7 Star Arts launches a new series of concerts in the iconic Jazz Room at the Bull’s Head
Iconoclassics features leading, critically-acclaimed classical musicians, more at home in the world’s great concert halls than in a jazz club, but all happy to break free from the conventional classical music scene. The small size of the Jazz Room creates a special connection between musicians and audience, and allows the musicians to present music in a more accessible and relaxed way.
In keeping with the main focus of The Jazz Room, programmes in the Iconoclassics series will explore links between classical music and jazz, and will include works by Ravel and Gershwin, two composers whose music crossed genres and pushed the boundaries of what we define as “classical music”.
Iconoclassics launches on 14 February 2018 with Classic Valentine – a special concert for Valentine’s Day featuring David Le Page (violin) and Viv McLean (piano). This will be followed on 11 March by a solo concert by internationally-acclaimed pianist Anthony Hewitt, who has been praised for his “fine, poetic and communicative musicianship” (BBC Music Magazine).
This promises to be a fascinating and absorbing new series in an intimate venue.
Purists may balk at hearing classical music in a venue normally reserved for jazz, but the small size of the jazz room lends itself to the right kind of concentrated listening and intimacy of expression
- Frances Wilson/The Cross-Eyed Pianist
David Le Page
The Jazz Room at The Bull’s Head, a riverside pub in Barnes, SW London, more usually vibrates to the tunes, rhythms and vibe of the genre from which it takes its name, but last night the intimate space was filled with altogether different sounds in a concert given by two highly acclaimed classical musicians – David Le Page (violin) with Viv McLean (piano).
In addition to his solo, ensemble and orchestral work, David Le Page is also a composer of beautifully-crafted, imaginative and highly evocative music. His latest album ‘The Book of Ebenezer’ (release date TBC) is inspired by The Book of Ebenezer Le Page by G B Edwards. Set in Guernsey through the late nineteenth century up to the 1960s, the novel takes the form of a fictional autobiography narrated by Ebenezer Le Page, a typical “Guern’ man, deeply engrossed in his life on the island. David Le Page also hails from Guernsey, no relation to Ebenezer Le Page, though as David said in his introduction to his music, the name Le Page is as common in Guernsey as Smith is elsewhere in the UK. David has taken moments in Ebenezer’s life as recounted in the book as the inspiration for an album of 10 exquisite miniatures for violin and piano.
In the slower, more reflective pieces, the music is redolent of the spare grace and meditative stillness of expression of Arvo Pärt, while the more lively pieces have folksy intonation and foot-tapping rhythms. Several of the pieces use Guern folksongs, and one is based on Sarnia Cherie, the national anthem of Guernsey. All the music is highly evocative, infused with a tender poignancy which speaks not only of the eponymous hero’s reminiscences and reflections but also of David’s connection to the island of his birth, its landscape and its weather. There are haunting bird calls, as if heard from afar, the gentle wash of the sea rippled by the wind, the glint of light in water – elements which give the music a filmic quality and serve as a narrative thread which runs throughout the suite of pieces.
Purists may balk at hearing classical music in a venue normally reserved for jazz, but the small size of the jazz room lends itself to the right kind of concentrated listening and intimacy of expression which this music demands and offers. And David Le Page and Viv McLean create a very special intimacy of their own – these musicians work together regularly and their empathy and mutual understanding is palpable in every note they play.
David Le Page and Viv McLean return to the Jazz Room at the Bull’s Head for a special concert for Valentine’s Day on Wednesday 14 February – details here
The genius of George Gershwin in music and words
Viv McLean – piano
Susan Porrett – narrator
Thursday 21 December, 8pm
The vibrant music of George Gershwin is interwoven with his fascinating life story from birth in the colourful, teeming New York of 1898 to his tragically early death in 1937.
Featuring Viv McLean, international concert pianist and renowned Gershwin interpreter together with narrator, actress Susan Porrett, this is an intriguing, eclectic mix of Gershwin’s music from the much-loved ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, ‘I got Rhythm Variations’ and ‘Swanee’ to the rarely-played, classical Preludes
Presented by 7 Star Arts in the iconic Jazz Room (known as “the suburban Ronnie Scott’s”) at The Bull’s Head pub overlooking the Thames in Barnes, SW London
Ticket £13 in advance, £16 on the door
“Vividly illustrated…..highly recommended.”
“A terrific show!”
“A glorious and intriguing celebration of Gershwin’s life and work”