World’s Finest Musicians Perform in Raphael Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Performance 16Photograph : Rebecca Reid

Just when you think you are getting blasé about streamed events, there comes along a concert that you shouldn’t ignore. 

Conductor Oliver Zeffman is young and has grand ideas. During the pandemic, he commissioned opera-film, Eight Songs from Isolation, from eight leading composers to great acclaim. With his latest project Live at the V&A, he conducts magnificent violinist Viktoria Mullova and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields orchestra, in a filmed concert performed in the newly renovated Raphael Court.

In this inspirational V&A Renaissance setting, the musicians performed without a live audience. 

Solo violinist, Mullova, was particularly fascinating to watch. Dark-haired, proud with high cheek bones and lean, muscled arms, Mullova emanated stillness. All feeling and musicality seemed channelled through her bow and fingers. Her Bach solo, mid-concert, was remarkable.

The orchestra too, with Zeffmann at its helm, played Mozart’s Third Violin Concerto like it should be played; with spirit and with poise.

 During Arva Pärt’s mesmerising Fratres (1977) the camera zoomed in on the large tableaux, on Saint Peter and Saint Paul and the expressions of the minor subjects. Pärt’s work was rendered even more beautiful and meaningful as a result.

Honegger’s idyllic Pastorale d’été wrapped up this wonderful programme.

This is compelling viewing and for those like me, who haven’t been able to get a ticket to the Raphaels, or anything else for that matter, this was more than the next best thing!

To view: Links to album streaming:


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