Sitting majestically at the corner of Trafalgar Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields is a truly beautiful example of British architecture. Dating back as far as 1222, this grand Anglican church was rebuilt by King Henry VIII in 1542 to prevent plague victims having to passthrough his Palace of Whitehall. Its isolated position was between the cities of Westminster and London: “in the fields.”
Strolling here from Victoria Station you see some of London’s instantly recognisable landmarks. Parliament Square and Big Ben come into view as you meander along Victoria Street, passing Westminster Abbey. A sense of history fills the air as you head along Whitehall, past the war memorials and Downing Street, before reaching Trafalgar Square and St Martin-in-the-Fields. If you’ve enjoyed a meal or drink in Covent Garden the walk from the north is just as inspiring, taking in Theatreland, the Transport Museum, English National Opera, and the National Gallery.
Nowadays, this premier concert venue is associated with some of the most exquisite music you can hear in London. For over 250 years, the world’s greatest composers and musicians have graced its stage. Performances from Handel and Mozart thrilled 18th century concertgoers and in the 1950s, the renowned Academy of St Martin in the Fields was founded to host the finest ensembles, choirs and soloists in Britain.
One such event is John Landor’s “Meet The Music: Brahms.” The American-born British conductor—music director of the London Musical Arts Orchestra since its formation in 1985brings together a selection of talented musicians to recite Brahms’ Symphony no. 1 in C Minor. This incredible symphony took the German composer 21 years, from 1855 to 1876, to complete. Unique among his works, the introduction features a chaotic syncopated rhythm, woodwinds, and pizzicato strings. Oboes, flutes, and violas then accompany the cello during the second movement until finally, the third and fourth movements build to a climactic and satisfying end.
St Martin-in-the-Field’s breathtaking acoustics perfectly complement this beautiful composition, enveloping the audience in a blanket of transcendent sound. Think of a dramatic film score and you’re halfway there. And, if that’s not enough to lend us your ears, the performance is conducted by candlelight. This is a beautiful and serene location for delightful music.