REVIEW: Philip Lange

First published in Entertainments

I WAS delighted to attend this piano recital by Philip Lange at Arundells, the home of former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, in aid of Childrens Chance, for many reasons.

The evening started with a private tour of this historical abode including, for the first time, Sir Edward’s office. The house is full of interesting artefacts, from the stunning Chinese wallpaper, through the sailing memorabilia, to many superb paintings.

This event celebrated Sir Edward as a champion of music and youth, and I was looking forward to his Steinway coming alive once more in the intimate setting of the music room, which sits about 30.

Philip Lange immediately relaxed the somewhat reverential atmosphere with his friendly banter and informative insights into the music he had chosen.

From a purist’s point of view, the early pieces lacked some musical subtlety, although the piano itself probably had something to do with this, sitting as it does for months on end without being touched.

But Lange came alive artistically when faced by a couple of Chopin’s great works, particularly the Fantasie-Impromptu. His artistry really began to shine in the second half when he seemed very much at one with his favourite composer, Schubert; suddenly he found colours and a depth of beauty, which were communicated tangibly to an appreciative audience.

This was an extremely enjoyable evening, with thanks to Leaden Hall School and Savills as co-sponsors.

I look forward to many more such events in this very special setting.


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