Thursday, 29 March 2018

Nina Leonard Savićević Lunchtime Piano Recital Saint Margaret's Church Topsham Saturday 24 March 2018

Nina Leonard Savićević

Nina Leonard Savićević has been recognised as a precocious piano virtuoso for most of her life (Details in Classical Journey Blog 21 March). Now, at 17, she is working towards A-Levels, while applying to musical conservatories, auditioning for piano competitions, and preparing live concerts for the general public.

Claude Monet
La Cathédrale de Rouen.
Le portail, soleil matinal;
harmonie bleue
1892-1893
(Musée d'Orsay, Paris)
Her latest series of concerts showcase six very emotive romantic pieces for the piano. Each one provides Nina with an opportunity to express herself in flamboyant flights of fancy. At her first outing in St Margaret's Church in Topsham Nina was able to demonstrate her skills on the new Yamaha grand piano.

The opening piece was Claude Debussy's deceptively gentle 1910 poetic representation of the lost city of Kêr-Is, the mythical, formerly thriving, Breton community on the west coast of Finisterre, imagined to have been created in the fifth century by Gradlon Meur, king of Kernev. According to legend the city, having been built on reclaimed land, was subsequently inundated again by the sea.

In "La Cathédrale Engloutie" (The Sunken Cathedral) Claude Debussy describes in music the reported sightings of the lost city in the early morning light, as the sun's rays penetrate the clear waters of the Baie de Douarnenez. In perfectly comprehensible but illogical metaphor, the sacred sounds of the city's cathedral become increasingly audible as the light penetrates the waters. The bells, monastic chanting, and organ music, become increasingly strident - represented in the exotic pentatonic scale of Javanese gamelan - before fading again as the sun approaches its zenith.

From impressionism, Nina moved back in time to 1895 and turned to the symbolism of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin. Following in the romantic tradition of Frédéric Chopin, Scriabin developed his own atonal style inspired by his own mystical ideas, and demonstrating his principle of synesthesia, where notes and chords correspond to colours.

Alexander Scriabin
with his second wife Tatiana Schloezer
Brussels 1909
Nina played the second of Scriabin's "Deux Impromptus pour Piano" Opus 12.  The choice was inspired. In a perfect echo of Debussy's tone poem, Scriabin's 'Impropmptu' starts gently before taking a thousand delightfully twisted detours around the piano keyboard with increasing emotional intensity, before quickly and neatly resolving in a few short chords, just as it started.

As Nina points out, this slightly challenging composition might be uncomfortable to the unaccustomed ear, but in performance the piece is perfect for Nina to demonstrate her expressive and controlled technique.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
with his mother Anna Maria
Versailles 1778
Nina introduced each piece with as much enthusiasm as she played them, and added much enriching detail. Retrospectively, she invited the audience to conjure up the colours Scriabin had been evoking, before introducing a piece with a very different inspiration, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Sonata in A Minor" (number 310 in the Köchel-Verzeichnis). In a rare departure from form, Mozart used the minor key - possibly reflecting the mournful passing of his mother in the same year, 1778.

Despite the minor key, the sonata is remorselessly buoyant and full of lively and inventive quirks. Nina brought every passage to life with unrelenting vivacity and vigour. In contrast to the picturesque impressionism of her opening choices, the classical ingenuity of Mozart's work, in Nina's capable hands, was a joy to hear.

Deftly caulking the junction between classical form and romantic impressionism, Nina turned to Scriabin's inspiration - Frédéric Chopin. His Nocturne in C sharp minor is a favourite of Nina's, and one which she is constantly refining and polishing. The precise intonation satisfies the classically conditioned ear, while creating delightful romantic images.

Frédéric Chopin
attended at his deathbed by sister
Ludwika Jędrzejewicz
Paris 1849
This arresting nocturne (lento con gran espressione) was composed for Chopin's sister Ludwika in 1830 and, since Chopin's premature death from tuberculosis in 1849 has been employed to emotive effect in various contexts during the ensuing century and a half. Most notably, concert pianist Natalia Karp, owes her life to a performance for Amon Göth at the Kraków-Płaszów camp - in return for which she was spared and survived.

Nina drew on that impressive legacy in her own expressive performance, leaping from one cascade of notes to the next with nimble agility. A spectacular signature piece.

Nina's final two pieces related to the equally tragic life and death of Chopin's contemporary, Robert Schumann. In Leipzig in 1841, one year after their long-awaited marriage, Clara Schumann played the première of Robert's 'Fantasy' which was to become the opening Allegro Affettuoso of his three movement Piano Concerto in A minor - with Clara playing the première in Dresden.

Robert Schumann
Nina played a solo arrangement of the affettuoso which was a delight to hear in itself, reflecting a very uplifting period in Robert's life. At the Mannamead concert on 7 April (details below) Nina will be performing the whole concerto, with the orchestral parts recreated by Dorothy Raven on the organ at St Emmanuel's Church.

