Summer String Serenade
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Thursday 17 June, 7:00 pm

Summer String Serenade

Britten Simple Symphony
Ireland Downland Suite
Finzi Eclogue
Holst St. Paul’s Suite
Elgar Serenade for Strings 

No interval

London Mozart Players
Mark Bebbington piano
Simon Blendis director

The opening concert of the third Summer Music in City Churches is a glorious programme of British music for strings. Celebrating the longed-for return of live music and the re-opening of churches, the festival’s theme is SUNSHINE AFTER RAIN: concerts filled with joyful, optimistic music to lift the spirits, with interludes for reflection too. Summer String Serenade sets the scene perfectly, with lively, evocative music rooted firmly in English folksong and countryside, and characterised by masterful orchestration. An abundance of timeless, bucolic sunniness characterises both Holst’s St Paul’s Suite and Ireland’s Downland Suite; between them the London Mozart Players are joined by pianist Mark Bebbington for Finzi’s Eclogue: ‘a rapt but not untroubled meditation’ (in the words of the composer’s biographer) in which the summery, pastoral scene is permeated with aching nostalgia and bittersweet tenderness. The programme opens with Britten’s exuberantly witty and youthful Simple Symphony and culminates with another early masterpiece: Elgar’s evergreen and much-loved Serenade for Strings. It all takes place in the historic church of St Giles-without-Cripplegate in the heart of the Barbican. 

St Giles-without-Cripplegate