Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Ethan Richardson playing in Priory Meadow - Photograph by John Cole

Promoting the Piano

The Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition is now upon us.  As a warm-up and a way of involving the local community, a Yamaha baby grand was placed in Priory Meadow shopping mall over last weekend and a series of players of all ages showed their skill on the keys, writes Antony Mair.

Isobel Richardson playing in Priory Meadow Photograph by John Cole

Paul and I were on duty as stewards on the Sunday afternoon.  A shopping mall is pretty soulless at the best of times, and Priory Meadow more so than most.  Vicious draughts have a way of whistling round corners and hitting your back, and a lot of the shoppers look as if they are there as a last resort.  But it was wonderful to see the power of music captured on the faces of passers-by, some of whom sat, quietly attentive, on the handful of chairs provided for the purpose.  People of all ages and classes were spellbound, and I’ve never been so struck by the way in which music winds itself into the psyche.

Today the Competition started in earnest, with forty competitors from all over the world performing in front of a panel of judges in the White Rock Theatre.  I accompanied one candidate and her accompanist (who plays the part of the orchestra, scored for piano) to St Mary in the Castle for some thunderous rehearsal of Prokoviev, then back to the White Rock Theatre where she acquitted herself admirably in front of the judges.  Semi-finalists are announced on Wednesday.  The six semi-finalists perform a series of recitals on the Thursday evening and are then narrowed down to three finalists, who play with full orchestra on Saturday.  I’m looking forward to every minute.

Republished from Postcards from Hastings with kind permission

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Posted 09:29 Tuesday, Mar 4, 2014 In: Music & Sound

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