Fretton's cleverly curated one-hour programme alternated single movements from Bach's works for solo violin (Ibragimova) and cello (Bartholomew LaFolette) with Gyorgy Kurtag's arresting epithets Hommage a JSB, The Carenza Jig and Perpetuum Mobile B. A brace of crowd-pleasing Reich percussion pieces framed the cool chromatics of the 25th Goldberg variation. Britten's Ciaccona preceded Webern's elliptical Movement for String Trio, and Bach's Violin Concerto in E - a pun for the more experienced clubbers, perhaps - was followed by Gweneth-Ann Jeffers's luxuriant account of Purcell's "When I am laid in Earth".
Sussie Ahlburg's Stieglitz-lite projections of wintry trees and bicycles were unobtrusively evocative of something, though what that something was was unclear. Lost love? Alienation? Athena posters? Either way, they personalised the architecture, echoed the interplay of modern and baroque style, and drew the eye back to the musicians. As the mavens of classical music use jazz and world music as a spoonful of sugar to help the Mendelssohn go down, it seems that Fretton has found a way to introduce people to serious music without diluting it or patronising them. He needs to fine-tune the details: to ensure that the bar is adequately supplied, to tighten DJ Eleanor Wilson's odd-ball ambient bran-tub, adjust the lighting, and perhaps put in a few tables and chairs for those of us whose pins are not what they were. But Fretton has established a venue where musicians will want to play. And when they do, people will come. AP
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