing if not generous hosts and a slap up dinner was set in front of us along with a plentiful flow of vino mucho collapso before we all turned in for a early night.

The following morning (that'll be yesterday, then), Mrs The Millbrooker and I were swiftly transported courtesy of the Trickermobile to Bath Spa station and once again found ourselves aboard a chuff-chuff. This time, hurtling towards the capital.

It was a bitterly cold day in London as we stepped from the tube station at Oxford Circus with little or no idea of exactly where to find our final destination and in need of something edible. A quick re-programming of the satnav on my phone (what will they think of next?) gave us a clue of the direction we should head in, and head in it we did.

Lunch was found in a small cafe on Wigmore Street, burgers and chips (which, topically, had me singing "Before my dessert, I ate a horse with no name") and then a mere few steps brought us to the very door we had been seeking.

No less a place than the Wigmore Hall itself, home of the Radio 3 lunchtime concerts, venue of choice for many of the finest chamber musicians in the world. And we had tickets for a lunchtime performance by the far famed Britten Sinfonia.

And, oh my, what a beautiful venue it is.

The hour long programme of music was simply stunning - Britten, Shostakovich, Copland and new composer Jay Greenberg (a precocious 21 years old) were all represented in the pieces played; Mrs The Millbrooker and I loved it. If your "classical" tastes stop at Mozart, it might have been considered a challenging hour of unusual harmonics (musicians amongst you - in a section of the Copland piece the strings played a quarter tone between Eb and D whilst the piano played both Eb and D - wonderfully discordant, a feast for the ears); if you like to be startled, challenged and put in awe by "difficult" music (and we do), it was fantastic.

All too soon our hour's worth of Christmas present to each other was over and the Britten Sinfonia people received their rightfully thunderous applause; Mrs The Millbrooker and I retraced our footsteps to Oxford Circus, from there to Paddington and onto the 1506 all the way back to Plymouth and home.

Seems a long way to go for an hour's music - but I'd do it again anytime.

mobile phone satnav photo shamelessly nicked from
Wigmore Hall Interior similarly half inched from

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