A Poem for Wigmore Hall

Wigmore Hall by Ian McEwan


Got into town about half past two,
Checked into the Ritz – room with a view.
Took a shower, drank a scotch, made a call -
C’mon baby, we’re going to the Hall.

Pop is all one chord, blues just three
And be-bop’s lost its edge on me.
I want beauty, pace, complexity and all -
That’s why we’re heading to Wigmore Hall.

Darling, I’m tired of the musical scene,
With boy bands, drum solos, that old electric routine.
I want a piano, a trained voice, a quodlibet,
The sweet modulations of a Mozart quartet.

Pop is all fashion, blues is just sad,
Free form jazz is driving me mad.
Honey, cut me loose from the computerised beat,
Let’s take a walk down Wigmore Street.

That barrel-shaped hall’s been around a while
I guess you think it’s gone out of style.
But London can play you no greater riff
Than a Schumann sonata with András Schiff.

Pop is for children and crooning is gross.
So are torch songs and hip hop – and gospel is toast.
The new scene’s the old scene, tonight’s my call -
I’m taking you down to Wigmore Hall.

Goodbye to the drugs, the wailing guitars,
The bare-chested dudes with their fashionable scars -
We’ll tell them to screw it,
We’re chilling with Bach and Angela Hewitt.

Pop is all one chord, blues just three
And be-bop’s lost its edge on me.
We want beauty, pace, complexity and all.
My baby and me are going to Wigmore Hall.


Set by Michael Berkley, first performed at the Trasimeno Festival on 4 July 2013.