Christmas 2020 Newsletter

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Dear Friends and supporters,
Well, I’m sure you will all agree that 2020 is a year best left behind us and our fervent hope is that this newsletter finds you all well. You will be pleased to hear that the RVIPW committee are all fine – becoming accustomed to the obligatory “Zoom” meetings which we have all had to utilise rather than meeting in person, though we all agree that we miss Helen Longworth’s flapjacks..!
With the arts and culture being one the hardest hit sectors to say it has been challenging for us and for so many of our colleagues and RVIPW performers is something of an understatement. But looking on the bright side, the Winter Solstice is now behind us so we are beyond the shortest day. Spring is just around the corner, bulbs are pushing their way out of the darkness into light and so must we. The herculean efforts of scientists and medics around the world has given us – in an amazingly short timeframe – a vaccine to fight this terrible pandemic so there really is an end in sight. I will personally be first in line as soon as I am offered the opportunity of what promises to be a way to return to normality and I expect many of you will already have had your first inoculations if you are eligible. There’s a cause for celebration if ever I heard one!

Although all our efforts to bring live music to RVIPW in 2020 were thwarted, we are beginning to feel optimistic that by July we will be in a position to welcome you all once again to join us in what promises to be one of our most hotly anticipated festivals yet – the dates 14-17th July 2021 are writ LARGE in all our diaries and please be assured we are doing everything we possibly can to make that happen. Many of the cancelled performers from 2020 are already booked in and we have some additional musicians in prospect which we are very excited about. Watch this space… we literally can’t wait to welcome you back.

The feeling is generally that April or May 2021 is possibly too soon to be gathering in a venue for the launch concert, although we will watch the unfolding situation extremely closely and are investigating ideas to try and bring you something before the main festival in July.

In amongst the gloom of recent months there have been some glints of light and some unexpected benefits – one of which is the availability of so much online music and some truly ingenious and creative performances. Some of our personal favourites, for various reasons, are listed below and to get you all into true festive spirit I hope you enjoy browsing through our suggestions!

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas and a healthy and safe (dare we hope for “normal”?) New Year.

Chair, Ribble Valley International Piano Week

 RVIPW’s Festive Favourites!

First, a special message from Scott Brothers Duo, who we will be welcoming back in 2021 following their postponed 2020 appearance…“We ho-ho-hope you can join us this Christmas Eve (Thursday 24th December 2020, 7pm UK Time) for our very festive HO-HO-HOME CONCERT!!! We perform some wonderful Christmas music with brand new keyboard arrangements! There will be a World Premiere of Tom’s animation to accompany Tchaikovsky’s Miniature Overture from The Nutcracker Suite! + Expect a few Seasonal Surprises & Stories here and there!”

Next, Recorded live at St John’s Smith Square Friday 4th December 2020, Jess Dandy contralto and Martin Roscoe piano present ‘Let the Earth Open’, a sequence of song for Advent. From darkness into light at its most effervescent, join Jess Dandy and Martin Roscoe as they plot the most beguiling of Advent calendars. Includes songs by Britten, Warlock, Wolf, Rodrigo, Ravel & Poulenc.

This one is not piano related but very, very Christmassy! A full Christmas concert from The Halle Orchestra – Filmed in Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and conducted by Hallé Pops Maestro Stephen Bell, this magnificent performance includes contributions from the entire Hallé Orchestra, its family of Choirs and special guest readers. These include Lemn Sissay reading his poem Let There Be Peace, and singer songwriter (and long-time friend of the Hallé) Guy Garvey giving his narration of The Night Before Christmas!

Next, just in case you missed it, is a performance given by Tasmin Little and Martin Roscoe back in October for Manchester Chamber Concert Society. Once again we would like to thank those of you who helped us to send Tasmin a retirement present from us – she asked us to pass on her personal thanks now that she has stepped back from the concert platform for ever.

Finally, the most heartwarming musical story we’ve seen this year, featuring the BBC Philharmonic. This short clip from BBC Breakfast tells how the orchestra transformed dementia sufferer Paul Harvey’s improvised tune on four notes on the piano to a fully orchestrated version – a story to warm the cockles of your heart!