Tuesday 16 December 2014

Harking back to a bygone age - recital at the 1901 Arts Club, London

Music had, for centuries, played an important role in our society.  Paintings and documents have long afforded us a glimpse into the vibrant musical life of generations past, particularly the music salons of 19th century.  These salons were meeting places for music lovers, performers, composers,  instrument makers, and the curious minded public of every walk of life - a cocktail of interesting characters unlikely to come together if not for the occasion.  Several performers would take to the stage, with slightly less fanfare than at a concert hall proper but every bit as compelling and
captivating, and there is always this magical feeling between artists who share a stage, as though they have been let on a secret and have instantly bonded by this shared experience.  


London is a fabulous city for musicians, not just for her monumental Royal Albert or Wigmore but for countless of these romantic salons that hark back to a bygone age.  The finale of this year's South London Concert Series took place at one such venue, the 1901 Arts Club, next the Waterloo Station. A small entrance on a quiet side street opens into an alluring, instantly likable room, with a modern Steinway & Sons model C to boot (serial number 500k, from the '90s).  The piano sounded crisp (hammers barely worn) but with enough power to pack a punch.  It seats around 50, and on the night of the recital it was packed from wall to wall.  Four talented pianists gave their rendition of Medtner, Rachmaninoff, Mompou and Ireland before I launch myself into a Russian programme.  The rarely performed transcriptions of Rachmaninoff by Earl Wild, as well as the Preludes of Reinhold Gliere, sounded so achingly beautiful in this venue.  

倫敦對所有音樂家來說都是一個精彩絶倫的城市,這不單是因為她的皇家阿爾伯特音樂廳或威格摩爾音樂廳,這亦因為她擁有無數富有浪漫色彩、令人懷念過去的音樂沙龍。今年「南倫敦演奏會系列」的最後一場音樂會就在這樣的一個沙龍裏擧行。這個場地位於滑鐵盧車站旁邊的 1901 Arts Club,它位於寧靜內街的小門口通往這個迷人的沙龍,房間裏放了一部九十年代製的斯坦威C系大鋼琴。這裏大概可以坐五十個人,演奏會的這晚就坐滿了整整一房間的人。四位優秀的演奏家分別彈奏了梅特納、拉赫曼尼諾夫、蒙波以及來自愛以蘭的作品,之後我就演奏了今個樂季的俄羅斯曲目。我彈的包括了很少人彈、由厄爾‧懷爾德改編的拉赫曼尼諾夫的作品,以及葛利爾的前奏曲,這些音樂都在這個漂亮的沙龍裏産生了很好的聲音效果。

The South London Concert Series provides performance opportunities for serious amateurs alongside professional artists and holds its events in charming spaces such as the 1901 Arts Club.  It is hosted by Frances Wilson and Lorraine Liyanage, two London music educators and writers of the well-known blog on music 'The Cross-Eyed Pianist', where I was also featured in a recent interview.  

Information on South London Concert Series: http://slcs1901.wordpress.com/

南倫敦演奏會系列一向都給與專業演奏家以至業餘演奏者一個很好的演出平台,並在 1901 Arts Club 這樣舒適典雅的沙龍場地擧行。主辦人Frances Wilson Lorraine Liyanage 都是倫敦的音樂教育家,並是著名的音樂博客 TheCross-Eyed Pianist」的筆者,我最近亦接受了她們的訪問


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