The mix-and-match chamber program included a flute trio by Haydn (No. 1 in C major, Hob. IV: 1); a transcription of Haydn’s symphony No. 102 for seven musicians; and, finally, Beethoven’s Septet in E Flat Major. It was, in short, the kind of concert where “a good time was had by all” – refined, sophisticated and entirely proper. (We can overlook a confused hornist, who momentarily lost track of which movement in the Beethoven Septet was to be played next.)
Perhaps TSM should be congratulated for successfully cultivating such a close, like-minded relationship with its audiences. Indeed, the festival is a triumph of niche marketing – and Salomon, who mastered the art of attracting a specific audience to a specific kind of music in London more than 200 years ago, would be impressed.
Yet this cultural symbiosis has, I think, led to an inward-looking clubbiness at TSM that may not serve its long-term interests well. And with a regime change now underway – Douglas McNabney is vacating the artistic director’s chair for the incoming Jonathan Crow – next year’s festival might be a good opportunity for organizers to find ways to include more adventurous programming without compromising on quality, and to attract a more diverse audience without alienating its current patrons.
© Colin Eatock 2016