Wigmore Hall


‘The Wigmore’ was busy for this BBC lunchtime recital by Ruby Hughes, Natalie Clein and Julius Drake, which included my recent commission On the Palmy Beach, and some other unusual rep. A daringly sparse voice-cello duo by John Tavener, Akhmatova Songs, particularly took my ear.

I left the Hall determined not to take such BBC institutions as this regular Monday live broadcast for granted. At the Wigmore, all tickets were minimally priced, while for daytime concerts by BBC ensembles, tickets are free via BBC Shows. For performers and composers, having a live broadcast of your work, audible internationally, is another great boon. (I only wish such material was legally downloadable from BBC Sounds, for a competitive fee of course.)

BBC host Fiona Talkington passingly mentioned, as part of her introduction, that both Ruby and Natalie had once been Radio 3 New Generation Artists. This generous and imaginative scheme has been, for twenty years, a crucial foundation of classical music performance, and also deserves our active gratitude. The list of all the performers supported by NGA over two decades is quite astonishing.

Pictured – in the Wigmore Green Room. When I was younger and occasionally entered this ‘teure Halle’ I used to find the people in the portraits interesting but prehistoric-looking. Nowadays, many of them look contemporary, and I feel I attended their performances only a short time ago. Maybe the pictures have had an edit, but it could be my classical music version of “the policemen are all looking younger these days ”.

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JUDITH WEIR

Composer