Daylight Music Piano Day Celebrations – Union Chapel, London

Saturday 31st March, 2018

This was my third trip to Daylight Music, and I certainly hope it is not my last. Union Chapel is simply stunning, beautiful with amazing acoustics and being there over lunchtime makes it a very relaxing place to be. We may have started in rain, but by the end the sun made an appearance and made the place shine. It was lovely.

Piano Day was on Thursday, but was celebrated today by some brilliant and varied musicians showing off their skills.

First up was Eliza McCarthy with a series of pieces that were delicate and yet not at all gentle. One of which was written for her and was receiving only its second performance, so we were a very lucky audience hearing it so fresh. It involved both hands inching slowly up the notes until it reached its ending. It may have been played gently, but the overall effect of the music was not. I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it.

Next we had the curator of today’s event, Xenia Pestova, playing a trio of pieces on the theme of ghosts. They certainly had an eerie quality, and ethereal presence and the middle piece composed by an enchanting Irish composer (sorry I didn’t catch his name) was startling and strange whilst also maintaining a beguiling beauty.

Between acts we were treated to some improvised toy piano with iphone accompaniment (I think!) which was bonkers but brilliant.

Sarah Nicolls was the last act and she was inventive and interesting to listen to. Usually she plays an inside out piano of her own invention, so that the insides, the guts of the piano are on display. Today we had to make do with her reaching in and hammering, plucking, strumming and whatever the heck else she did, to make amazing noises come out of the piano. These were pieces specially written for us, this was the live debut of new work (available on BandCamp) and I was intrigued enough to buy the download. Especially as it was hidden inside an actual piano key. I chose E, for Emma, and have bought it home to do what with I’m not sure, but it will stand as a wonderful memory of a gig that was strange, yet beautiful.

If you are anywhere near London on a Saturday afternoon when Daylight Music is in season I urge you to go. It is put on with real love to showcase a wide range of music in a stunning and relaxed setting. It’s a family friendly place and you can buy tea and cake for heavens sake. You don’t even have to pay to get in! Although making a donation will help them to keep the thing running, and a fiver really isn’t a lot to contribute towards seeing 3 acts is it?

If I can say that it is worth 5 hours of coach travel in a day to be there, which it has been both times I’ve made the trip just for Daylight Music, then you know it is a special place. It helps, of course, that its mere minutes walk from Beyond Bread, aka coeliac heaven.

I was in  need of something calming and reinvigorating, today gave that to me.


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