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Following the success of Beloved Clara, another evening of words and piano music scripted by Lucy Parham.
Odyssey of Love is the second in the series of five Composer Portraits, created by Lucy Parham. The show premièred at the Wigmore Hall in February 2008 in the London Pianoforte Series with actors Joanna David and Martin Jarvis. Other actors who have performed it include Juliet Stevenson, Alex Jennings, Robert Glenister, Harriet Walter, Rosalind Ayres, Tim McInnerny, Orla Charlton, Lloyd Owen, Patricia Hodge, Stanley Townsend and Henry Goodman.
Recent and future performances include the Wigmore Hall, Middle Temple Hall, Salisbury Playhouse, Rye Festival, Canterbury Festival, Kings Place, Wimbledon Festival, “It’s All About Piano” Festival London, King’s College Cambridge, Sao Lourenco Concerts Series Portugal, Sheffield University Concert Series, Burford Festival, Kew Festival, Llandeilo Festival, Wigmore Hall, Apex Bury St Edmunds, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, St. George’s Bristol, Chelsea Festival, St Johns Smith Square, Kings Place London, Winchester Festival, Bury St Edmunds Festival and at the Royal Hall Harrogate. The US première took place in December 2008 for LA Theatreworks, Los Angeles. Odyssey of Love has also been broadcast across the USA on NPR radio.
The CD of Odyssey of Love (with Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman) has recently been released by Deux-Elles to critical acclaim.
“I much enjoy performing these concerts. Why? Well, let’s face it, I have a free seat listening to Lucy Parham’s sublime playing!”
“Audiences have told us that because of music and words they gain extra insight into the composers’ lives – and to the creativity behind the music. Which is just what’s intended! “
“Lucy has a real gift for drawing her audience into the music through these beautifully crafted programmes. I always feel as if I am performing chamber music, such is the intimacy of each show. To sit by her whilst she plays transports me to another world.”
“I really love doing these concerts with Lucy. The letters and journals of these two great artists enable the audience to hear their music freshly, illuminated by the insights into their personal and domestic lives. Lucy’s passion for these great composers infuses the whole evening, and her playing is glorious.”
“Narrating George Sand or Clara Schumann and then hearing the music they inspired really makes what I have to say more vivid. I love working with Lucy because she plays so beautifully and she delights in collaboration…which I delight in too”
“It is a great treat and privilege to sit so close to Lucy Parham at the piano and hear this wonderful music. It stimulates the emotions and brings one closer to the composers we play. It is also exciting to give some kind of living presence to these fascinating musical geniuses who lived so long ago”
“The concept is brilliant, it totally works, is engaging, insightful and informative, and there is not a trace of tricksiness or flash about it.”
“It is a pleasure to perform these highly original shows. With such an irresistible combination of letters, diary entries, observations of the period – and the music – audiences are drawn closer to the composers’ often turbulent lives. Tears, laughter and a pin-drop atmosphere are testament to the validity of this heartfelt approach.”
“Parham performs with real sensitivity and elan… Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman declaim the letters with relish.”
“Liszt’s intimate letters and diaries come to life on this CD with pianist Lucy Parham and two formidable actors, Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman. To hear the actors narrate life, love and langour is a rare pleasure, as rare as finding a programme where words, music and poetry are tightly connected. Particularly magical are the yearning Un Sospiro and thrilling Chasse Neige. And Parham has total control of even the most difficult passages. With music ranging from hushed inwardness to stormy flashiness, Liszt led a life paralleling his music – and here it is, all bound together in living in music history.”
***** (Five stars)
“Lucy Parham has carved out a unique concert hall slot with her words and music portraits of the great pianist-composers. To achieve this requires multiple skills – researching and compiling the texts, securing the services of top-flight actors to narrate, devising the music to fit, and performing this herself.
Liszt emerges as the contradictory and likeable individual that he clearly was. Henry Goodman and Juliet Stevenson excel in their spoken portrayals of the man himself and the two high-octane ladies in his life.
Parham’s playing searches out lyrical artistry and tonal loveliness; in Chasse Neige, she brings out all its haunting poetry and the Petrarch Sonnet No 104 and Un Sospiro could hold their own anywhere.”
**** (Four stars)
“Parham is extremely enterprising… she has crafted a memorable yarn that’s delivered with consummate narrative coherence by actors Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman, while Parham provides musical context and links through her performances of carefully selected gems”