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Michael White’s music news: Mullovs at Fidelio Orchestra Cafe; Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields; Ex Cathedra

25 September, 2020 — By Michael White

Viktoria Mullova and Mischa Mullov-Abbado

She is one of the world’s most celebrated classical violinists. He is a charismatic young jazz bassist and composer, who happens to be her son. And between them Viktoria Mullova and Mischa Mullov-Abbado make an unusual duo whose approach to music comes from different places but meets in a new CD, Music We Love, which launches this week on the Onyx label.

In better times, a launch like this would be marked by hard partying of a kind all but forgotten under Covid. But not to be outdone, the Mullovs are marking the event with a three-night residency at the Fidelio Orchestra Café in Clerkenwell where, from Tuesday to Thursday (September 29-October 1) they’re playing music from the new album to a live audience.

What you’ll get is a sort of classical/jazz cabaret embracing everything from Bach and Schumann to Brazilian mood-music and Mischa’s own compositions. And if you wonder how that fits together, it fits strangely well.

Mullova’s background as a star of Soviet Russia who escaped, dramatically, to the West back in the 1980s is well-known. Mischa’s story is less familiar, but his musical genes are impeccable (his father was the conductor Claudio Abbado) and he’s attracted serious attention since he emerged on the jazz scene, taken up as a Radio 3 New Generation Artist and issuing two engaging discs in that genre.

The deal at the Café is you buy a meal and get the music, which starts at 7pm. You have to book. And details are on the website: fideliorchestra.art/whats-on


The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is a big name on the world orchestral circuit though one that always baffled visitors to London, who came expecting to hear it play at the Trafalgar Square church and were disappointed to find it rarely did. But any visitors there might still be in these terrible times will be pleased to know that the Academy is back, as part of an initiative to upgrade St Martin’s concert life. The Academy has launched an autumn series called Re:connect, running on alternate Saturdays with a live audience – though the concerts will also be streamed afterwards on the ASM website. This coming Saturday (September 26) has Bach, Messiaen, Copland, Mozart, and the programme repeats at 5pm and 7.30pm. Recommended. Booking and details: stmartin-in-the-fields.org

For many of us, the most painful miss in Covid times is choral music. And though things are edging back toward normality – for example, you can now hear a small professional choir sing Mass settings at 10am on Sunday mornings at All Hallows, Gospel Oak: a brave gesture, done with careful adherence to the rules – it’s a slow process. So check out one of my favourite choirs, the wonderful Ex Cathedra, who had to cancel their 50th anniversary concert but decided to transfer it online. These things don’t always work, but Ex Cathedra have come up with a spectacle of sound and vision that’s a testament to their achievements through the years. Just Google “Youtube ex cathedra” and you won’t be disappointed. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEkZ7sTuu16GZesq6mY1U7A

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