How would you guess that, poised right behind the exhausting 6-lane Great West Road pouring pollution into poor old Hammersmith, lies a whole suburb of delightful Regency villas, beautifully maintained, and overlooked by St Peter’s Church (1829) ? It was to this lovely building that we picked our way for Il Corpo Cantante’s concert. Where we learned that this was the first concert to happen since a major restoration to the church building, which indeed looked particularly fresh and sparkling. My eye (and later, ear) was captured by the friendly organ case, and by the vivid, clear sounds being produced, despite the presumably great age of the equipment. Organist David Coram explained that when he first encountered the instrument, it was largely clapped-out, so he had found it necessary to rebuild it himself. Really, you have to admire the British organ-playing profession, they are such a resourceful bunch.
Ashley Stafford (a singer with whom I had the honour of working, years ago, at Kent Opera) created Il Corpo Cantante Voices out of his extensive group of professional students. His musical perspective is twinned with his linked profession as a musicians’ osteopath; which I’m sure contributed to the extreme freedom and warmth of the choral sound. Topping the bill was Finnish soprano Margit Tuokko,visiting from Helsinki, who gave a strikingly rich and confident performance of King Harald’s Saga. She must now be the world champion of this difficult feat, having sung the piece so many times in the last decade or more. Hearing several of my own compositions performed amidst such visual and aural beauty left me feeling quite ecstatic; until it was time to venture out into the un-lovely West London traffic once again, and real-life settings were restored.