Chopin After Lunch

After the bustle of Princes Street and the Royal Mile with their American Indian/Celtic/Oriental drumming combos and hundreds of flyers, the last thing I expected in the middle of Edinburgh’s most crowded main street is the quiet calm of the Royal Overseas League. Silence isn’t something we are used to during the Festival period, and whether you had a leisurely liquid lunch on George Street, a Boots’ meal deal or, like me, a hurried banana as you left the house, calm will descend upon you as you wonder the labyrinthine tartan corridors of the League following the signs to the concert room.The pianist Nicola Eimer kept focus throughout the recital, which meant that when she wasn’t playing she looked disengaged with the audience. What was remarkable, however, was her engagement with the music itself. This was most notable in the short changes of mood and ironic humour of the opening Schubert Impromptu which Eimer insured did not interfere with the work’s overall coherence.The Bechstein piano’s lower register had excessive - often jarring - clarity for such a small space, presenting an additional challenge for Eimer which on the whole she overcame. A fabulous Schumann Arabesque really showed off Eimer’s sensitive side, her performance leaving the audience dumbstruck for a moment before the applause began, while her surprising power came into its own during the Chopin’s Opus 34 Grand Valses. Eimer’s playing makes the ideas of each work easy to follow without sacrificing their organicism or the structures overall shapes.Don’t be fooled into thinking the Chopin After Lunch series will be a Chopin-only affair. Eimer’s well-planned programme was careful to contrast composers as well as moods. A glance through the programme of ROSL music series reveals a balanced and exciting variety of ensembles inhabit the calm alternate universe of the Royal Overseas League during the Festival. The Leagues patronage through its concerts and competitions means that it will continue to attract some very exciting young performance talent.

Reviews by James T. Harding

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★★
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★★★★★

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The Blurb

Music by Chopin and romantic composers performed by international award-winning musicians including pianists Martin Cousin and Carlisle Anderson-Franck. Different artists and programmes each concert. Tea/coffee/shortbread. www.roslarts.org.uk

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