Several London ensembles received an email last month from the celebrated church in Trafalgar Square saying that outside promoters would no longer be permitted to give concerts in the venue.
That leaves tourists and city workers without music at lunchtime, ending a tradition that goes back to the mists of time.
What would Neville Marriner have made of it?
A list of the expelled ensembles can be found on this petition.
Chris Grist, artistic director of London Concertante, tells us: ‘I was so disheartened to hear of the news from St Martin-in-the-Fields; the arts industry needs to be opening doors right now rather than closing them. The arts industry and musicians have been incredibly creative in reaching out to their audiences digitally and I too want to give culture-lovers that vital opportunity to experience the live performances that they have craved throughout this period of lockdown. Therefore, I have decided to, very literally, open our doors at my home and London Concertante’s head office, as we invite smaller socially distanced audiences to enjoy a summer series from my garden.’
London Concertante were due to perform at St Martin-in-the-Fields on August 1; the Secret Garden Concerts series will start on August 2.