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Winds at Regent Hall, London.

The indefatigable oboist Catherine Pluygers has maintained her annual festival for many years, but Regent Hall, formerly a skating rink (now the only Church in one of the busiest West End shopping streets) fails to attract audiences to its regular series of classical music events.

On Friday there were a score or so of us, a proportion of those some of the composers being featured. Those are mostly good professionals, as were the performers, but not representatives of the fashionable "cutting edge" fraternity to be found at Kings Place on Mondays.

Some were young students, and almost everything given was well worth a hearing, especially as programmed in successions of short pieces, a couple of them with slides and CDs accompanying the instruments.

None to pick out as "essential" in the Kings Place Out Hear sense though. They were punctuated by short groups of Howard Skempton Reflections, tiny piano pieces in his familiar minimalissimo manner; their vogue mystifies me...

There were solos, duos and ensembles (quintet L, with Pluygers on oboe). I enjoyed best though a flute study for trills and extended techniques, which Simon Desorgher warned might be too loud for some of us. It wasn't, and related nicely to the pioneering work for contemporary oboe that Chris Redgate has been doing, showcased at RAM.

See Simon improvising at The Barbican, and a YouTube reminder of his Colourscape Music Festival on Clapham Common which we reviewed long ago (an amazing six-minute video to refresh memories).

At lunchtime the same day, we had been to Regent Hall to hear an interesting programme curated by Stephen Maw who, against the odds, has built up regular capacity audiences for lunchtime concerts in Charlton. It must have been rather daunting for these experienced musicians to look down from the high stage upon a similarly small audience.

Of their novelties, that by Graham Sheen himself was the more successful, but the concert lacked the the more intense projection to listeners that might have saved the day, and which was better done by Trinity College students at Charlton * (q.v. Julia Bishop's advice in a Trinity masterclass).

The trio revived a welcome pot-pourri of tunes from Hérold's once famous opera Zampa, and to end gave a rare airing to a substantial trio by Glinka, who had been featured at the Charlton concert linked below.

Peter Grahame Woolf

* q.v. "A splendid concert of music for ensembles by Bax, Glinka etc, devised by Stephen Maw, who has built up a loyal lunch-time audience of c. 100 at the lovely library of Charlton House."