Victoria Baths Vivaldi & Mozart

Two days ago I posted about our 30th wedding anniversary meal.. We are very fortunate to celebrate our anniversary twice every year, if you want to know why, read a previous post “I married the girl of my dreams twice” This evening we attended a very unusual concert that was gifted us by our children as an anniversary present.

In the centre of Manchester is an old Victorian swimming baths. Built 1903 – 1906 and closed in 1993 despite residents fighting hard to keep it open. With years of neglect a lifeline was thrown (pun intended) in 2003 when a BBC show enabled restoration funding. The building is still being restored and occasionally they fill the remaining pool with water for swimming, but it is generally used as a private events venue.

String Quartet

Presented by event organisers FEVER we were seeing a string quartet perform pieces by Vivaldi and Mozart…

Victoria Baths

Arriving at the baths the building is instantly impressive. Its brick exterior looks to be in good condition now. The stained glass windows are discreetly covered with plexiglass fascia’s to offer protection and even the clock works in its tower.

If the entrance looks impressive walking into the pool area was stunning…

We arrived in good time and were invited to look around, once we had been shown to our seats. It truly is a magnificent building, in some ways made better by its only partial restoration.

It was actually a step back in time as both Mrs. RJR and I had been to pools just like this swimming as children! Yes we are that old.

Originally the baths were built with two pools. Only one remains in its original form. The second which sits to the side of the first is now filled-in and useable for functions.

This is all a long way from its very humble original design intent, particularly the other function of actual bathing not just swimming.

The Music

Watching accomplished musicians perform classical music is always amazing to me. Its easy to listen to a well known composers piece, as a background track to a TV commercial giving no thought to its true complexity. Whereas when you watch and listen to 4 string instruments playing their own parts, in perfect synchronicity, you have to marvel. Breaking this down to its most basic level, these 4 people are taking pieces of wood and string and making them sing like angels.

The performance was just an hour long and pieces from Vivaldi (four Seasons) and Mozart (Requiem) were played in various movements. It could only be described as outstanding. During the final piece we were invited to use our phones. Having already taken lots of pictures I chose to discreetly audio record a brief minute and a half. Which several of my pictures are set to in the video above. Can you name the piece?

Manchester String quartet

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