A very distinguished gathering for the Silver Jubilee of the Keyboard Charitable Trust in the hallowed surroundings of the Reform Club.
Hosted by Richard and Elena Bridges ,trustee and one of the artistic directors respectively.
As Richard eloquently pointed out a heartfelt celebration for the twenty five years since John Leech decided to consolidate the missionary work of his wife Noretta Conci in spotting,helping and promoting young pianist of exceptional talent.
Her sixtieth birthday present was the official founding of the Keyboard Charitable Trust.
Amazingly this Romeo and Juliet couple are still as active as ever and were at the centre of the celebrations last night.In the presence too of their Patron Sir Anthony Pappano,a great and affectionate admirer of this remarkable couple.
Delighted as Geoffrey Shindler,the chairman, pointed out in his thank you speech,to take a busman’s holiday inbetween a tour of South America with his S,Cecilia Orchestra and his remarkable young protogee Beatrice Rana ,and Mahler Sixth at the Barbican on Thursday with the LSO.
What better way to celebrate, amongst all the distinguished guests gathered to pay homage to them,than a showcase recital for two highly gifted young musicians Mihai Ritivoiu and Emanuel Rimoldi.
Mihai flying in especially from Bucharest where he was performing Prokofiev 3rd piano concerto to substitute his collegue unable to obtain a Russian visa for the occasion .
Emanuel flown in that morning from Miami where he was chosen ,via a chance hearing on streaming from the Tchaikowsky Competition,to play in this very prestigeous series .
Another unexpected event that had the magnificent Steinway of the Reform Club out of order and although a fine old Bechstein as substitute was found it did not have the power or response needed or expected to be able to appreciate to the full our two valiant young musicians.
Mihais refined musicianship carried him through a difficult programme of Schumann op 28 and Ravel Pavane and Gaspard although the instrument not always allowing us to appreciate the subtle artistry that we have come to admire in this young artist.
It was difficult too to fully appreciate the funambulistic pianism of Emanuel in a programme of Liszt’s extremely subtle Aida paraphrase or the ten preludes by Rachmaninov .
However many things to admire from both and much appreciated by the large audience gathered .
An encore of the Rumanian Rhapsody by Emanuel brought the evening to a magnificent end.
A delightful,witty and intelligent speech from Geoffrey Schindler,new chairman of the KCT thanking of course Richard and Elena Bridges and hoping that like all good and noble traditions,that it would continue well into the distant future.
A special thank you to Sir Anthony Pappano ,seated between Noretta and another affectionate admirer Gabriella Bassatne, visibly enjoying his day off to the full.
One should not forget the new venture established by Geoffrey of the collaboration with the renowned Manchester Camerata which will see three of our young lions- Emanuel,Alex Ullman and Iyad I. Sughayer in a series of concerts with the musicians of the celebrated Manchester Camerata,
No stopping the Keyboard Trust that is going from strength to strength since giving a helping hand to its first artist Paul Lewis- now recognised as one of the most distinguished British pianist of his generation .
John ad Noretta have a lot to answer for and we were all happy to assemble to celebrate and say thank you to this remarkable ” young” couple- recently recognised by the Queen with a much deserved and dare I say long overdue MBE.Long may they reign over us