Wednesday September 7th 7.30 pm
'Ghost Variations' – The Concert of the Novel
Jessica Duchen (author/narrator),
David Le Page (violin), Viv McLean (piano)
The strangest detective story in the history of music… now in concert.
London, 1933. The great Hungarian violinist Jelly d'Arányi, an inspiration to numerous composers, faces a startling dilemma. She begins to receive “messages” via a Ouija board ostensibly from the spirit of Robert Schumann, asking her to unearth and perform his long-suppressed violin concerto. The work turns out to have been Schumann's last full-length composition before his nervous breakdown and subsequent death in a mental hospital; his family embargoed it for fear that it betrayed his declining state of mind. Jelly's quest to rediscover it is aided by her sister Adila Fachiri, the pianist Myra Hess and the musicologist Donald Francis Tovey – but complicated by competition from the young superstar Yehudi Menuhin on the one hand and the Nazi administration on the other; and when news of the “spirit messages” breaks it rebounds against the unfortunate violinist. Saving the concerto comes to mean saving herself.
Jessica's novel, inspired by these true events, is published by Unbound in summer 2016. The author reads extracts illustrating the story, alongside music associated with d'Arányi, including Ravel's Tzigane, which was written for her, a Brahms Hungarian Dances arranged by her great-uncle Joseph Joachim, works by her close friend Bartók and her teacher Hubay, and, of course, Schumann.
Schumann: Geistervariationen (Theme)
Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances
Schumann: Violin Sonata No.1 in A minor (first movement)
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto (second movement)
F S Kelly : Gigue
from Serenade Op 7
Brahms arr. Joachim: Hungarian Dance No.2
Hubay: Hejre Kati
Schumann: Violin Concerto (second movement)
Schumann: Geistervariationen (Theme)
Admission free with retiring collection. No tickets issued beforehand
Jessica Duchen is an acclaimed author and music journalist, her work having appeared regularly in The Independent, BBC Music Magazine and many other publications. Her five novels to date include Hungarian Dances and Alicia's Gift, which have been adapted for much-loved concerts of live music and narration. A Walk through the End of Time was her first play. She has also written several stage works for musicians and actors; biographies of Korngold and Fauré (Phaidon Press); and an opera libretto for Roxanna Panufnik (Silver Birch, for Garsington Opera 2017). Her next novel is Ghost Variations, to be published by Unbound in 2016. Her classical music blog “JDCMB” has attracted a readership of more than 1.9m. “Enthralling” – Joanna Lumley on Songs of Triumphant Love
David Le Page was born in Guernsey and gained a place at the Yehudi Menuhin School, aged eleven. He was a prize winner in the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the Yehudi Menuhin competitions. He studied in Bern with Igor Ozim and in London with Sidney Griller. He has worked with a diverse selection of artists and ensembles as a director, soloist and chamber musician and has formed his own groups the Le Page Ensemble, The Harborough Collective and Mysterious Barricades. He has made many recordings including the complete Tippett quartets, Shostakovich quartets, Keith Tippett's piano quintet Linuckea, music by Gerald Barry, Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Frantic Mid-Atlantic with Evelyn Ficarra, The Rune of Hospitality' with Mark Chambers and the Goldberg Variations with Le Page Ensemble. David is leader of the Orchestra of the Swan, the Stratford-upon-Avon based chamber orchestra, with whom he regularly appears as soloist and director. He was recently appointed President of the European String Teachers Association.
Viv McLean, the winner of the First Prize at the 2002 Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona, Viv has performed at all the major venues in the UK as well as throughout Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA. Recent concerto highlights include Mozart K.467 with the English Chamber Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, Grieg with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Barbican and a tour of the USA with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Appearances in 2012-13 included Rachmaninov's 3rd Concerto with the RPO in Cambridge, Gershwin and Bernstein with the Hallé at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and Beethoven's 5th Concerto with the Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall.