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SINS OF THE FATHERS By Jessica Duchen

What would you say if you met Richard Wagner?

Vicky, a postgraduate student researching Cosima Wagner, is visiting Wagner’s house at Tribschen, Lucerne, with her much-older boyfriend – a famous and volatile pianist who has left his wife for her. The insecure Vicky plays sidekick to the demands of Frank and his high-profile career. When he leaves his concert shoes behind in the Tribschen cloakroom and closing time is past, Vicky must retrieve them. She is trapped inside - until a mysterious resident arrives to assist her...

SINS OF THE FATHERS is a comedy with a dark side, an off-the-wall take on the relationships between Wagner, Liszt and Cosima. It should appeal to those who enjoy the plays of Ronald Harwood and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. It is a three-hander in two parts. The first half is approximately 1hr long and the second about 45 mins. Extracts of music by Wagner and Liszt can be played at key moments.

The premiere was given as a rehearsed reading at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, on 24 November 2013 as part of the International Wimbledon Music Festival, starring John Sessions (Wagner), Jeremy Child (Frank/Liszt) and Sarah Gabriel (Vicky/Cosima).

“Intriguing and complex in structure...a fascinating subject”
(Planet Hugill)

VICKY/COSIMA: playing age 20s-30s;
WAGNER: playing age 50 +
FRANK/LISZT: playing age 50 +


For further information and bookings, please email: Edition Peters Artist Mangement
http://www.editionpeters.com/london/epamcontact.php


 

ALICIA'S GIFT: The Concert of the Novel

"A highly engaging presentation and marvellous concept, offering an entirely different experience to the more traditional concert format.”  – Melanie Spanswick, The Classical Piano and Education Blog

A narrated concert based on Jessica Duchen’s novel Alicia’s Gift. Repertoire includes works by Chopin, Debussy, Granados, Ravel and Gershwin. Jessica as narrator joins forces with the award-winning pianist Viv McLean.  

What does a family do to a talented child? What does the presence of a prodigy do to the family? The topics of Jessica Duchen’s acclaimed novel Alicia’s Gift hold perennial fascination for countless music-lovers.   

Its story follows the piano prodigy Alicia Bradley and her embattled parents from the revelation of her talent, aged three, through to her adulthood and her participation in the Leeds International Piano Competition. The process leaves none of them unchanged and ultimately forces Alicia to face harsh truths about herself, her guidance and her gift.  

The Alicia’s Gift concert explores its heroine’s progress with the help of some of the piano pieces in her life; words and music fuse in a closely integrated narrative, telling the story together. Performances in 2014 include the Holburne Museum, Bath; the Buxton Festival; Chetham’s International Summer School for Pianists (with Murray McLachlan, piano); and the Chopin Society, Westminster Cathedral Hall, London.

For further information and bookings, please email: Edition Peters Artist Mangement
http://www.editionpeters.com/london/epamcontact.php

 

HUNGARIAN DANCES: THE CONCERT OF THE NOVEL

“A very affecting combination… a performance which will long be remembered by a very appreciative audience.” – Darlington & Stockton Times  

“…an impassioned, mellifluous and emotional voyage; a snapshot of human life and in a sense, of humanity too. The audience loved every minute and were totally absorbed by the enduring, compelling partnership of words and music.” – Melanie Spanswick, The Classical Piano and Education Blog

The Hungarian Dances concert is a unique experience that unites author and passionate soloist in an enthralling mix of words and music. Jessica reads extracts from the novel, which tells of a Gypsy girl who becomes a famous classical violinist, but at a terrible personal price. The narrative is richly illustrated in stunning violin music including works by Bartók, Brahms, Debussy, Ravel, Dohnányi, Monti, Hubay and Kreisler.

The Hungarian Dances full-length concert lasts 100 minutes with interval; the coffee-concert version takes 75 minutes. It features Jessica Duchen as narrator and a piano and violin duo: regular performers include David Le Page (violin) with Viv McLean or Anthony Hewitt (piano); Bradley Creswick (violin) with Margaret Fingerhut (piano); Jack Maguire (violin) and Barbara Henvest (piano); Philippe Graffin (violin) and Claire Désert (piano), who made a CD inspired by the novel, available on Onyx Classics.

The performance is perfectly suited to intimate and atmospheric venues, and the intense drama of the tale is further enhanced by creative lighting. The event started life in 2008 and was revised in 2009 for the ‘Fiddles on Fire Festival’ in Gateshead and London. Since then it has been received with great enthusiasm at venues including the Buxton and Ulverston international music festivals, Teesside Music Society and in a special performance at London’s Hungarian Cultural Centre for International Holocaust Memorial Day 2014. Hungarian Dances is published by Hodder.

