Bath time for Baroque

It’s not every night that the Mayor of Bath’s limousine rolls up at your doorstep for a chauffeur-driven ride into town in the company of the current holder of that ancient title, Cllr Rob Appleyard.

He’s someone l count as a personal friend and, when the Mayoress found herself with other duties, was kind enough to invite me – as his guest – to a Christmas concert with the Carolean Consort, at St Michael’s Church.

This is a West Country ensemble of professional young musicians who have acquired national and international reputations in the field of baroque music.

We sat through a magical evening of music from Baroque masters including excerpts from Handel’s Messiah.

The programme also featured a selection of 20th century carols by Peter Warlock, Michael Head and Tom Clarke. There was also a sparkling harpsichord concerto by Thomas Chilcott, who was organist at Bath Abbey in the mid-18th century.

The recital was held under the auspices of Bath Recitals – a local charity that aims to provide a platform for young professional musicians at the start of their careers.

From solo performers to chamber groups and orchestras, Bath Recitals has staged nearly 600 events with young professional musicians, many from leading conservatories both from this country and abroad.

Working in partnership with various organisations including The Carne Trust, Bath Recitals now stages six events a year at St Michael’s Church in Broad Street, Bath.

Tom Clarke, the founder and artistic director of the charity – Bath Recitals Artists Trust – is now its president following on from Sir Peter Pears, Sir Charles Groves and Sir Charles Mackerras.