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Chopin and Sand in Hampstead

The fascinating story of Fryderyk Chopin and the authoress George Sand is brought vividly to life by Viv McLean (piano) and Susan Porrett (narrator) in 7 Star Arts’ mixed-genre production ‘Divine Fire’ at Craxton Studios, Hampstead, on Saturday 3 November.

Interwoven with some of Chopin’s most beautiful and popular piano works, ‘Divine Fire’ traces the relationship from their first meeting in Paris in 1836 until their parting in 1849. The story unfolds through a compelling, dramatic narration of events by the RSC and National Theatre actress Susan Porrett, interspersed with mood –  evoking piano pieces… fiery scherzos, heart-rending ballades and stirring Polonaises… played by the great Chopin interpreter Viv McLean.

‘An absorbing, moving and beautifully presented evening of words and music’ – The Cross-Eyed Pianist

‘Divine fire’ was Sand’s own description of the intensity of her attraction to Chopin, suggesting a love that transcended the purely physical to a more spiritual plane, a meeting of bodies and minds.

The concert takes place at Craxton Studios in Hampstead, a fine example of English Arts and Crafts architecture and interior design. Originally built for an artist, the house was the long-time home of Harold Craxton, acclaimed concert pianist and teacher at the Royal Academy of Music. Craxton’s home became a creative hub for musicians, artists and writers – a tradition which continues to this day as the studio is regularly used for concerts, auditions, recordings and filming.

Viv McLean performs on Harold Craxton’s own Blüthner grand piano.

Divine Fire at Craxton Studios, Saturday 3 November at 7.30pm

Tickets £20 (includes glass of Prosecco). Advance sales only.

BOOK TICKETS HERE

 

‘The great strength of this format is the subtle interweaving of words and music…..Viv McLean’s understated, modest delivery always allows the music to speak for itself, while Susan’s words lend greater focus, encouraging us to listen to the music even more attentively.’ – The Cross-Eyed Pianist

 

Read an interview with actress Susan Porrett about the creation of Divine Fire

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Chekhov’s Grand Piano comes to Craxton Studios, Hampstead

Saturday 2 June 2018 at 7.30pm

Craxton Studios, 14 Kidderpore Avenue, Hampstead NW3 7SU

Chekhov’s Grand Piano, 7 Star Arts’ newest mixed-grenre production, interweaves the words of the great Russian writer Anton Chekhov with the music of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, together with David Le Page’s music inspired by ‘The Seagull’.

Performed by internationally-acclaimed musicians Viv McLean (piano) and David le Page (violin) with readings by celebrated West End actress Susan Porrett

Tickets £20 each, including a glass of Prosecco. Book online using the link below or call 07889 399862

BOOK TICKETS

There are many parallels between the works of Chekhov and the music of his compatriots. Chekhov’s writing is filled with allusions to music, and especially the piano, and some of his plays have piano interludes. Shostakovich noted that Chekhov’s short stories were written in sonata form. Chekhov corresponded with Tchaikovsky, whom he revered, and his friend Rachmaninoff played the piano in Chekhov’s summer home, The White Dacha at Yalta.

Craxton Studios, originally built as an artist’s home and studios, was for many years the home of celebrated pianist and teacher Harold Craxton who created a cultural hub for musicians, writers, poets and actors. The same spirit continues at Craxton Studios today and the house is regularly used for concerts, rehearsals and auditions. It is a fine example of English Arts & Crafts architecture and interior design.

 

“Viv McLean revealed extraordinary originality, superb simplicity, and muscles of steel hidden by fingers of velvet. He plays with the genius one finds in those who know how to forget themselves, naturally placing themselves at the right point to meet the music, this mystery of the moment.”

– Le Monde

“The finesse and fieriness of [David le Page’s] playing is always top-notch, but more than that, his unique sense of creativity infuses everything he does. His own music has a strong personal voice, full of improvisatory flair and independence of thought – and, like his interpretations of the classical repertoire, seems driven by a deeply poetic spirit.”

– The Independent

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