Friday, 21 October 2005

Ronald Stevenson

To the Royal College of Music last night for a symposium celebrating the life and work of Scottish pianist and composer extraordinaire Ronald Stevenson. But first, one had to find it! The symposium took place in the Durrington Room which seems to be in the attics at the very back of the building. Still is was certainly worth the walk and climb.


The symposium was a joint celebration of the publication, by Toccata Press, of the book Ronald Stevenson-The Man and His Music and the forthcoming release, on APR Records of Ronald's 1976 piano recital recorded in Vancouver by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.


Speakers included Colin Scott-Sutherland, who edited the book, and Ronald himself, who introduced the Canadian recital. We heard the Grainger Ramble on Love from the disc; a magical fantasia on the final love-duet from Der Rosenkavalier, it is one of Stevenson's signature works. The disc also includes the Bach/Busoni Chaconne, another of the works which I associate with him.


Whilst living in Scotland in the late 70's I developed a circle of friends and acquaintainces who were all associates of Ronald Stevenson. So I came to meet him quite often and hear a number of his recitals; in fact, I acted as chauffeur on a number of occasions, running him back to Edinburgh after recitals. Someone who combines legendary charm, pianistic brilliance and great composing ability in enviable quantities, his lecture recitals were a joy.


The evening also included live performances of Ronald's music; a Royal College student played music for unaccompanied violin and a RNCM student played the Recitative and Air for Cello and piano. The evening concluded with a social glass of wine.

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