Preludes & Vollenteries 2 – St Margaret Lothbury 29th September 2017

Posted on October 2nd, 2017 by


‘Preludes & Vollenteries’ II

29h September 2017 6 pm

Peter Sheppard Skærved  – Violins

(Antonio Stradivari 1685, Girolamo Amati 1628, Giovanni Paolo Maggini 16??)

St Margaret Lothbury (Sir Christopher Wren 1686-1690/Robert Hooke {Tower} completed 1700)

Tools of the trade laid out on stage. Photo: Richard Bram 29 9 17

The second of concert-salon of the series proved every bit as revelatory as the first for me. It is one thing to plan a performance in a space, for a space, and something completely different when one gets inside. If I am learning just one thing from this musical pilgrimage into the 17th and early 18th centuries, it is that there is no limit to what can be learnt to listening closely to music as it makes it way into such architecture, and observing what a space, so carefully crafted as this, does to music and my experience of it. And that is entirely from the player’s point of view/

One of my favourite things; talking about violins after the concert with some of the audience. Photo Richard Bram 29 9 17

St Margaret’s is a complete contrast to St Stephen Walbrook, such a short walk away. LINK It’s very easy to miss, dwarfed by the looming hulk of Sir John Soane’s Bank of Enlgland wall on the opposite side of Lothbury, which sucks all the air out of the street, and is, for all it’s grandeur, a negative space. The entry to the church is through the tower, which was, it seems, designed by Robert Hooke (1635-1703). In the Square Mile, entry through the tower on the corner of the building speaks to the memory of a previous, medieval church, and this can be seen a few steps away at St Catharine Cree.

Wren Screen, St Margaret Lothbury. Carved by Thornton and Woodruffe ca 1683

Like many of the sites which wren had to work with after the Great Fire, St Margaret’s is an irregular oblong-the East wall forms an oblique angle from the South. This is somewhat accented by the sunken floor of the north-east corner, where church is apparently beginning to slide into the earth. There’s something wonderfully human about the relationship between Wren’s astonishing geometric command and the way the building flexes and stretches.


Works including:

Johannes Welltern (fl.1650-1660) – Suite ‘Delitiae Philosophicae et Mathematicae’ Allemanda, Sarabanda, Courante (GDGA), Allemande (GCGB) LINK

Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (ca.1623 – 1680) – ‘Pepper-Pestle’ (EAEA)

Nicola Cosimi (1667-1717) – Two Preludes LINK

Nicola Matteis (fl. 1670 – after 1713) – A minor Prelude

Michel Corette (1707-1795) – Deux Menuets ‘l’École d’Orphée’ (1730) (AEAD)

Jonkheer Jacob van Eyck (c. 1590 – 1657) – 2 Modes, on John Dowland ‘Pavanne Lachymae’

Antonio Maria Montanari (1676 – 1737) – D Minor Giga

Thomas Baltzar (1630 – 1663) – A Major Suite Allemand I, Allemand II, Courante, Sarabanda (AEACsharp)

David Gorton (1978- ) – 2 Caprices VIII ‘Lachrymae’ & IX ‘Farnaby’s Fancie’

Welcome to ‘Preludes & Vollenteries’ at the wonderful church of St Margaret Lothbury. This series of salons is inspired by the architecture of the Square Mile, the astonishing churches built and restored in the years after the Great Fire of 1666. Today’s concert is a first opportunity to hear the extraordinary 1685 Antonio Stradivari, an extremely rare example of a small-model violin by the greatest of all violin makers. We are very grateful to the Royal Northern College of Music (Principal Dr Linda Merrick) for their assistance and help.

I am very grateful to the Revd, Jeremy Crossley for all the inspiration and encouragement that he has offered for the the series. The next concert will be 6pm on the 13th October at St Mary Abchurch