If the church of St-Martin-in-the-Fields stood in nearly any other London location it would be the focus of its surroundings. But with Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery on its doorstep and the through-route from the West End running along its front steps, it has to settle for being merely part of an historic setting.
For people who haven’t been inside this beautiful 1726 building, there’s a good excuse this spring as St Martin’s is the main venue for the massive Brandenburg Spring Choral Festival, which also makes use of the National Portrait Gallery, St John’s Waterloo and Lincoln’s Inn Chapel among others.
Given that it’s only in its third year, the size of the festival – over 40 events – is surprising, but with Gareth Malone riding high with his TV choir shows and army wives, choral singing is evidently in vogue.
The festival is promoting a nice mix of amateur choirs from around London, university and college choirs, and specialist groups. The repertoire is diverse with classical music favourites – Brahms Requiem, Vivaldi Gloria, Faure Requiem, Haydn Nelson Mass – running alongside jazz concerts (including one in the cafe in the church’s famous Crypt) and other styles of singing, including Barbershop and Gospel.
The festival opened on 2 January with its now traditional performance of Handel’s Messiah but all other events are still to happen, starting tonight and running until 28 April. Full details here.
Image by Chloe van Grieken via the Londonist Flickr pool.