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Vive le Pianola! - Bastille Day in Victorian London

Our concert, held in Leighton House, London, on 14 July 2001, brought together music, French and English, ancient and modern. Not only is 14 July celebrated as Bastille Day in France, it also happens to be the birthday of the English Victorian composer, Sydney Smith. How appropriate then, that the venue was the magnificent mansion built by Lord Leighton for use as his home, and also his studio, which is now used as a concert hall.

Leighton House Studio in the Victorian era.

Sydney Smith was remembered by his Marche Républicaine, Op 221, vigorously interpreted by our pianolist for the evening, Rex Lawson. We were also particularly delighted and honoured to present the world première of Automata, a suite in three movements for Pianola by the young English composer, Thomas Hewitt Jones.

Rex Lawson and Thomas Hewitt Jones in rehearsal.

The highlight of the evening was a magnificent performance of César Franck's Violin Sonata, played by the outstanding young violinist, Editha Konwitschny, partnered by Rex at the pianola.

A very happy Editha and friend, after the performance!

A full review of this concert appeared in Pianola Journal 14, published in Spring 2002.

88 note rolls of the following works played in this concert may be purchased from Wolfgang Heisig at www.heisigrollen.de Please quote reference LH1

  • Britannia Overture Sir Alistair Mackenzie
  • Marche Republicaine Sydney Smith
  • Etude pour Pianola Igor Stravinsky
  • Pineapple Poll (selection) Sullivan/Mackerras
  • Automata Thomas Hewitt Jones

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