Sunday, 12 May 2013

A most welcome Romanian migrant overheard in a country church

I was away this weekend joining in the celebrations of friends birthday. We were staying in Chipping Camden. Around lunchtime wandering around the town we came upon the village parish church of  St James and, as is my habit, I went inside to look around. It is one of the finest wool churches in the country.

The church was the venue of the Chipping Camden Music Festival and was laid out ready for a concert with a Steinway Grand Piano alone on the stage in front of the chancel. I sat down for a moment and a young lady came in and approached the stage. She removed the cloth from the piano and began to play.

The young women was Alexandra Dariescu, a Romanian who came to Britain to study at The Royal Northern College of Music and has since played with pretty well every major orchestra in pretty well every major concert hall.

Now there are some folk who wouldn't let her in the country if the were British born artist who could do the job. There are some who would demonise all her country folk and try to frighten us about what would happen if Romanians were allowed into this country. I do not doubt that there are some that would complain about her programme of Beethoven, Scarlatti, Schumann and Chopin-not a Brit amongst them. And yet there could not be a more perfect example of how we are part of a shared culture that has been enriched by contact with Europe. Without Ravel there would have been no Vaughan Williams -that most English of composers. Russell Johnson often used to speak powerfully about our shared European heritage- Bach, Burns and Goethe.

After the birthday celebrations in the Ebrington Arms we returned to our Guest House Seymour House (highly recommended) . In the morning at breakfast we met the other guests including another artist playing at the Festival Steven Osborne all the way from Edinburgh. His concert consisted of one work 'Vingt regards sur l’enfant-J├ęsus' by Messiaen. Now there is a composer to whom some folk wouldn't give house room.

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