Tuesday, November 25, 2008

National Gallery Myra Hess Day

Today is the now-annual Dame Myra Hess Day at the National Gallery here in London. Piers Lane - a Hess 'grand-pupil' via his teacher, the late Yonty Solomon - is artistic director of the event which commemorates Hess's daily lunchtime concerts held in the Gallery during World War II, with music performed in the Barry Rooms where her series took place - though we have the paintings back now.

This year's event also celebrates the vital contribution to that series of her friend Howard Ferguson the composer, whose Partita for Two Pianos will be performed at lunchtime by the Contigulia Brothers from New York, themselves former pupils of Hess. There's a discussion chaired by Piers mid-afternoon, and this evening he and Tasmin Little will play war-scarred violin sonatas by Elgar and Poulenc.

We couldn't have this day without this: