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Michael White’s music news: American jazz; Gloriana choir; Smetana

14 March, 2019 — By Michael White

Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau. Photo: David Bazemore

THE American jazz pianist Brad Mehldau is a polymath who often crosses the divide into classical territory and has done it again with a piano concerto that gets its UK premiere this weekend at the Barbican. He’ll be the soloist himself, playing with the Britten Sinfonia. And it can only be interesting. Saturday March 16, 7.30pm, Barbican.

CHOIRS for men and boys are standard in the singing world; all-female groups are not. But there’s more music than you’d think that was originally written for women’s voices – not least by Vivaldi in 18th-century Venice where he composed for the Pieta: an orphanage that encouraged foundling girls to become serious performers. Next week Gloriana, a London-based all-female choir, sing some of this music in a concert at St Stephen’s Rosslyn Hill, accompanied by the “historically informed” Linden Baroque Orchestra. Also on the programme: Handel, Bach, Charpentier. Sunday March 17, 6.30pm, St Stephen, Rosslyn Hill NW3.

BEDRICH Smetana was the father of Czech music, best-known for his opera Bartered Bride and for going deaf: an affliction that fed into his work as it did with Beethoven’s. But he also wrote a pageant-opera, Libuše, about an ancient queen who democratically marries a farmer. It gets a rare staging next week from the semi-pro University College Opera who specialise in dusting down obscure but (usually) worthwhile pieces. March 18-23, 7.30pm, Bloomsbury Theatre, Gordon Street, WC1, www.thebloomsbury.com/event

FRIDAY MARCH 15

• The young Echea String Quartet, recently graduated from the Royal Academy and collaborators with Camden Learning Centre, play a lunchtime recital of Haydn & Brahms. 1pm, Regent Hall, 275 Oxford Street, W1. Free.

SATURDAY MARCH 16

• An afternoon of workshops, installations and concerts intended to connect the general public with the sometimes unfathomable business of contemporary music . Organised by London Sinfonietta and including the chance to participate in a new piece by Oscar Bianchi. 4pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre SE1 8XX. 020 3879 9555. Free.

• One of the most painfully beautiful pieces of mid-20th century English choral music, Herbert Howells’ Requiem, is sung by the Strand Consort alongside other English works. 7.30pm, St Mary le Strand, Strand, WC2R 1ES. £12, £7 students; aged 16 and under free.

• Arguably the best and certainly the most gutsy British chamber group around, the Heath Quartet, play Haydn, Ligeti, Beethoven. 7.30pm, Wigmore Hall, Wigmore Street, W1U 2BP. £18-£40. 020 7935 2141, https://wigmore-hall.org.uk/

SUNDAY MARCH 17

• Bach, the Universe & Everything: a morning of science and music in which the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment perform a Bach cantata and a professor of astrobiology from Westminster University talks about the search for extra-terrestrial life. 11.30am, Kings Place, York Way, N1 9AG, www.kingsplace.co.uk, 020 7520 1490. £16.50.

• Japanese soprano Masami Suzuki gives a lunchtime recital of Mozart, Fauré and the magical though often overlooked British composer John Ireland. 1.45pm, Lauderdale House, Highgate Hill, N6 5HG, £5 on the door. 020 8348 8716, www.lauderdalehouse.org.uk

• London Bridge Trio play piano trios by Beethoven and Mendelssohn in the excellent chamber music series that runs Sunday afternoons at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn WC1R 4RL. 020 7405 1818, conwayhall.org.uk, 6.30pm. £10, 8-25s free courtesy of Cavatina Chamber Music Trust.



Sir Andras Schiff, Royal Festival Hall March 18. Photo: Alexander Böhm

MONDAY MARCH 18
• One of the world’s most revered living pianists, Sir András Schiff, plays the two Brahms piano concertos with the Orchestra of the Age of Englighten­ment – in separate concerts: one tonight, the other Tuesday. Both 7pm, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX. 020 3879 9555, www.southbankcentre.co.uk. From £10.

• Operatic double-bill of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta with Ravel’s enchanting L’enfant et les Sortilèges. Sung by students at the Royal Academy of Music and done in the RAM’s exquisite new Susie Sainsbury Theatre, Marylebone Road, NW1 5HT. Runs all week. 020 7873 7373, www.ram.ac.uk, 7pm. From £15.

TUESDAY MARCH 19

• Pianist Stephen Hose gives a free lunchtime recital at Lauderdale House, Highgate Hill, N6 5HG, 1.15pm. Free. 020 8348 8716, www.lauderdalehouse.org.uk.

• Recent graduates from the RAM, flautist Daniel Shao and pianist Joseph Havlat, play Debussy, Bartok and something by Alexandre Delgado with the intriguing title Panic Flirt at the intimate 1901 Arts Club near Waterloo Station, 7 Exton Street, SE1 8UE. 7pm. £15 inc pre-concert drink, and light refreshments after the recital, 020 7620 3055, www.1901artsclub.com.

• William Christie’s celebrated Paris-based period ensemble Les Arts Florissants, give their French baroque take on Bach’s St John Passion. 7pm, from £15, Barbican, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS, 020 7638 8891, www.barbican.org.uk.

• Sir András Schiff, Royal Festival Hall, see Monday.

WEDNESDAY 20

• A tribute to the legendary 1940s Jazz at the Philharmonic, led by jazz clarinettist Pete Long. Part of lunchtime series. 1.15pm, £7, Spice of Life, Soho. spiceoflifesoho.com

• London City Big Band plays Sinatra, Basie, Ella – with trumpeter Barney Lowe and vocalist Sarah Dowling. Doors at 6pm, music at 8pm, £10. Spice of Life, Soho. spiceoflifesoho.com

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