Pianists took my breath away

Hastings Observer letters
Hastings Observer letters

From: Stella Robertson, West Chiltington, Pulborough

For many years, an old school friends has begged me to go with her to the Hastings Piano Competition and I’ve graciously declined thinking that I did not want to go to an ‘amateur’ competition.

Seeing that Petula Clark was the President further convinced me that this was just some light-weight amateur affair (with great respect to the renowned pop singer) and I would far rather pay the extra and go to a proper classical concern.

Exasperated, my friend bribed me with two nights in an excellent Hastings B&B and I weakened.

I have been a regular at the BBC Proms, enduring hours of train travel and late nights for what I thought were the finest and most moving classical performances to be had. How wrong I was.

On Friday and Saturday night at the White Rock Theatre, Hastings, I enjoyed some of the most memorable performances I have ever experienced. True, it helped that the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was playing, but those young pianists took my breath away.

In a large concert hall, you seem somehow detached from the music, but at the White Rock, there was an intimacy and connection which I have seldom experienced elsewhere.

I am no expert, but the piano playing seemed to me to be every bit as good as that I have enjoyed in many concert halls in many countries.

The passion and expertise of these young pianists, who had flown from across the globe to take part, was unforgettable. Congratulations to Hastings for producing this remarkable event, which certainly seems to be making its mark in the world, and which can only reflect well on the town.

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