Schumann died prematurely just seven years after Chopin, in the Franz Richarz Sanatorium in Bonn. It is suspected that he had contracted syphilis as a student and that either the disease, or the cumulative effects of crude interventions with mercury salts, led to his debilitating mental health problems and final demise.

Clara Wieck
Clara was with him to the end and, apparently unscathed by the disease herself, continued to compose
and work as a piano accompanist for a further forty years. Supporting her in an ambiguous rôle as family friend and romantic admirer, was Robert's protégé Johannes Brahms. Despite being fourteen years her junior, Johannes only outlived her by one year.

In 1893, just a few years before they died, Johannes composed his final piano suite, four 'Klavierstücke' for performance in London. The final piece, the 'Rhapsody' (or Caprice) is as full of life and variety as anything Brahms created in his long and productive life. With Clara's encouragement his musical talent found an exhilarating outlet right to the very end.

Johannes Brahms
This piece was the perfect choice to end Nina's recital, and she played with all the energy and excitement that Johannes would have wanted. What a lovely way to gently close this brief tour of musical history. Nina not only astounded and fascinated her audience with her musical selection, but also demonstrated her wonderful and still developing talent as a pianist.

Nina will be in audition soon for next year's 'Young Musician of the Year' competition. What a treat it would be for television viewers, if she were to be chosen to appear. On Good Friday (30 March) between 9 and 12am Nina can be heard on Soundart Radio in an interview recorded at St Margaret's Church after the concert. The following Friday (6 April) between 2 and 4pm Nina will visit the Phonic FM studio in person, immediately after her recital at St Stephen's Church in Exeter High Street.



Nina Leonard Savicevic
Nina Leonard Savicevic
1. St Margaret's Church Topsham
    Saturday 24 March 1pm
2. St Stephen's Church Exeter
    Friday 6 April 1pm
3. St Emmanuel Church
    Mannamead Plymouth
    Saturday 7 April 7.30pm
4. Bath Abbey
    Friday 13 April 1pm
PIANO RECITAL
W A Mozart: Sonata in Am K310
Johannes Brahms: Rhapsody in E♭ Op 19.4
Claude Debussy: "La Cathedral Egloutie"
Alexander Scriabin: Improptu in B♭m Op 12
Frédéric Chopin: Nocturne No 20 in C#m
Sergei Rachmaninov: Prelude in C#m Op 3.2
Frédéric Chopin: Étude Opus 25.1
(plus Variations Brillantes Op 12)
Robert Schumann: Concerto in Am

Joseph Haydn: Minuet in Gm

Future Dates:

Fowey Festival of Arts - Sunday 13 May 12.30pm
Southernhay Church Exeter - Saturday 26 May 1pm
Lympstone Parish Church - Sunday 22 July 4pm

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Delta Saxophone Quartet New Album for April 2018 "Bowie, Berlin & Beyond" Press Release from Chris Caldwell

Delta Saxophone Quartet
Tenor: Tim Holmes - Alto: Pete Wyman
Soprano: Graeme Blevins - Baritone: Chris Caldwell

"Bowie, Berlin & Beyond"
for release on FMR Records April 2018

This album is the result of the collective work of one saxophone quartet, two composers, an artist, and a sound designer.. all inspired by the iconic pop actor/artist/musician, David Bowie and what he continually pointed towards . . . the unknown.

 The Delta Saxophone Quartet was formed in 1984 and held its first rehearsals in SE London not far from Bowie’s Beckenham roots and his Experimental Arts Lab Project.

 The quartet has always looked to merge the boundaries of its sound world, often combining contemporary jazz, progressive rock and the avant-garde. A constant mission to surprise and experiment, looking to re-invent itself but being respectful to the ‘art form’, very much like Bowie.

Delta Saxophone Quartet
Tenor: Tim Holmes - Soprano: Graeme Blevins
Baritone: Chris Caldwell - Alto: Pete Wyman
This album is a ‘sonic’ and ‘ambient’ stroll through Bowie’s Berlin years and beyond. An Englishman’s ‘doffing the cap’ to the echoes of a European cultural history, a reflection on time past combined with the constant of moving forwards. A recognition of an innate sense of belonging but striving to be independent and creative too.

 This recording was made at a time when the U.K. has been polarised by Brexit and a breaking away from Europe. Hopefully when the political dust settles there will be a realisation that it’s our shared fragility and not short term power which unites every one of us. Something Bowie intrinsically recognised.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Nina Leonoard Savicevic Classical & Romantic Piano Recitals St Margaret's Church Topsham Saturday 24 March St Stephen's Church Exeter (with Phonic FM interview) Friday 6 April 2018

Piano: Nina Leonard Savicevic


Nina Leonard Savicevic
Nina Savicevic began her piano studies at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire in St Petersburg at the age of four. Galina Kulish was Nina's personal piano tutor. After just three months Nina performed in her first live piano concert.

