Lord Mayor's Gala Concert with LSO, St. Paul's Cathedral

Tuesday 14th March 2017

As soon as this was announced in early January I booked our seats - one of my favourite symphonies with the Lord Mayor as soloist in his 'Parish Church' had to be a must, whatever the deadline at work was going to be like. The tickets were "organised" by Eventbrite and appeared via an app on my 'phone - all very well, but not one member of staff seemed have have a clue what they entitled us to and so, having been referred around the houses, we ended up in the crypt at St. Paul's for the gala reception and were pleased to bump into David Moss and his wife Fiona Adler, both looking significantly more glamourous than my lounge suited options. I also had a quick chat with the LM himself, resplendant in his "work clothes". Mananging to get a glass of fizz, we heard a speech by the Lady Mayoress and then, filing past Nelson and Wellington, ended up in the body of the cathedral above. Contacts are useful things and so we spotted IPM Chris Allen in tails and chain running the sidesmen as they're called and he kindly saw us to the right seats. The orchestra (the London Symphony no less) and choir assembled and then, from the back of the building there was a loud fanfare, responded to by the organ and then in unison.. then a loud drum kept time and, with the audience now on its feet we were treated to the Lord Mayor making his entrance accompanied by a full body guard of the Cities Musketeers and Pikemen in full 17th Century dress, with scarlet stockings and lobster tail helmets, each with a matchlock or 12ft pike - very impressive! The LM took his place by the organ console (they don't need to be attached to the pipes these days, so it sort of faced us left of stage). The first item was Parry's "I was Glad", followed by a stunning rendition of Allegri's "Miserere" - the two choir boy soloists could have cut through glass with their top c's! this was followed by the Coronation Te Deum by Walton. At last we came to the main event - Saint-Saën's third symphony, known as the "organ" symphony, it might just as well have been called the 'piano' as he was experimenting with both instruments throughout, but perhaps the organ is the most dominant... Most of you will have heard some or all of this lovely composition - used extensively by Hollywood, most notably for the "Babe" pig films of 20 years ago, nothing can compare to hearing it live with a real organ in use. Whilst technically two movements, they're structured so that it feels like the traditional four, each a mini masterpiece. The fourth steals the show though, opening as it does with a mighty and extended chord on the organ which the orchestra responds to building up to a huge finale with timpani and cymbals going hell for leather - if you like a rousing finales, this is one for you! With the job done (there was no interval), the LM took a bow and couple of curtain calls and then marched off to dinner at Plaisterer's Hall where those with far deeper pockets than I were following, I'm sure they had a grand time. For our part, we bumped into a number of our Company - but not all I hear - and so with Ralph, Maureen, Camilla, Sandra and Elise Rasmussen, we went to find fodder at Cafe Rouge, but not before we had a snap taken with IPM Chris.. Hearty congratulations to Dr. Parmley for making such a splendid fist of it all - as Eric Morcambe might (not) have said, he "played all the right notes... and in the right order"!