THE LOST PALACE: The Rise and Fall of Wanstead House
Wednesday September 28th, start time tbc
St Mary the Virgin, 1 Langley Dr, London E11 2LN ( corner of Overton Drive)
Ticket details tbc
Your chance to sit in the box pews of the largest remaining building from the glory days of Wanstead House, St Mary’s Wanstead , which is considered one of the finest Georgian churches in the country. Now you can sit in the box pews and enjoy listening to music and songs of the period and actors narrating the story of the rise and fall of Wanstead House.
The concert programme was created by musician Jonathan Pease, the Musical Director of the Aldersbrook Community Choir. Jonathan was inspired by a book entitled ‘Wanstead House: East London’s Lost Palace’, by Hannah Armstrong. Perhaps the fact that this dramatic story has its roots only a walk away in nearby Wanstead Park makes it extra resonant.
The concert tells the story of the Rise and Fall of Wanstead House in 16 consecutive songs, with the first song, ‘John Bull’, written by Galliard in 1611, marking the purchase of the estate by wealthy London merchant Sir Josiah Child. Each of the 16 songs is followed by a short narration by a local actor duo who explain the progression of the story simply and clearly to the audience. The songs range between John Dowland’s ‘O Sweet Woods’, written about Wanstead in 1600, to Purcell (1692), Handel (1717), Boyce (1790), Wellesley (1810), and Samuel Webbe ( 1805), whose song ‘Can Love be controlled by Advice?’ wittily questions the wisdom of Catherine Tilney’s unfortunate choice of husband. Songs by Poole, Handel again (1746) Martini (1784) and Boyce reflect the glory days of William Wellesley as he romped his way through Catherine’s fortune. He fell into so much debt that this magnificent house and contents had to be auctioned off and the house demolished. The concert ends with songs by Rossini (1821), Crotch ( 1840), Bramhall, Shearing (199 and finally Stanford (1898) who celebrate the saving of the Forest and Park by the City of London for all of us to enjoy.
Aldersbrook Community Choir is an adult community group open to all voices which provides members with the opportunity of singing a variety of choral works. This variety is amply illustrated by the 16 very different songs in this concert.