Concert at St Olave’s Church
People are often surprised to discover just how many wonderful classical concerts there are in and around the city of London on weekday lunchtimes, often with free entrance and a retiring collection for the church or charity.
From the point of view of the audience, a free lunchtime recital usually lasts about 45 minutes, commonly starting just after 1pm. People can take a breathing space in their lunch hour and hear a short programme of classical music before returning to work, hopefully refreshed and uplifted. Some churches (but not all) even allow audience members to eat their sandwiches during the concert – and concert goers vary between office workers, retired people, tourists or regular members of the church congregation, all seeking a pause to forget the hustle and bustle of daily life and enjoy classical music.
Many of the performers in free lunchtime concerts are music students or recent graduates, keen to gain experience playing in front of an audience. From the point of view of a professional musician, these concerts also offer the perfect opportunity to develop programmes of music, hone performance skills and also test out newer repertoire – perhaps before going on to play it in a paid concert at a later date.
St Olave’s Church is a historic medieval building located near to the Tower of London with a beautiful acoustic and firmly established lunchtime concert series. We were delighted to play there on Thursday and performed two String Duos by Spohr and Mozart for Violin and Viola, both of which were really enjoyed by the audience.
Of all the churches where we play, St Olave’s certainly gave us one of the warmest welcomes and we’ve already offered to go back, perhaps next time with the full string quartet.