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Public Events at Trinity Laban 24 April 2012
Chapel Concerts - Piano Showcase
Italian Baroque Masterclass

A rewarding afternoon at Trinity College in Greenwich. Three 3rd year piano students were put through their paces before the substantial audience for one of the regular lunch-hour concerts in the large Old Royal Naval College Chapel, a gorgeous historic venue but for pianos difficult acoustically, not mastered by the two men on this occasion.

Laura Dickson [pictured] showed style and brilliance in a Chopin Grande Valse Brilliante, and sensitivity, especially in her controlled pedalling, in Schubert's expansive Bb Impromptu; my image was taken from one of the side alcoves where the sound is less confused than in the main body of the Chapel.

Adrian Chandler's masterclass was revelatory and made for an absorbing several hours for everyone there, more students than members of the public. He emphasised, by example as well as precept, the need to bring pages of baroque scores to life by heigthening intensity and variety of expression, demonstating his ideas and gradually helping the students (most of them second-subject baroque students) to enhance the interest of music which can look rather plain on the page. Chandler drew on his wide knowledge of the subject, often quoting Geminiani's precepts (Corelli left no written commentaries about how to play his music).

My illustrations show him teaching John Bowker (with Madelaine Jones at the harpsichord) and Callum Armstrong (something of a virtuoso recorder player - and also a prize-winning piper !) with Petra Hajduchova on the massive harpsichord, to the tuning of which she attended during a break.

Musical Pointers has admired Adrian Chandler's recordings with La Serenissima, which he created with fellow students at the Royal College of Music in London, and developed it to become one the finest specialist groups in UK (look out for their next CD, to be released by Avie in the summer).

The atmosphere of the afternoon was relaxed and informal, and it was good to have an opportunity to talk with Adrian Chandler and some of the participants, and especially to meet Claire Mera-Nelson, Director of Music (formerly a professional baroque violinist) who kept a tight clock-watch on Adrian Chandler's inclination to overrun his 40 minutes with each student.

Peter Grahame Woolf