Sunday May 31st 3.00 pm
A concert drama based on Beethoven
Viv McLean (piano)
Jessica Duchen (author/narrator)
After Ludwig van Beethoven's death in 1827, his secretary discovered in his apartment a passionate love letter – returned or unsent – addressed only to his ‘Immortal Beloved'.Countess Therese von Brunsvik faces a dilemma. Everyone wants to know the identity of Beethoven's mysterious love. Therese and her sister Josephine were pupils of the composer from 1799 and became close to him, along with their brother, Franz. Therese, who never married, has told a young writer that she herself is Beethoven's lost love. But is she protecting somebody, concealing a terrible and tragic secret?
Author and presenter Jessica Duchen reimagines the story through Therese's eyes, exploring a mystery that fascinates lovers of Beethoven's music the world over. Award-winning pianist Viv McLean performs extracts from Beethoven's piano works connected with the Brunsvik family. Music and words are closely integrated, building the story together.
The concert celebrates the 250 th anniversary of Beethoven's birth in 2020. Jessica's novel, Immortal , on the same subject, is scheduled for publication in October.
• Bagatelle Op. 126 No. 3
• Piano Sonata Op. 81a, ‘Das Lebewohl', first movement
• Piano Sonata Op. 31 No. 3, third movement (probably written for Josephine)
• Andante favori, extract (written for Josephine)
• Piano Sonata Op. 57, ‘Appassionata', first movement (dedicated to Franz)
• Piano Sonata Op. 78, first movement (dedicated to Therese)
• ‘Nimm sie hin denn, diese Lieder' from An die Ferne Geliebte , transcribed by Franz Liszt
• Piano Sonata Op. 110
Admission free with retiring collection. No tickets issued beforehand
Viv McLean (piano) , the winner of the First Prize at the 2002 Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona , has performed at all the major venues in the UK as well as throughout Europe, Japan , Australia and the USA . He has played concerti with most major UK orchestras, performed chamber music with leading groups such as the Ysaye String Quartet and the Leopold String Trio. Viv studied at the Royal Academy of Music and was the piano winner at the Royal Overseas-League Music Competition and one of three winners of the National Federation of Music Societies' Young Artists Competition, leading to various recitals and concerto appearances throughout Great Britain . Viv has recorded regularly for BBC Radio 3 and recorded for Sony Classical Japan and Naxos , as well as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's own label. Viv lives in Harrow and has been a huge supporter of concerts at both St Mary's Perivale and St Barnabas in recent years.
Jessica Duchen's novels have gathered a loyal fan-base and wide acclaim. Odette , published by Unbound in November 2018, is her sixth novel, but has occupied her for over 26 years. Ghost Variations (Unbound, 2016) was Book of the Month in BBC Music Magazine and was John Suchet's Christmas Choice among the Daily Mail's Best Reads of 2016 ("A thrilling read" - John Suchet). Jessica grew up in London, read music at Cambridge and has devoted much of her career to music journalism, with 12 years as music critic for The Independent. Her work has also appeared in BBC Music Magazine, The Sunday Times and The Guardian, among others. She was the librettist of Silver Birch by composer Roxanna Panufnik, which was commissioned by Garsington Opera and shortlisted for an International Opera Award in 2018, and she has worked frequently with Panufnik on texts for choral works. Her further output includes biographies of the composers Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Gabriel Fauré, her popular classical music blog JDCMB, and the play A Walk through the End of Time , which won the town medal of St Nazaire in France, where its commissioning festival was based. Jessica lives in London with her violinist husband and two cats.
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