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Music & Word: Melvyn Tan & Eve Best

The launch of a new music programme at Charleston with Melvyn Tan

Saturday 06 Apr 7:00PM

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“The only thing in this world is music – music and books and one or two pictures” – Virginia Woolf

The opening of Charleston’s glorious new spaces will put music back where it has always belonged for Bloomsbury: centre stage.

To mark the launch of a new music programme at Charleston, acclaimed and pioneering pianist Melvyn Tan will perform a programme of evocative and painterly works for piano. His choice of music draws – like the Bloomsbury artists – from modernist France and the classical canon: Debussy, Beethoven, Poulenc and Satie. The music will be punctuated with evocative interludes of verse and prose, from Virginia Woolf to Shakespeare, selected by Paul Boucher and Virginia Nicholson.

We are thrilled to announce that multi award-winning actress and star of both the London and New York stage, Eve Best, will be joining Melvyn Tan on stage at this unique event. A long-time supporter of Charleston, Eve appeared at the Festival in 2018 discussing Dora Carrington’s letters, she also played the role of Vanessa Bell in the BBC2 series – Life in Squares.

The programme is as follows:

WORD    TS Eliot:  from 4 Quartets (1943) – Burnt Norton, V

MUSIC    Claude Debussy : Images Book 1 (1905)  1. Reflets dans l’eau, 2. Hommage à Rameau

WORD    Michael Shepherd from “Impressionism In Paint, In Music, In Words.”

MUSIC    Claude Debussy: Images Book 1 (1905)  3. Mouvement

WORD    William Shakespeare: from The Merchant of Venice, Act 5 Scene 1

MUSIC   Ludwig van Beethoven : Piano sonata op. 27 no.2 in C♯ minor “Quasi una fantasia”  (The Moonlight)

  1. Adagio sostenuto 2. Allegretto      3. Presto agitato

WORD    Rainer Maria Rilke: An die Musik (To Music) (1918)

MUSIC    Eric Satie: 3 Gnossiennes (1890)

WORD     Virginia Woolf: from “The String Quartet” (1921)

MUSIC   Francis Poulenc: Novelette no. 2 b flat minor (1927)

WORD    Jean Cocteau:  from “Le Bel Indifférent” Duet for One Voice (1940) (for Edith Piaf)

MUSIC   Francis Poulenc: Improvisation no.15 “Mélancolie” (1959) (Hommage à Edith Piaf)

WORD    Marcel Proust: from Du Côté de chez Swann (1913) transl. Scott-Moncrieff (1922)

MUSIC   Francis Poulenc: Improvisation no.12 “Hommage à Schubert” (1941)


It promises to be a unique and powerful evening, with two outstanding performers side by side for the first time.


About Eve Best

Eve Best is an English stage and screen actress and director. Eve won the 2005 Olivier Award for Best Actress for playing the title role in Hedda Gabler. She made her Broadway debut in the 2007 revival of A Moon for the Misbegotten, winning the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, and receiving the first of two nominations for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play; the second was for the revival of The Homecoming in 2008. She returned to Broadway in the 2015 revival of Old Times.

About Melvyn Tan

Melvyn Tan established his international reputation with pioneering performances on the fortepiano and continues to cast fresh light on music conceived for the piano’s early and modern forms. Acclaimed for the wit and poetry of his playing, he has applied lessons learned from pianos of the past to conjure subtle new colours, fine details of articulation and delicate shadings from the modern concert instrument.

Melvyn’s work as recitalist, chamber musician and concerto soloist has been heard at many of the world’s leading concert halls and with many leading orchestras. He can be heard regularly on BBC Radio, and others have discovered his work through his large discography, complete with ground-breaking recordings of concertos by Mozart and Beethoven. The Sunday Times described his latest disc for Onyx of Beethoven and Liszt as a “progression from marvelousness to absolute delectation.”

About Paul Boucher
Having started as a boy soprano with Benjamin Britten and The English Opera Group Paul Boucher studied violin in Switzerland and Moscow and pursued a career with some of the UK’s leading music groups. He is curator, research and creative director of the Montagu Music Collection at Boughton House and chair of strings at Singapore’s Aureus Conservatory.

About Virginia Nicholson

Virginia Nicholson is a writer and the daughter of Quentin and Anne Olivier Bell. She has chronicled the family in Charleston: A Bloomsbury House and Garden. Her books include Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939, Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men after the First World War and Millions Like Us: Women’s Lives in War and Peace 1939-1949

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