Monday, October 29, 2007

Neil Latchman and Alessandro Belotto in an intimate concert at St. Mary's Church in Ealing.

I met Alessandro Belotto when I was living in Beirut. Since the mid 90's Alessandro has visited Lebanon almost every year, giving organ concerts for the Maronite community of that country. This Italian pianist currently lives in London, and he was one of the reasons my travel was not a total disaster; his friendship and the concert I am writing about were part of my best moments during my stay in London.

Alessandro invited me to what he called "a very short concert at the hall of St. Mary's Church in Ealing.". He would play the piano and Neil Latchman, the tenor, would sing, it would be only 5 songs.

Ealing is situated West, almost outside London; it is a quiet place, with beautiful streets and kind people; once I arrived to the city, after the train station, I started to feel the taste of a village in the province; walking through those streets on my way to the Church was a real pleasure.

St. Mary's Church is a historical sight; its site on the internet says: 'There has been a church building on this site for nearly a thousand years; excavations during the 19th century unearthed solid blocks of stone and ornamental work suggesting that a Norman building stood here.' But the current church was rebuilt and almost built anew in the 19th century, even if it now keeps the basic structure of a 17th century one. Its tower bell looks impressive in the middle of the village and from its balcony it is possible to have a wonderful view over London.

This concert was part of the schedule of some regular cultural activities the church organizes every weekend and that Saturday 29th there were more musical events in the program. There is no more interest than bringing to the community a little bit of high quality classical music; publicity lies only in the priest's voice during mass and on the church's blackboard. Neither Belotto nor Latchman charged for it.

You will notice in the videos that people walked around, some children were playing or even crying; but you must remember that it was just a Saturday afternoon (the concert was at 2 pm), whoever passed by was invited and if they were interested, then they would take a seat and would listen. It is interesting watching (and listening) how Belotto and Latchman dealt musically with that noise.

It was an unforgettable afternoon, many factors joined to make that time seem unforgettable, but the mere opportunity to listen to the voice of Latchman and Belotto's interpretation is worth for its own artistic quality.

This was the program:

St. Mary's Church, Ealing, London.
Open Day, Saturday 29th, September 2007.
14:00 hrs

Neil Latchman - Tenor

Alessandro Belotto - Piano

- Son Tutta duolo (Aria)
Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725)

- Non t'amo piu
Francesco Paolo Tosti (1846-1916)

- 'A Vucchela
Francesco Paolo Tosti (1846-1916)

- I'll Walk Beside You
Alan Murray (1890-1922)

- Somebody Bigger than You and I
Johnny lange (1905-2006)

- You may have noticed that these videos were not posted in Youtube, and that is because the Chinese government blocked the site many days ago. Vimeo has been a good option till now.
- There is a mistake inside the videos, it is not Alessandro Benotto, it is Alessandro "Belotto". Sorry about that.

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