Get a personalised letter from Santa

Orchestra, opera and Shakespeare with Belsize Baroque

PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 September 2016

Belsize Baroque.  Picture: ANTANAS MARTINKUS

Belsize Baroque. Picture: ANTANAS MARTINKUS

Archant

If you didn’t know it already, this part of London has its own, home-grown baroque band, founded in 2002 by a music-loving lawyer called Susan Cooksley

If you didn’t know it already, this part of London has its own, home-grown baroque band, founded in 2002 by a music-loving lawyer called Susan Cooksley who has since abandoned the business of supervising high-value City transactions and surrendered her life to music full-time.

“The band started”, she explains, “with a few friends rehearsing at my flat in Belsize Park, which is why we hit on the name Belsize Baroque. It’s nicely alliterative. And it references the fact that during the 18th Century Belsize Park was a pleasure garden – not unlike the one south of the river at Vauxhall – where there would have been music. The kind of music that Belsize Baroque plays today, on period instruments and at period pitch, which is about a semitone lower than modern pitch”.

Anybody interested in what that means to the resulting sound should take note of two concerts Belsize Baroque has coming up at its local church, St Peter’s Belsize Square.

On October 2 there’s a straightforward orchestral programme with works by Bach, Telemann and Boyce. And on October 8 there’s a link-up with the newly formed Belsize Opera for a programme of music by Purcell (conducted by Louis Mander), and words by Shakespeare (supplied by actor Theo Devaney and friends).

Both dates are part of the St Peter’s Arts Festival, and feature young musicians in receipt of bursaries from Belsize Baroque under a scheme to give players fresh from college the chance of a public platform.

And if it’s indeed the case that the music in these programmes could have been heard in the Belsize pleasure garden three hundred years ago, it will probably get a more civilised reception this time round.

The Belsize garden was a place, as Susan Cooksley says, “where high and low life met face-on. And it became so low-life that the local residents eventually had it closed down on the grounds that it attracted lewd and rough behaviour. By the end, things got so bad that you were advised to hire escorts on your way back to central London, to fight off highwaymen and robbers”.

By comparison the 268 bus, which stops right outside St Peter’s, is a paradigm of safety, charm and comfort.

Oct 2 starts early, at 6.30. Oct 8 starts 7.30. Tickets on the door.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

09:00

Hampstead & Westminster had a National League win double at Maida Vale to maintain their fine start to the season.

08:00

London All-Stars and London Titans are gearing up for an epic weekend of wheelchair basketball, as the Lord’s Taverners Junior Leagues returns for the 2018/19 season.

16 minutes ago

Campaigners against the 100 Avenue Road development suffered a major blow last night as Camden voted through a controversial plan that will funnel lorries through residential streets in Swiss Cottage.

Yesterday, 19:00

Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira says the intense rivalry between Uruguay and Brazil will make their encounter at the Emirates Stadium a competitive and full-blooded affair.

Yesterday, 18:00

Gallagher, the proud title partner of Premiership Rugby, has launched a nationwide competition for community rugby clubs to win a training session coached by their local Gallagher Premiership Rugby club.

Yesterday, 17:35

The families left homeless by the fire that destroyed the upper floors of Willow House in East Finchley last week said Barnet Council treated them “like ants to be squashed” in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

Yesterday, 17:00

Wingate & Finchley will play their fifth consecutive away match on Saturday, but they go into it bang in form

Yesterday, 16:19

Second in the series is a mid-franchise muddle of convoluted back stories with some stunning sequences

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now