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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Monday March 24 2008

In the Evening Standard last Wednesday, a big article, with a picture of Daniel Barenboim at the top - which was what got me reading it, in the paper version - starting like this:

Half a mile north of King’s Cross, behind a spectacular, rippling glass facade, a gleaming Xanadu named King’s Place is rising out of the urban wasteland.  There are offices, galleries, and canal side restaurants with, magically, for the money-lenders, the new St Pancras Eurostar link down the road.

Rippling glass facade?  North of King’s Cross?  That would be this:

imageimage

imageI snapped those on March 4th.  I pass this thing every time I walk from Kings Cross railway station to Kings Cross Supplementary.  To make the point about Eurostar being just nearby, I snapped the one on the right here only seconds later.  That pointy thing on the left is the roof of what St Pancras Eurostar, with the even pointier thing behind it being the Post Office Tower.

So, then, what about this rippling facade just down the road from Kings Cross Supplementary?  And what has it to do with Daniel Barenboim?

But one aspect of this development, arguably its most important, has barely merited comment.  A state-of-the-art 420 seat auditorium, designed by Dixon Jones, architects of the Royal Opera House, and described by the site’s visionary developer Peter Millican as “a jewel box”, opens with a five day festival in October.

Yes, come to think of it, I do recall reading on the outside of this edifice something about a concert hall being included in among it.

Understandably, it’s being marketed as a “music venue”, embracing everything from bongo to bass viol.  But those in the know scoff as such weasel words.  The fact that the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the London Sinfonietta will have their homes here gives it away.  To state plainly: London is about to get a new concert hall.

Die crossover philistines!  Tremble before the classics, World Music wankers!  Taxpayers, hand over your wallets!  You know that authentically period performances of obscure Haydn operas sung in a manner you consider ridiculous, and modernistical weirdnesses reverently performed by a small ensemble of Boulezy obsessives, are good for you!

Fiona Maddocks goes on to rhapsodise about how the audience for live classical music is growing, and better yet, is starting to look cool instead of just decaying.  The opposite of looking like me, in other words: sleek, stylish, young.  The Barenboim connection (Barenboim is even more ancient than me) is that Barenboim’s latest London venture, a complete cycle of the Beethoven piano sonatas as the Royal Festival Hall, sold out in the blink of an eye, and is being raved about by all who have attended.

So if, by the time they open this thing I’m still going to Kings Cross Supplementary, I might take in the odd concert on the way back.