Just a year later Nina moved to Exeter with her parents, as her father was a full time PhD student at the University. Nina's piano tuition continued with Caroline Diffley, who was working in the University Music Department - and also at Wells Cathedral School.

Nina participated in many local and national music competitions, winning several prizes, while also successfully completing her grade studies up to Grade VIII, which she was awarded in 2014. Nina also developed her skills on the viola and trained as a singer - while also playing tennis at county level.

When she was thirteen years old, Nina was awarded a scholarship to the Maynard School, and has since received a fully funded place as a Piano Specialist at Wells Cathedral School - where her academic and sporting abilities can also flourish.

Following a very successful GCSE year at Wells, Nina is now studying for A Levels and pursuing opportunities with Universities and Music Conservatories in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Last year Nina appeared on BBC Radio Devon with David Fitzgerald, and they plan to make another programme where Nina will perform piano pieces live for the listeners. Nina has also joined Victoria Graham and Justin Leigh on BBC South West, taking part in a live interview on BBC Spotlight.

Nina was also interviewed for an article by Deputy Head of Content for the "DevonLive" website Colleen Smith. Articles about Nina have also appeared in "Devon Life" and "Exeter Life" magazines.

Nina has competed in the BBC "Young Musician of the Year", and is in audition for the 2018 competition. We shall be seeing and hearing a lot more of Nina in the near future. Here in Devon (and further afield in the South West) there are several opportunities to hear Nina playing live piano recitals. Details are below.

After the lunchtime concert at St Stephen's Church on Friday 6 April, Nina will be strolling across Exeter High Street to the Phonic FM studios for a live discussion of her musical career on the "Classical Journey" programme. Listen out for a brief discussion by telephone with Nina at Wells Catherdral School on this Friday's 'Journey' (2pm Friday 23 March).


Nina Leonard Savicevic
Nina Leonard Savicevic
1. St Margaret's Church Topsham
    Saturday 24 March 1pm
2. St Stephen's Church Exeter
    Friday 6 April 1pm
3. St Emmanuel Church
    Mannamead Plymouth
    Saturday 7 April 7.30pm
4. Bath Abbey
    Friday 13 April 1pm
PIANO RECITAL
W A Mozart: Sonata in Am K310
Johannes Brahms: Rhapsody in E♭ Op 19.4
Claude Debussy: "La Cathedral Egloutie"
Alexander Scriabin: Improptu in B♭m Op 12
Frédéric Chopin: Nocturne No 20 in C#m
Sergei Rachmaninov: Prelude in C#m Op 3.2
Frédéric Chopin: Étude Opus 25.1
(plus Variations Brillantes Op 12)
Robert Schumann: Concerto in Am

Joseph Haydn: Minuet in Gm

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Andrew Wilson & Elizabeth Holman Première "À La Ronde" Glenorchy Church Wednesday 4 April 2018

Andrew Wilson & Elizabeth Holman
Glenorchy United Reformed Church Exmouth
Wednesday 4 April 12.30pm
The Lunchtime Concert at Glenorchy Church on 4th April will feature the premier of Andrew Wilson's composition for violin and piano called “À La Ronde” The artists will be Elizabeth Holman (violin) and Andrew Wilson (piano).

Andrew wrote À La Ronde for Elizabeth's wedding to Ian last summer in Truro Cathedral and it was presented to her on that occasion. The piece is inspired by the whimsical National Trust house of the same name, which is just outside Exmouth.

There are many reflections of the famous polygonal building in the music, which pictures in sound the wonder the visitor has on first casting their eyes around the astonishing decorative panels made of shells and other materials collected by the original occupants - unmarried cousins Jane and Mary Parminter.

It is appropriate that the premier should take place in Glenorchy Church as Jane and Mary Parminter, for whom À La Ronde was built by John Lowder in 1796, were worshippers there before building their own chapel at Point in View in 1813.

The Concert starts at 12.30 and will feature other music as well.

Admission is free with a retiring collection.


Piano: Andrew Wilson
Violin: Elizabeth Holman
Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts
Glenorchy Church Exmouth
Wednesday 4 April 12.30pm
PIANO & VIOLIN
Piano: Andrew Wilson
Violin: Elizabeth Holman
Archangelo Corelli: Sonata No 1 Op 5
W A Mozart: Violin Sonata in Em K304
Andrew Wilson: "À La Ronde" (première)
Sir Edward Elgar: "Salut d'Amour"
Nigel Hess: "Ladies in Lavender"
John Williams: "Schlindler's List"
Admission FREE - retiring collection



[See also - the OU Graduates' visit to À La Ronde on 29 June 2012]