Baroquestock and two smoking barbecues

PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 April 2017




Baroque music and food combine for a feastival in Hampstead

They’re calling it a “feastival”. And no, that’s not a typo but a fair description of the week of food and music currently running at the Heath St Baptist Church in Hampstead.

With the official name Baroquestock, it’s a marathon of over 20 concerts and 100 players, based on early, baroque repertoire (Bach, Handel, Telemann et al) and organised by the church’s music co-ordinator John-Henry Baker who, when he isn’t in church, is a double-bassist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Most of the musicians taking part in the week are also with the OAE or one of the other big-name period bands. And alongside the main concerts they’ll be offering what Baker calls Baroque Lock-ins: private concerts in a small room where, for £10, you and one or two friends (max) can play 18th century grandees at your own private performance.

But perhaps the most enticing aspect of the week will be the food. Each concert runs at breakfast, lunch or suppertime, accompanied by a meal cooked on the premises by resident chef Francesca Ter-Berg. And while most of the meals will be vegetarian, there are two events, on Sun Sunday April 30, that Baker calls BeerBratwurstBach and are effectively Bach programmes with a meaty barbeque attached.

“The food is important to the spirit of the event,” says Baker, “which we’re planning as something relaxed, informal, with the possibility of opening up baroque music to a kind of audience who might otherwise think it’s not for them.

“In any case, I like to think that as father to twenty children Bach would have enjoyed a good barbeque and been pleased to invite a few mates over to join in: perhaps even a couple of serious German composers, so they could complain about Brexit and uncertain times ahead.

“We’re recreating history here. After a fashion.”

Baroquestock runs until May 1 at Heath St Baptist Church NW3. Booking and full info:

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