London Mozart Players (LMP), who are celebrating their 75th birthday year, open their 23/24 season at Fairfield Halls with Story of the Fair Field; a concert on Saturday 7 October at Fairfield Halls. It tells the story of the venue’s development and classical music’s place in its history. LMP, who have been Resident Orchestra at Fairfield Halls since 1988, will present this concert with live narration and insights about the music.
Story of the Fair Field will feature Matilda Lloyd, one of LMP’s Education Ambassadors, as the soloist for Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E flat. The live narrator and music in this concert traces through Fairfield Halls’ history as a bustling medieval fair and LMP’s history as an orchestra set up to play Haydn and Mozart.
LMP will transport the audience back to the 13th century when Croydon’s first Fair was founded. The Fair Field of 1276 became the grounds for a Medieval Fair where people could go to trade and find entertainment such as jugglers, tumblers and men with dancing bears. The Fair continued to prosper into the Victorian era, until the authorities shut down the Fair in 1868. The Croydon population, who were so used to the exciting bustle of the Fair Field wanted to continue its legacy as a centre for entertainment. 100 years after the Fair Field was closed, Fairfield Halls opened in 1962 and became known as South London’s iconic entertainment centre.
LMP will perform Malcolm Arnold’s ‘The Fair Field Overture’, written in 1972 to celebrate Fairfield Halls’ 10th Anniversary. The music depicts the vibrant atmosphere that the Fair Field originally created. This will be followed by Four Noveletten for Strings from Coleridge-Taylor, one of Croydon’s most famous composers who has been particularly highlighted in Croydon’s year as London Borough of Culture.
To celebrate their legacy as an Orchestra originally set up to perform the works of Mozart and Haydn, LMP will then perform Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto No.1 and Mozart’s Symphony No.40.
Jonathan Bloxham LMP Conductor in Residence and Artistic Advisor, commented,
“This is such a fun programme to open our season with. Undoubtedly one of the best acoustics in London, Fairfield Halls has been such an important part of LMP’s past. We love to perform there and this diverse programme, which also highlights the orchestra’s incredible versatility of playing styles, is a great celebration of this iconic Croydon building.”
Matilda Lloyd said,
“I first performed with LMP in 2015 as the winner of the Croydon Festival Concerto Competition. It was an incredibly memorable concert for me as it was one of my first ever solos with a professional orchestra! I am absolutely thrilled to be returning to play with LMP eight years later as one of their Education Ambassadors and I can’t wait to develop my relationship with the orchestra further.”
Details of the full season can be found on LMP’s website.
Located in the heart of Croydon, Fairfield Halls is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for live theatre, cinema, classical music and interdisciplinary arts. The jewel in the heart of the venue is its 1,800-seat concert hall, whose highly acclaimed acoustics rank it among the UK’s most sought-after spaces for classical performances and recordings. The Halls has a long history of staging concerts by some of the world’s most notable classical artists and symphony orchestras.
The 2023/24 International Orchestral Concert Series has seen some of the most eminent and sought-after global ensembles come to Croydon, including the Armenian State Symphony, The Swedish Philharmonia and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. Future concerts include Concerto Budapest (12 Sept 23), the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (19 Oct 23, performing as part of This is Croydon, London Borough of Culture 23), the Symphony Orchestra of India (5 Dec 23), China Shenzen Symphony Orchestra (22 March 24), and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra (16 May 24).