Toad Lane Concerts: John Nancarro bass singer with David Hammond piano

Date published: 05 May 2024

St Mary in the Baum resounded to the sonorous tones of bass singer John Nancarro, ably accompanied by pianist David Hammond on Wednesday 1 May. John has been entertaining around the world for 30 years with a ‘combination of music, cameo, impersonation, monologue, and recollection’.

John loves to embellish his singing with interesting introductions and anecdotes. His first set of songs consisted of wonderful examples of nineteenth century German lieder by Robert Schumann and Schubert.

Pianist David Hammond grew up in Thame, Oxfordshire, and has been working in York as a musician since graduating from the University of York in 2002. He plays for concerts and exams, with soloists to choirs and ceilidh bands; and now runs the York Unitarian Chapel Friday concert series.

David contributed a middle set of pieces for piano solo. The moving, An einsamer Quelle (At a lonely spring), an early piano work by Richard Strauss, was followed by works by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla, all excellently played.

The pair then transported us back to the rich world of the British music hall that blossomed in Victorian times and well into the twentieth century. Gus Elen’s ‘A great big shame’, and ‘If it wasn’t for the houses in between’, were redolent of a simpler time. This varied and enjoyable journey culminated in a rousing finale with Devonshire Cream and Cider by Curzon and Sanderson.

The Queen’s Award-winning Toad Lane Concerts are every Wednesday at 12.30pm at St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. Entrance fee is £6. No refreshments available. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.

To see details of forthcoming Toad Lane Concerts, click here.

Dr Joe Dawson

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