Monday, 2 September 2013

Birthday, World Premiere, Mnemonic Suite Op.21, David Aprahamian Liddle, St Michael's Cornhill, Jamaica Wine House, Pasqua Rosee

A Liddle Treat 

Today (Monday, 2 September) marks the thirtieth year that I have been 21-years-old, writes Paul Coleman.
As a birthday treat to myself, I padded along Cornhill to St Michael's Church in the heart of the City of London - the capital's financial district - to enjoy the world premiere of David Liddle's composition, the Mnemonic Suite Op.21. It's a soulful and imaginative piece of music for organ, performed for the first time ever by the virtuoso Liddle himself (above, blue shirt). 
   Liddle's Suite is based on the eight Gregorian Psalm Tones - and its varied textures and moods brushed and blustered the air amidst St Michael's aisles, pillars and pews.

Coffee scorned
To keep the 'firsts' mood going, I'm now happily reflecting on Liddle's music in the Jamaica Wine House, a favourite City bankers' 'watering hole' right next to the church in St Michael's Alley. 
  Shall I order a coffee in a pub? Why coffee? Well, during the Jamaica Wine House's original incarnation in 1652, Pasqua Rosee, a servant of a wealthy English trader in the Levant Mediterranean area, became the first person to sell coffee to Londoners.
 'Coffee, it'll never take off in London,' said the sceptics, pouring scorn on Rosee's hot, thick liquid. 

Allez Alley
Historical records fail to regale what happened to Rosee down St Michael's Alley. Although Rosee disappeared, the Jamaica Coffee House became one of London's earliest and most famous coffee emporiums. Coffee, aided and abetted by sugar, took over London.
  The Jamaica Coffee House became a renowned meeting place for people engaged in England's vast trade in African slaves, a vicious enterprise that engulfed Africa and Caribbean sugar plantation islands like Jamaica - and enriched many powerful men in the City of London. 
   No, no coffee. It'll remind me too much of the wretched aspects of the City of London's history.
Instead, I'll have a birthday beer, please - and raise my glass to Rosee, St Michael's and to the creative force that is David Liddle.

Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, September 2013

© Words & Photos Paul Coleman 2013

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