We were a few minutes away from booking in to our Newton Abbot Premier Inn on the third of our ten day jaunt inspired by Pet Shop Boys’ ‘Go West’. A quick dip into the muddy waters of the local Tesco left us at the checkouts becoming increasingly aware of an insistent thudding coming from the race course. The race course which is so near to being the front garden of our chosen hotel as makes no difference.
“It’s a pop festival. Mostly Drum and Bass… which, of course, is anathema to you and me, sir,” I was informed by our presumptuous checkout chap.
“Ah, that’s the music which my sons grew up with and which I enjoyed along with them. We stayed in Bristol last night. You know, home of trip hop...”
I saw the beginnings of a glazed expression forming on our server’s face which had nothing to do with Class A drugs. I decided to deflect the situation by asking if our purchase had exceeded the contactless card limit.
Settling in to Room 314 we certainly were close to the sonic action. But it was that frustrating closeness which only allows a muffled (if insistent) version of the full experience. Never mind. We were destined for different musical expression that night.
My header picture is of the screen at the church of St Peter, St Paul and St Thomas of Canterbury. It formed the backdrop to a gloriously varied programme of works. Four consummate musicians were illuminated on a raised platform in front of it. Their performance was undeniably special but it seemed to be elevated to even higher spheres by the setting.
I am not a religious person but I have some knowledge of its imagery from studying art history. As I listened I could not escape a reference to one of my favourite paintings, ‘The Adoration of the Magi’ by Gentile da Fabriano. I am not properly qualified to give you a professional critique of what we heard from perfectly pitched strings that night but for me it had all the colour, depth, detail, richness and achingly fine execution of this High Gothic masterpiece.
Time to do an ABBA as 'I Let The Music Speak'. I have created a playlist of the concert programme. If you click anywhere on the picture below you will hear the works which I heard (not all Brodsky performances... sorry)
There were programme notes for the night which can be found here.
This was not part of the main ‘Nourish’ festival but I urge you to consider that as a diary date in September. You will get musical delights as well as crafts and food. You will not get the Brodsky Quartet again this year but Ian Wellens has organised much splendid music.
On our night in the church he introduced the Brodsky Quartet to us with enough suppressed reverence and emotion to suggest that we were in for a treat. It was indeed a very special treat.
* I have to add a final tribute here to the Mrs. Cheoff who is Jan. This concert was just one of the things she found and included in our wonderful ten day exploration of the West Country -xx-