For further information and bookings, please email: Edition Peters Artist Mangement
http://www.editionpeters.com/london/epamcontact.php

PRAISE FOR HUNGARIAN DANCES: THE NOVEL
Hungarian Dances by Jessica Duchen is published by Hodder & Stoughton

‘A saga whose passion for music, Hungary and history sings out on every page.’ – The Independent
‘A rare talent’ – Gavin Esler, Glasgow Herald

‘Give Hungarian Dances a whirl’ – South China Morning Post

PRAISE FOR HUNGARIAN DANCES: THE CD
Hungarian Dances, starring Philippe Graffin and friends, is on Onyx Classics

“Nothing fictional about this thrillingly evocative, novel-inspired collection...an enthralling, exceptional recital, to be thoroughly recommended.” – Gramophone

“A startlingly beautiful collection played with skill, wit and seductive tone... Philippe Graffin is one of the most gifted and well-rounded players you’ll ever hear...” – Strings, Editor’s Pick


 

A WALK THROUGH THE END OF TIME

Commissioned by Philippe Graffin
Jessica's one-act A WALK THROUGH THE END OF TIME
(UNE PROMENADE A TRAVERS LE FIN DU TEMPS)

This one-act play about Messiaen's 'Quartet for the End of Time' was specially commissioned by the French violinist Philippe Graffin, artistic director of the Consonances Festival, St Nazaire, to open the 2007 festival. The play explores the issues surrounding the Quartet and the aesthetic atmosphere of the 1940s, in the context of a contemporary story. A man and a woman, formerly married but long divorced, meet for the first time in many years to hear the Messiaen Quartet and, through exploring its extraordinary history and the emotional world within the music, seek to resolve their differences.

The premiere opened the 2007 festival in St Nazaire's significant new venue Alveole 14: a creative space for exploratory performing arts carved into the shell of the German submarine base that has dominated the town's coastline since the Second World War. The stars were the great French actress Marie-Christine Barrault and the magnetic actor Charles Gonzales, and the evening concluded with a performance of the Quartet by violinist Philippe Graffin, clarinettist Charles Neidich, cellist Raphael Wallfisch and pianist Claire Desert.


‘La musique, langage universel qui rapproche les hommes au-delà des croyances et des idéologies; la liberté comme lumière de l’existence, irradient cette fiction vibrante, décalquée sur la réalité historique…’ - /Ouest-France/

('Music, a universal language which brings people together beyond their faiths and ideologies, and liberty as the light of existence, irradiates this vibrant story, drawn from historical reality' - /Ouest-France)/

 
Read review in French
READ REVIEW - PDF 99k
THE SONG OF TRIUMPHANT LOVE

Commissioned by Philippe Graffin
Premiered at the Consonances Festival, St Nazaire, France, 21 September 2006 as Le chant de l’amour triumphant, with actress Marie-Christine Barrault and numerous festival artists including Philippe Graffin (violin), Francois Le Roux (baritone) and Ruth Peel (mezzo-soprano)

The ‘story behind the story behind the Chausson Poème’ explores the life and loves of the great mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot, especially her relationship with the Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev, on whose story ‘The Song of Triumphant Love’ Ernest Chausson later based his Poème. Pauline’s history draws in a wide range of music by those who knew her, including Chopin, Brahms, Saint-Saëns and Fauré, as well as her own beautiful songs; building up a picture of the autobiographical elements that influenced Turgenev’s writing, the evening culminates with the Poème itself in its rarely heard chamber version.

Link to photos of last year's performance at the Consonances Festival, St Nazaire, France.
 
BELOVED CLARA

Commissioned by Lucy Parham
Premiered at Wigmore Hall, London, 27 October 2002 by pianist Lucy Parham (piano) and actors Eleanor Bron and Malcolm Sinclair

The story of the intense three-way relationships between the composer Robert Schumann, his wife the great pianist Clara Schumann, and the much younger musical genius Johannes Brahms has always fascinated music lovers. This programme of music and readings brings their enigmatic and moving history to life.

Further performances have included the Chelsea Festival, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Thames Concert Society, Salisbury Playhouse, Pollok Hall, Glasgow, Cadogan Hall, Oxford Philomusica Piano Festival, Music at Woodhouse, and the Union Chapel, Islington, among others. Actors have included Joanna David, Timothy West, Edward Fox, Martin Jarvis, Charles Dance, Jane Purcell and Christopher Bramwell.

A recording by Lucy Parham, Joanna David and Martin Jarvis, with the script adapted by Lucy Parham from the original, is now available on Sanctuary Classics.