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Audience members at an LSO Half Six Fix concert

Get a quick fix of incredible music: My Half Six Fix Experience

Our Half Six Fix concerts are 60-minute bursts of music to kick-start your evening. James Drury went along to find out more.

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By James Drury

5 minutes

Our Half Six Fix concerts are 60-minute bursts of music to kick-start your evening. James Drury went along to find out more.

As my friend and I emerged from the Barbican Hall after hearing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, I have to confess I hadn’t expected us both to be so excited we’d have to head straight into the nearest pub to discuss what we’d just experienced. Although we’d both anticipated an enjoyable evening – this is the London Symphony Orchestra, after all – who knew you could get so much out of an hour-long concert?

I’d been drawn to the format of the LSO’s Half Six Fix concerts because, like many people, when it gets to Wednesday, the weekend can still feel a very long way away. So the midweek promise of hearing a great musical work sounded like just the pick-me-up I needed.

The 6.30pm start time means there’s enough time to head over straight after work or from home, grab a drink, and meet up with people before you get ready to immerse yourself into the music. So I slammed the lid of my laptop shut with gusto and headed to the Barbican Hall to meet my friend, who works in the City. Because Half Six Fix shows are shorter than a traditional concert and take place in a more relaxed setting, the format is perfect for people who don’t usually come to classical music concerts or for someone who wants to explore this world for the first time. We had plenty of time to have a quick catch-up, grab a drink from the bar, and find our seats.

Digging out our phones, we scanned a QR code and dived into the digital programme. It’s packed full of information about the music and the composer, and written in a way that appeals to a broad range of readers, from expert to novice. My friend – who hasn’t been to many orchestral concerts – said he had been worried it might be too academic, but he’d found the information was expertly written, yet accessible. I liked that you could read the note on your phone – even during the concert – and the relaxed atmosphere in the Hall felt really welcoming.

At the start of every concert, the conductor gives an informative and entertaining introductory talk about the composition you’re about to hear. This was especially appealing to me – I love music, so the prospect of gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of an incredible work from someone who’s spent a lifetime studying multiple genres was mouth-watering. As the exuberant François-Xavier Roth shared his thoughts on Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, his enthusiasm for this work was infectious, and the talk he gave at the start was fascinating – I certainly learned a lot!

Then, it was into the music. Armed with my new understanding of the revolutionary orchestration of Beethoven’s best-known symphony, I found the performance simply sublime.

With the final bars ringing in our ears, we quickly agreed we needed to discuss further and our impromptu trip to the pub afterwards found us buzzing. Apart from the incredible performance and the fascinating introductory talk, what we both really liked was the fact the Half Six Fix makes a great after-work activity, and that it’s pitched at all people, whatever their experience of orchestral music.

The concert might be only an hour long, but it left us both glowing long into the weekend. See you at the next one!

Explore music by the London Symphony Orchestra on the new Apple Music Classical app, included with an Apple Music subscription.

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Half Six Fix: Coming Up

Half Six Fix: Daphnis and Chloé
Sir Antonio Pappano conducting at the Barbican
Barbican

Half Six Fix: Daphnis and Chloé

Lush. Mellifluous. Unearthly.

Wednesday 10 April 2024 • 6.30pm

Kick-start your evening with a 60-minute concert, featuring the gauzy, sensuous soundscape of Ravel’s pastoral ballet, conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano.

Half Six Fix: Vaughan Williams 5
Barbican

Half Six Fix: Vaughan Williams 5

Sumptuous. Consoling. Beatific.

Wednesday 17 April 2024 • 6.30pm

Kick-start your evening with a 60-minute concert. Sir Antonio Pappano conducts Vaughan Williams' Fifth Symphony, a bittersweet piece that searched for hope in the midst of war.

Half Six Fix: Prokofiev 7
Barbican

Half Six Fix: Prokofiev 7

Elusive. Affecting. Disarming.

Wednesday 19 June 2024 • 6.30pm

Kick-start your evening with a 60-minute concert, featuring Prokofiev's wistful final symphony conducted by Gianandrea Noseda.