Ghost Variations

By Jessica Duchen

The strangest detective story in the history of music

Friday, 30 September 2016


Dear Ghost Variations friends,

It was lovely to see so many of you at St Mary's Perivale the other week for the first in our autumn series of Ghost Variations concerts. Thanks for joining us on that gorgeous Septumbral evening!

The good news is that there are three more chances to come and hear the show this year. In it, I narrate with extracts of the book plus some explanation, background and linking material, and the celebrated violin and piano duo of David Le Page and Viv McLean perform music chosen with forensic care to illustrate the story of Jelly d'Arányi. Every piece in the concert has a special association with her: music by her close friend Bartók; Ravel's Tzigane, which is dedicated to her; a Brahms Hungarian Dance in the arrangement by her great-uncle Joseph Joachim; a piece by Frederick Septimus Kelly, the gifted Australian composer she once hoped to marry, until he was killed at the Somme (you can hear Jelly herself play this piece in the attached video); and parts of concertos by Mendelssohn and, of course, Schumann. Viv tops and tails the programme with the theme of Schumann's Geistervariationen, from which the novel's title is taken.

(Above: the launch concert at the Hungarian Cultural Centre back in March)

Next Tuesday, 4 October, we're at the beautiful West End salon of Bob Boas and his charitable foundation. This takes place in a gorgeous Georgian mansion five minutes from Oxford Circus, just round the corner from Erik Palmstierna's London home on Portland Place (it's still the Swedish residence) and very close to where the photo on the front of Ghost Variations was taken. Address: 22 Mansfield Street, London W1G 9NR. Ticket prices: £20 (recital and pre-concert drink), or £30 (recital, pre-concert drink and post-concert drink & canapés). £10 discount on all for children and students. Bob and Elizabeth Boas host a magnificent charity series given by many of today’s greatest musicians; we are honoured to be included. A very special evening should ensue. To book, please email, or phone 020 7436 0344.

On 18 October we are honoured to give the first concert in the new season for the Kensington & Chelsea Music Society, Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ. Tickets £20 including an interval drink (students £10). A fabulous venue: an historic house with a remarkable Turkish-style foyer, an extraordinary collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, a warm acoustic and a scrumptious Steinway for Viv. I think Jelly d’Arányi herself performed here. To book or enquire about KCMS membership, please email or phone 0758 2116 743.

On 3 November we're thrilled to be performing for the Barnes Music Society, Old Sorting Office, 49 Station Road, London SW13 0LF. This is my local music society, so it is particularly wonderful to be part of it! The OSO is an intimate, friendly spot, right next to Barnes Pond and is easily accessible by train from Waterloo to Barnes or Barnes Bridge stations.  The OSO has acquired a lovely piano and is fast becoming a welcome focal point for musical life in this part of London. Tickets are £15 (£12 concessions, £6 students). Refreshments are available before & during interval. To book, please contact or call Anne Page on 0208 876 1563.

We hope to see you there!

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