Chopin's life under the microscope

25 October 2017
IMG_20171024_160114[1]-44464.jpg Nocturne
in Lucy Parham's Composer Portrait concert this Sunday at St Johns Smith Square with Patricia Hodge & Alex Jennings

The lives and loves of the great composers in a London concert series


The lovely Westminster venue of St John’s Smith Square, a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament, plays host to a year-long concert series devised by Pianist regular Lucy Parham.

Lucy launched the Sheaffer Matinee Series on 24 September with ‘Beloved Clara’, which dramatises the lives and love of Robert and Clara Schumann, and their complex relationship with their friend Brahms. She was joined by Harriet Walter and Tim McInnerny, reading from letters and diaries.

‘What she has created is remarkable,’ says McInnerny. ‘There is an extraordinary dynamic between the acting and the music: they feed off each other. You can feel the audience’s sympathy swaying backwards and forwards between intense dislike and criticism of a composer’s behaviour and forgiving him, indeed loving him for the music he has created. It is so much more than just reading a selection of letters and diary entries. Lucy’s plays (that is how I think of them) require complete immersion in the character. The music and the words carry both actor and audience on a great journey.’

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‘Beloved Clara’ is one of several Composer Portraits created by Lucy in recent years. The series continues this Sunday on 29 October at 3pm with ‘Nocturne’ which tells the story of Chopin and George Sand with the help of Patricia Hodge and Alex Jennings. The remaining Composer Portraits focus on the lives of Debussy (with Simon Russell Beale, 30 January), Liszt (4 March, with Joanna David and Robert Glenister) and the series concludes on 15 April with the London première of her latest portrait, Elégie, subtitled ‘Rachmaninoff: A Heart in Exile’. Lucy is joined for this by the actor Henry Goodman, following their performances together in Cheltenham, Sheffield, Salisbury and Guildford.

An added bonus is that every ticket holder receives a beautiful Sheaffer pen.