Showing posts with label Alicia's Gift. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alicia's Gift. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

TONIGHT: Alicia's Gift goes to Leighton House

Tonight: we are delighted that Alicia's Gift: The Concert of the Novel will be presented by the Kensington & Chelsea Music Society at Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Road
London W14 8LZ. It's an amazing venue, the former home of Lord Leighton and his art collection, where east meets west...

Kick-off is 7.30pm and Viv and I, much encouraged by Saturday's successful outing (unexpectedly alongside a Mighty Wurlitzer), are looking forward to it immensely. Enormous thanks to the doughty Peter Thomas and the enthusiasm of KCMS for this project. I read; Viv plays Chopin, Falla, Debussy, Ravel, Granados, Messiaen and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue; and we finish with eine kleine piano duet...
BOOK HERE: http://www.kcmusic.org.uk/alicia_concert.htm

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dame Harriet Walter and Guy Paul to star in A WALK THROUGH THE END OF TIME, Friday


[UPDATE: PLEASE NOTE NEW BOX OFFICE NUMBER BELOW....]
A quick alert for our friends in the north... Chetham's Piano Summer School, founded and directed by Chet's tireless head of piano, Murray McLachlan, is currently in full swing. On Friday I'm heading up there with the fabulous actors Dame Harriet Walter and Guy Paul for a performance of my Messiaen play, A Walk through the End of Time. (Pictured: Harriet in A Walk at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, in last year's International Wimbledon Music Festival.)

It's a big evening. We start at 5pm with me giving a talk about how and why I wrote it. The play begins at 7pm - it is about an hour long. Finally, at 8.30pm pianist Kathryn Page leads an expert team of soloists in a complete performance of Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time.

Contact Information
Tickets: £12 and £6 concessions. Free to summer school participants
Box Office Tel No: 
07814 989913  
Email info@pianosummerschool.com

This is going to be a hectic autumn for JD, with a number of concerts of Hungarian Dances, and a brand-new Alicia's Gift words&music programme with the terrific Viv McLean (piano). Next up: we'll be at Houben's Bookshop, 2 Church Court, Richmond-upon-Thames, to talk about it all on 3 September at 6.30pm. Please join us for a chat, drinks & crunchies. Admission is free, but we'd love it if you'd book a place: to do so, please call Yvonne on 07889 399862. More concert & play details in the sidebar...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Alicia's Gift concert is up and running

The ALICIA'S GIFT concert-of-the-novel is up and running. Viv McLean and I have five dates in the diary for November-December, and more on the way.

I've started a Facebook page to help keep everyone in touch. Please feel free to like us if you like liking things, like; and, dear promoters, check in for details of how to book us for your concert series. You want this one, y'know. It's topical. It's all about what a talented child does to the family, and what the family - and her teachers - do to her. And it's stuffed full of some of the loveliest piano music on earth.

Here's the page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alicias-Gift-the-Concert-of-the-Novel/552320611466414

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

New Year Fireworks!


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

As a disembodied voice said over the firework display by the Thames, "London 2012: we did it right". Wonder if we can keep that up in 2013? 

Here are a few handy points for starting the year with best foot forward.

1. Feel free to enjoy the New Year's Day Concert from Vienna. Whatever those self-righteous moaners say about the Vienna Philharmonic, I love it and New Year's Day would feel all wrong without it...
UPDATE, 11.55am: woops. This year's, conducted by Franz Welser-Most, really is "frankly worse than most" and I have SWITCHED IT OFF for the first time in living memory. There's no point grumbling about the number of women in the orchestra if there is an elephant on the podium.

Solution? Make Your Own New Year's Day Concert. Here's Willi Boskowsky, leading a Csardas with violin, smile and real pizzazz in 1967. This, dear friends, is more like it...



2. Make some fun resolutions. Yesterday the Royal Opera House asked us on Twitter for our best operatic ones. Mine include recognising that gold rings are overrated, especially when sourced in the Rhine - stick to platinum in future. And do not write unsolicited love-letters to handsome visitors, even if they can sing in Russian.

3. Then there are non-operatic resolutions, such as practising the piano, going back to ballet class, finishing the new novel, and other things that are probably doomed if you have to make a resolution about doing them.

4. Invest in some good carpet shampoo. Handy for cleaning up others' mess. (I think Solti must have overindulged at the cat party last night.)

5. Ring out the old, ring in the new. What's past is past.

6. Speaking of the Ring, this year there will be so much Verdi, Wagner and Britten around that it's tempting to board up the windows and say GONE SOMEWHERE SUNNY, SEE YOU IN 2014. Which of the three birthday boys will you still want to hear in 366 days' time?

7. While V, W and B are carpet-bombing us (or should that be BWV? is it all a plot by Bach?), please don't forget Lutoslawski. Luckily the Philharmonia is celebrating his centenary. Krystian Zimerman is performing the Piano Concerto that Lutoslawski wrote for him - RFH, 30 January.

8. I have a new concert-of-the-novel in the works, this time based on Alicia's Gift, with the lovely pianist Viv McLean. The story of a child prodigy trying to grow up, it includes piano music by Chopin, Ravel, Granados and others. I read, Viv plays and we'll launch it in the autumn. Ideal as a coffee-concert with a difference. Book us!

9. The Hungarian Dances concert and A Walk through the End of Time are expecting more airings - watch this space. I'm also looking forward to some seriously exciting interviews and various things that are currently queuing up in the ether, waiting to be written and performed.

10. It's tough out there. We'll all have to be positive and ingenious to navigate through '13. But if we have music, love and laughter in our hearts, we can do that. We need to invent, communicate, inspire and do good things. And you know something? We intend to. Please join us.








Friday, October 12, 2012

Alma's gift?

Phone call from Simon Usborne at the Indy yesterday asking what I made of the "prodigy" Alma Deutscher, who has just been spotted and tweeted about by Stephen Fry. She's seven. She plays both the violin and the piano extremely well and has composed an "opera" as well as a piano sonata or two. Read his feature here.

So, here she is. What do you make of her?



My feeling is that she's very good, for her age, but I don't think she is an actual "prodigy", let alone, heaven help us, a "new Mozart". She's a seriously gifted kid who's been very well taught (and whose "shy and softly spoken" father hasn't demurred from uploading her efforts to Youtube). She's having lessons at the Menuhin School, which is exactly what should be happening. A top-notch training, good nurturing and please, no record companies yet, and she could become a fabulous young artist...in seven to ten years' time.

A prodigy in the Benjamin Grosvenor or Evgeny Kissin sense tends to play with both technique and musical maturity far beyond their years. Alma is certainly advanced, but she doesn't do that.



As for "writing an opera"...Now, look. I first tried to write a "novel" when I was 12, and I finished it, and it was about 50 pages long, and I was very excited that I'd managed it, and I showed it to Mum and Dad and they were thrilled, as of course they would be, but we didn't have Youtube or E-books then and nobody would have dreamed of putting it out there for all and sundry, and I'm very glad because it would be bloody embarrassing now. It's great to do things young, but one day you really are not going to want your starter efforts being gawped at...

More worrying is the fact that where music is concerned, maybe the public is just too ignorant to know the difference any more?

For those who are interested in the life-imitating-art spooky side of novel-writing, I regret to say that Alma's father's name, Guy, is also the name of Alicia's father in Alicia's Gift (which was published in 2007) and of course Alicia's name begins with an A too, and this kind of thing does keep on happening, turning up out of the blue 3-5 years after hitting the page... For the same reason I now know how the Hungarian Dances characters' last conundrum would finally resolve itself.