Friday, June 03, 2016
Conchord takes off
One thing about living in south-west London that's difficult to ignore is the presence of planes. In this otherwise tranquil corner of the capital we're blessed with riverside walks, the open greenery of Richmond Park with its deer, green parrots and running routes, and historic town centres around Kingston, Twickenham, Barnes and Richmond which each have a distinctive character to enjoy. Still, there are planes, on their way into or out of the airport up the road. In the old days of Concorde, you'd hear a far-off whistly noise at 5pm every day, and if you were outside you'd run for cover because the roar as it came in on the Heathrow approach was absolutely unbelievable.
But now Conchord of a much more welcome kind is coming to Twickenham. Recently I had a call from my very old friends Danny and Emily Pailthorpe. Dan is principal flute with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Emily, originally from the US, is a superb oboist. Some years ago they founded the London Conchord Ensemble, a chamber group of like-minded musicians to focus on woodwind repertoire; and their Conchord Festival has tried out a couple of locations in the past. This year, though, they're bringing it home to Twickenham, where St Mary's Church - a beautiful venue a stone's throw from the town centre and virtually on the river - will be the centre for three terrific days of music-making starting a week from today (10-12 June).
It really is packed with treats, featuring baritone Roderick Williams, actor Simon Callow, pianists Alistair Beatson and Julian Milford, violinists Daniel Rowland and Michael Foyle, cellist Thomas Carroll, conductor Duncan Ward, with works ranging from an all-Bach opening to Stravinsky ballets and The Soldier's Tale, and delights from Debussy, Duparc and Dvorak.
If I were planning a festival programme myself, I think it might look much like this. Please come and enjoy a weekend of world-class music by the Thames! Twickenham is about 20 mins by train from London Waterloo via Vauxhall and Clapham Junction.
Here's the full programme and you can book tickets here.