Sunday, 22 May 2011


Last October, I photographed Zoe Shevlin, bassoonist, playing at Tetbury with the Academy of Ancient Music. Last night, she popped up in an enlarged Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for the final concert in this year's Newbury Spring Festival. We were invited by Sarah as a joint birthday present.

On paper, the programme looked unchallenging, symphonies by Mozart and Schubert and Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto with Artur Pizarro; but in the way Paul Daniel and the OAE tackled it, fresh sounds seemed to spring out all the time. In particular, the slow movement of the concerto came across as more sublime than ever.

It is always a pleasure to be allowed to join in such a friendly festival as Newbury's, church pews notwithstanding. The cavernous St Nicholas' in Newbury was of course packed. Sun streamed in through Hardman glass ("not good" in Pevsner's judgment), and there was still light in the sky as we drove homewards later along the M4.

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