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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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Classic Gershwin Showreel

A taster of Classic Gershwin, 7 Star Arts’ most popular mixed genre production, starring Viv McLean (piano) and Susan Porrett (narrator). Music by George Gershwin

 

Iconoclassics at The Jazz Room

7 Star Arts announces the launch of a new series of concerts in the iconic Jazz Room at the Bull’s Head

Iconoclassics features leading, critically-acclaimed classical musicians, more at home in the world’s great concert halls than in a jazz club but all happy to break free from the conventional classical music scene. The small size of the Jazz Room creates a special connection between musicians and audience, and allows the musicians to present music in a more accessible and relaxed way.

In keeping with the main focus of The Jazz Room, programmes in the Iconoclassics series will explore links between classical music and jazz, and will include works by Ravel and Gershwin, two composers whose music crossed genres and pushed the boundaries of what we define as “classical music”.

Iconoclassics launches on 14 February 2018 with Classic Valentine – a special concert for Valentine’s Day featuring David Le Page (violin) and Viv McLean (piano). This will be followed on 11 March by a solo concert by internationally-acclaimed pianist Anthony Hewitt, who has been praised for his “fine, poetic and communicative musicianship” (BBC Music Magazine).

This promises to be an exciting and intriguing new series in an intimate and friendly venue.

 

Purists may balk at hearing classical music in a venue normally reserved for jazz, but the small size of the jazz room lends itself to the right kind of concentrated listening and intimacy of expression which this music demands and offers. And David Le Page and Viv McLean create a very special intimacy of their own – these musicians work together regularly and their empathy and mutual understanding is palpable in every note they play.

  • Frances Wilson/The Cross-Eyed Pianist

 

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Classic Gershwin on BBC London

Susan Porrett (actress and writer of Classic Gershwin) and Yvonne Evans (Director of 7 Star Arts) will be appearing on the Jo Good show on BBC London at 1pm on Wednesday 10 January to talk about The Cinema Museum London & “Classic Gershwin” (which plays at The Cinema Museum on Saturday 13th January). Featuring music from the show played by acclaimed pianist Viv McLean.

Book tickets to Classic Gershwin at The Cinema Museum

 

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p011nd8m

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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Events

Classic Gershwin at The Jazz Room – Christmas Special

Our most popular production is back at the Jazz Room for a special Christmas show

“Terrific!”

“A wonderful show”

“a glorious and intriguing celebration of Gershwin’s life and work”

The vibrant music of George Gershwin is interwoven with his fascinating life story from birth in the colourful, teeming New York of 1898 to his tragically early death in 1937.

Join Viv McLean, piano and Susan Porrett, narrator in the intimate Jazz Room at The Bull’s Head for an intriguing, eclectic mix of Gershwin’s music from the much-loved ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, ‘I got Rhythm Variations’ and ‘Swanee’ to the rarely-played, classical Preludes.

Tickets £15 in advance or £18 on the door

 

“Vividly illustrated.. rapturously received.. highly recommended.”

Frances Wilson (The Cross-Eyed Pianist)

 

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