The Academy of St Martin in the Fields today announce more details for re:connect – its eight-concert series with live socially distanced audiences at its namesake church, St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Among the new guest artists announced today are tenor Toby Spence [pictured], pianist Huw Watkins and conductor Oliver Zeffman. There is also an evening exploring Philippe Sands’ biography of senior Nazi Otto Freiherr von Wächter, The Ratline, with the author in attendance.
The autumn concerts will take place at 5pm & 7:30pm on two Saturdays per month and each is named after a theme from the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. Every programme is filmed, and the streams will go live on the following Thursday at 7:30pm on a pay-to-view basis, available online for 30 days after the initial broadcast. The first concert, which honours those who have suffered and lost their lives to Coronavirus, was given in memory of Martin Loveday, a former cellist with the Academy who died from the disease in April 2020. It is available to watch here from 7:30pm on 17 September.
Overcoming Distance begins with Bach’s Sarabande from Suite No.5 for cello solo and also includes his Brandenburg Concerto No.4. The programme continues with Messiaen’s Abîme des Oiseaux from Quatuor pour la fin du temps, James MacMillan’s Horn Interlude from ‘Since it was the day of Preparation…’ and Copland’s Quiet City – all with soloists from the Academy – before finishing with Mozart’s Symphony No.29 (26 September).
Isolation & Friendship opens with an Elegy for solo viola written by a sixteen-year old Benjamin Britten. The programme features two works by Huw Watkins: How – written during lockdown as part of a new music project ‘Eight Songs From Isolation’ conceived and conducted by the concert’s conductor Oliver Zeffman and performed by Tenor Toby Spence – followed by a strings-only arrangement of his settings of three Welsh folk songs. Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, a song-cycle with settings of poems on the subject of night is followed by Visions Fugitives by Prokofiev in an arrangement for string orchestra by Rudolf Barshai. This cycle of miniatures – originally written for solo piano – were written for friends of the composer (10 October).
Jean Féry Rebel’s Chaos opens ‘Regeneration.’ Originally written as a standalone piece in the late 1730s, it was later appended as a prologue to his symphony Les Élémens. Saint-Saëns’ Le Déluge precedes Lost Things for solo flute. It is taken from a music theatre piece by Samantha Fernando titled The Journey Between Us which is inspired by short stories examining relationship breakdown. The programme’s second flute piece is Mozart’s Flute Concerto in D major and concludes with Copland’s Appalachian Spring in its original chamber ensemble scoring (24 October).
The author Philippe Sands joins the Academy of St Martin in the Fields for an evening exploring his biography of senior Nazi Otto Freiherr von Wächter and his wife in a concert entitled Love & Justice. The Ratline offers a unique account of their daily life, drawing on a remarkable archive of family letters and diaries to unveil a fascinating insight into life before and during the war, on the run, in Rome, and into the Cold War. Eventually the door is unlocked to a mystery that haunts Wächter’s youngest son, who continues to believe his father was a good man – what happened to him and how did he die? Full repertoire will be announced nearer the time (7 November).
Night opens with Eleanor Alberga’s Nightscape for thirteen musicians, conducted by the composer herself. This is followed by Mozart’s Serenade No.10 the ‘Gran Partita’ (21 November).
Awakening is conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth and begins with Sibelius’ Nocturne from Belshazzar’s Feast, and continues with Hans Abrahamsen’s arrangement of Nielsen’s Three Little Pieces for Piano recomposed for 10 instruments. Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and Mozart’s Symphony No. 34 completes the programme (5 December).
Saturday 26 September
Online 1 October
Bach Sarabande from Suite No. 5
Messiaen Abîme des Oiseaux
MacMillan Horn Interlude from ‘Since it was the day of Preparation…’
Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 4
Copland Quiet City
Mozart Symphony No. 29
Isolation & Friendship
Saturday 10 October
Online 15 October
Britten Elegy for Viola Solo
Huw Watkins Song of Isolation for tenor
Huw Watkins Three Welsh Songs
Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and strings, Op.31
Prokofiev (arr. Barshai) Visions Fugitives, Op.22
Toby Spence tenor
Huw Watkins piano
Oliver Zeffman conductor
Saturday 24 October
Online 29 October
Jean Féry Rebel Chaos from Les Les Élémens
Saint-Saens Le Déluge, Op.45: Prelude for strings
Samantha Fernando Lost Things for solo flute
Mozart Flute Concerto in D, K.314
Copland Appalachian Spring
Love & Justice
Saturday 7 November
Online 12 November
An evening exploring The Ratline with author Philippe Sands
Saturday 21 November
Online 26 November
Eleanor Alberga Nightscape
Mozart Gran Partita
Eleanor Alberga conductor (Nightscape)
Saturday 5 December
Online 10 December
Sibelius Nocturne from Belshazzar’s Feast
Nielsen (arr. Abrahamsen) Three little pieces for piano recomposed for 10 instruments, Op.59
Wagner Siegfried Idyll
Mozart Symphony No. 34, K.338
Ryan Wigglesworth conductor
A Christmas Celebration
Friday 18 December
Programme to be announced
Tickets are available here.
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields and St. Martin-in-the-Fields church are closely following government guidance and each concert will adhere accordingly to the latest advice.