London Mozart Players return with ‘revamp’ of the Messiah

The London Mozart Players, the “resident orchestra” of the Fairfield Halls that has been notable by their rare concert appearances at the council-owned venue in the last three years, has now published its performance dates into 2023, including what they call “the flagship opening event of the Borough of Culture”.

Travelling band: the London Mozart Players, once again not at the Fairfield Halls…

LMP’s Fairfield season begins on October 9 with “The World of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor”.

Joined by the Royal Choral Society and the Croydon Philharmonic Choir, LMP say that they “reimagine for a modern audience” the Croydon-born composer’s “Hiawatha”, and say that they are “exploring Coleridge-Taylor’s Croydon connections and his experience of being a black composer in Edwardian London”.

This concert is completed with works from Coleridge-Taylor’s contemporaries, including Elgar and Vaughan Williams.

As well as “reimagining” Coleridge-Taylor, the London Mozart Players have decided that Handel needs “revamping”, too.

Plucky performer: world-renowned Sheku-Kanneh-Mason will be playing with LMP again in February

What they call “Messiah 360” (where the audience sits around the orchestra) due to be staged on December 17 is, the LMP says, “a brand-new presentation of Handel’s big hit… in an immersive experience, showcasing the work from all angles”.

Yes: someone in their marketing department really did describe it as “Handel’s big hit”.

Prior to the controversial refurb of the Fairfield Halls, the London Mozart Players had deserted their home concert hall. Their return, with the re-opening of the Halls in 2019, has so far appeared a little half-hearted (they have performed more often at St Martin in the Fields in 2022 than they have in Croydon), although the 2022-2023 programme does appear to offer a more substantive commitment to the Fairfield, with a range of performances of new works.

It includes Anna Lapwood performing Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No3 in what they call “Pipe Dreams”, where a camera is “quite literally” (their words) placed inside the organ, “to reveal the hidden intricacies of the instrument”. This concert will also include Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”.

Well organised: Anna Lapwood will be delving into the Fairfield’s organ

Cellist Sheku-Kanneh Mason teams up with the LMP once again, for a concert next February “Building Blochs and Birkenstocks” performing Bloch’s “Schelomo”.

The “Oratorio of Hope”, what the LMP says is “a brand new commission for the Borough of Culture”, is to be performed on June 1, 2 and 3 next year, “three concerts… which showcase the very best of Croydon’s young talent through music, spoken word, song, dance and visual art.” There is no trace of these concerts yet to be found on the Fairfield Halls bookings website.

“We are delighted to be re-affirming our partnership with Fairfield Halls in this incredibly exciting Borough of Culture year,” Flynn Le Brocq, the London Mozart PLayers’ chief exec, said.

“Fairfield Halls is a beacon of culture in south London and we are looking forward to presenting one of our most varied musical seasons to date.”

Full details of the season can be found on LMP’s website.

The LMP says that tickets are now on sale, although at the time of publication, not all of its trailed concerts appeared to be available on the Fairfield Halls bookings site.

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