London’s Conway Hall as Concert Venue
It was, for me, hugely nostalgic to return after fifty years to the Conway Hall in Red Lion Square. The Hall, a redoubtable fortress – I was going to say spiritual home – in London of rationalism, humanism and atheism was the place where in the early 1960s I learned to love chamber music. The concert series have been running there since 1880s, and when London provided little alternative cultural opportunities on early Sunday evenings you could turn up there and have a real treat for (was it?) three shillings and sixpence. The acoustics were wonderful. They still are, but I miss the rows of comfortable turn-up wooden seating. Was the concert I heard on this nostalgia trip a let down? No, just the contrary. The Artea Quartet played Mendelssohn, Schulhoff and Schubert with flair, precision and much excitement. They drew every bit of musical drama out of the pieces and were loudly cheered by the audience at the end. They certainly had me on the edge of my (plastic) seat.