Another twelve months have sped by, and it was time for the 2018 May Bank Holiday concert performed by the Aspidistra Drawing Room Orchestra, which took place once again in the Gallery of Lauderdale House, Highgate Hill, in North London. This house has a long history; it dates from 1582 and was briefly the home of King Charles II 's mistress, the famous (infamous ?) Nell Gwyn, whose ghost is reputed to haunt the building even unto this day !
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A rather chilly Monday May 30th saw the 2016 Spring Bank Holiday Concert given by the Aspidistra Drawing Room Orchestra. This was their fifteenth consecutive event and, after a number of years at Lauderdale House in Highgate, for this year the concert returned to its original ‘home’, Burgh House in Hampstead. This has a fine, if somewhat compact, music room, which was totally filled to capacity; this did not deter the audience from enjoying a really splendid afternoon of high quality ‘Palm Court’ music.
This was my first concert seeing this very talented group of musicians, and I was impressed!
They aim to play what was once popular "light music" from the Edwardian and inter-war era, and also some more recent tunes from the 1950's and 1960's.
It reminded my in many ways of listening to some of the music on Alan Keith's programme "Your Hundred Best Tunes" which ran on Radio 2 for many years from 1959.
We were very glad to have come across the CD of the Aspidistra Drawing Room Orchestra when we were editing "The Producer Prince" and were quick to chose it as the background music for our film. "The Producer Prince" is a documentary based on interviews with Prince Alessandro Tasca di Cuto, the son of an illustrious Sicilian family.
Born in 1906, he was brought up in the splendour of his forebear's baroque palaces. Sadly, his father squandered the family fortunes and died penniless in 1927.
One of the highlights of the Positive News Midsummer Fair, held at Shakespeare’s Globe, was the Palm Court Orchestra, Aspidistra, playing in the garden of the neighbouring Cardinal's Wharf. Seated on a platform placed over the pond, in front of the evocative ruined folly, they played an array of Palm Court music.
The seventeen century house and garden right next door to the Globe had been opened to visitors of the fair, creating an oasis of ‘turn of the century’ calm.
"We were delighted when Aspidistra was available for our Civil Partnership party in January (06).
It added a wonderful atmosphere to our celebration buffet supper at the Reform Club. Our friends still comment on it. - Roger & Marcus".
It is hard to believe that it is now five years since Aspidistra first appeared on the lawn to give our tea party a bit of a zing. You have been instrumental (pun definitely intended) in doing that ever since and for that we are very grateful.
Please do thank all the members of the orchestra for us for being so kind and willing to help out. We so enjoy having you with us. It is nice to hear the repertoire grow with each succeeding year.
You are amazing and our guests adore you. So please do count on us next year.
Saturday night was the turn of the Aspidistra Drawing Room Orchestra: an enchanting discovery for those who had not already had the pleasure of hearing them.
This lively seven-piece group (string quartet, piano, flute and oboe, joined for some pieces by a guest vocalist and bassoonist) played a wonderful variety of light classical music: from cheeky and amusing to wistful and moving, providing a most entertaining and enjoyable evening.