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February. Cold, bleak and kind of nothingy unless you’re one of those types who lives for the cards, flowers, chocolates and heart-themed restaurants on please-love-me-please-please-please day: La Saint Valentin. Even our very own Bard remarked on the trials of this month: ‘That you have such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness.’ So how do we get through it? Well my agent has sent me to Antarctica to sing Purcell, Puccini and Popera to the penguins. Back home, though, there’s an absolute wealth of classical culture I’m missing out on which would definitely warm me up and fuel my senses. This is how I would spend the month…
Sat 4th February at 7.30pm, I’d head to the Apex, Bury St Edmunds for an evening of German passion (Brahms), English romanticism (Elgar), and one of the greatest symphonies ever written, Beethoven’s Eroica, with the East Anglia Chamber Orchestra.
That would see me nicely through to Saturday 11th February at 7.45pm when I’d be wanting something a bit more light-hearted and humorous: an evening of tunes and old-fashioned decency in the form of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge.
By the following weekend, if I’d survived trawling through the gooey Facebook public declarations of undying love on 14th, I’d need to reward myself with that most intimate, raw and naked of art forms: chamber music. A string quartet offering us a feast of Haydn and Beethoven at the John Innes Centre in Norwich with the acclaimed Carducci quartet, Saturday 18th February at 7.30pm.
On Saturday 25th February, now nearly through the month, I’d take myself up to that Fish & Chip shop with the long queue outside it in Aldeburgh, and then head to an afternoon of Simply Swing at Jubilee Hall at 2.30pm. Not classical, I know, but there’s nothing better than a Big Band to put a smile on your face.
And finally, if I were feeling in need of even more auditory nutrition, on Sunday 26th at 3pm I’d go to an afternoon of four feisty females, the Behn string quartet, performing as part of the Halesworth Arts Festival (www.halesworthartsfestival.org.uk).
But I can’t do any of that because I’ll be performing on a ship, dodging icebergs. Do enjoy all the wonderful concerts around to titillate the senses this February and please report back to me, via penguin post.