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The Piano Concerto in A minor was Grieg’s only large-scale orchestral work, but is so well known and loved as to need no introduction and remains one of the most popular piano concertos ever written.  We welcome Bath-based pianist Nicola Meecham as our soloist.

Norwegian Johan Halvorsen was a violinist, conductor and composer of theatre music.  He was a great friend and admirer of Grieg’s and was married to the older composer’s niece.  His music follows the Romantic tradition of Grieg and his orchestral experience allowed him to develop an innovative instrumental style.  He did not write his three symphonies until his retirement – they were composed purely for his own personal pleasure and are firmly rooted in the late 19th century tradition of Brahms.  The lush, sweeping melodies and colourful orchestration bring to mind the music of Russian composers such as Borodin.  This may well be the first non-professional performance of his Symphony No. 1 in this country and we hope you will agree that Halvorsen deserves to be much better known!

Having spent some time in Norway as a young man, English composer Delius was well acquainted with both Grieg and Halvorsen.  The Walk to the Paradise Garden is taken from his opera A Village Romeo and Juliet.  The Paradise Garden is in fact a pub, where the lovers meet and the scene is set for the ensuing tragedy.  This entr’acte glows with sumptuous Romantic harmonies and luscious orchestration.

 

Our soloist Nicola Meecham has performed internationally, throughout the UK and at major venues, including Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square, and Queen Elizabeth Hall. She has appeared at prestigious festivals including Exeter, King’s Lynn and Hebden Bridge and has performed in Holland, Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Nicola has recorded two acclaimed CDs for independent record label SOMM, with her recent CD of piano music by Tchaikovsky gaining outstanding reviews in the international music press. The Nocturne was featured on Spotify’s Classical New Releases playlist and has gained over 60,000 plays to date. Her previous release of music by Enescu, Janáček and Kodály received a top recommendation in the American Record Guide.

Nicola is a keen advocate of contemporary music and has given premieres of works by internationally renowned composers, notably Henyrk Górecki and H K Gruber. In 2017 she curated and performed a recital of 20th and 21st century piano music, including five world premieres, entitled Voices of Night and Day, at The Warehouse, London. A prizewinner at the Royal Academy of Music, Nicola has given broadcast recitals for BBC Radio 3 and for Dutch Radio, and has featured on BBC Two.  She is a tutor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

For further information, please visit www.nicolameecham.co.uk

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