After blogging and a nap I headed in light rain to attend a concert at St. Martin’s-in-the-fields, an old church that fronts on Trafalgar Square, at the National Gallery’s left elbow as it were. Looking at their website I see they have the Cafe in the Crypt. So fine, I’ll eat dinner there.
By now, Saturday 6pm, the Central Line trains were as jammed as they would be at rush hour on a weekday, to my surprise. Indeed at Bond Street station, where I wanted to transfer to the Bakerloo Line, the crush on the platform was so scary-dense that I couldn’t get to the exit to Bakerloo, and had to take the “Way Out” doorway that led only to the street. So, tag out with my Oyster card, turn around, tag back in, down a different escalator to the other line. And on three stops to Charing Cross.
There’s a weird thing going on: I completely miss large obvious things. When I was around Trafalgar Square the other day, I walked up from the Horse Guards Parade and around to the National Gallery, and I never noticed the Charing Cross underground signs. When I came out of the National Gallery, I wanted an underground and couldn’t find one, ultimately taking an Uber.
Tonight, I came up out of the Charing Cross underground, one block from St. Martin’s-i-t-f, and from the street it couldn’t be more obvious. Where was it two days ago? Oh well. Unreliable narrator here, don’t trust anything I say.
The Cafe in the Crypt is actually a cafeteria. You take a tray, get some food, pick up utensils, and find a seat at one of many tables. This picture shows several things besides the general layout.
One, my dinner featured mushy peas, something I’ve only had in England and in Sydney, Australia. They’re good! Two, the desert is apple crumble, but served with a big pitcher of white sauce. That took me back. This slightly-sweet milk sauce is a standard condiment with British desserts. The IBM cafeteria where we worked in the 70s always had a big pitcher of it for you to pour over your dessert.
OK, dinner over, up the stairs to the Nave for the concert. Thanks, I guess, to my booking early–this was the first booking I made, early November–my seat was in the front row.
The musicians were the London Musical Arts Orchestra, artistic Director and conductor, John Landor. It was a sizable ensemble, harpsichord, two celli, a bass, a violist, at least six violins.
The first half of the program started with a viola concerto by Telemann, 4 movements. Doofus that I am, I neglected to get a program sheet on the way in (I don’t think I was offered one, but see above about not noticing things). So the next thing sounded real familiar and I was wondering what it was. (Pachelbel’s Canon in D) Also the next one (Bach’s Air “on the G string”). And the first half finished with Mozart’s Serenade in G (a.k.a. “Eine kliene nachtmusik”). Well, at least I knew they were familiar, even if I didn’t name them. The second half was Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. By now I had a program, so could follow along with the different movements.
I assume the musicianship was top-notch. The experience was classical, except for the wooden pew which was medieval.