There’s nothing like a few flakes of snow to send London into a tailspin. Following the first reports of last Friday’s Arctic weather, by 9am anxious faces were gathered round the office coffee machine. The first flurries an hour later saw people nervously peering through windows and by noon we were being urged to depart at 3pm lest we get stranded in a drift. A stop at Tesco en route to the safety of home involved long queues of shoppers toting baskets bursting with emergency supplies.
The weather meant a lower turnout than deserved at a delightful concert in a church that evening by Poeticall Musicke. But the plus point for those of us who did brave the elements was an intimate evening with a group of young musicians whose performance matched their magical name.
We enjoyed works by Monteverdi and Fontana played on violin, lirone (the cello-like instrument held by Donald Bennet, second from the right) and theorbo (the lute shown with group founder Alex McCartney, right). Kaisa Pulkkinen coaxed rippling notes from the harp and also performed an engaging solo on the recorder. When I marvelled at how she masters two very different instruments she told me that in fact they are remarkably similar as the notes emerge in straightforward ways on both.
The first half of the evening was devoted to instrumental pieces while the second half focused on the voices of singers in Monteverdi’s Il Ballo della Ingrate. I particularly enjoyed counter tenor Peter Bozi’s soaring interpretation of Cupid as he and the equally accomplished Rosemary Galton as Venus circled the audience.
The evening was enhanced by the good acoustics of St James’ Church, Prebend St, in Islington, where Poeticall Musicke will perform again soon. It’s a ten-minute walk from Angel tube station, and perfectly placed for a pre-show drink at cosy 69 Colebrook Row (voted one of the world’s best bars for its wonderfully wacky cocktails) and dinner afterwards at organic gastropub The Duke of Cambridge.
So go to veterummusica.com to hear some of the group’s work and mark your card for the next event. An evening of Biber, Muffat and Buxtehude takes place on Friday 15 March at 7.30pm. See you there!