A landmark in Trafalgar Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields was London’s first free-lending library, is home to one of the world’s foremost chamber ensembles (The Academy of St Martin in the Fields), and puts on hundreds of classical music concerts each year. This past Friday, St Martin-in-the-Fields played host to the Brandenburg Sinfonia and Vivace Chorus, both of whom delighted the audience with a performance of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 and the famous Requiem by candlelight.

© Brandenburg Sinfonia 2011
© Brandenburg Sinfonia 2011

Sitting inside the historic church with tea lights twinkling in every corner, the entire concert was beautiful to both watch and hear. Throughout the Violin Concerto No. 3, the melody in the first violin rang out brilliantly, echoing off the church’s archaic walls. Whether soloist Nazrin Rashidova played alone, in harmony with other violinists or alongside the whole of the Brandenburg Sinfonia, she executed each musical phrase with sophistication and grace. The most touching moment occurred at the end of the piece, when instead of concluding with a spectacular tonic chord, the music dropped off quickly, ending with a soft cadence played by the oboes.

Throughout the celebrated Requiem, the dimmed lighting in the church only contributed to its spooky character. Famously known as the piece Mozart left incomplete on his deathbed, the Brandenburg Sinfonia, Vivace Chorus and four soloists charmed the audience with their breadth of sounds. The rich, velvety voices of David Shipley and Angharra Lyddon provided a unique contrast to the delightful Nicholas Scott and Nathalie Chalkley, further enhancing the mystical quality of the Requiem overall. In unison, the Brandenburg Sinfonia and Vivace Chorus were exciting and inspiring, achieving an ambiance worthy of this illustrious Mass.

A packed house, St. Martin-in-the-Fields’ concert by candlelight proved to be an enchanting Friday evening.